Lisa Lackey memorializes simple moments in our lives creating collage art with fabric, paper and thread.
What do you do differently? What is your signature that makes your work stand out as yours?
I work with three materials: fabric, paper, and thread, layering the shapes of the various textures, colors, and opacities, over and under each other, to create a fiber painting of a witnessed moment from my daily life. These contemporary scenes illuminate the beauty I find hidden in plain sight, and counterbalance the doom and gloom of our 24/7 constant news of negativity. I choose to celebrate what is good and visually moving in my world to give me joy and hope.
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What motivates you artistically?
I love working with what was a split second in real time, and watch it come back to life as a tactile image, under my hands. Sometimes that transformation takes a few days, but often weeks, or even months, to bring to fruition. That means I get to hang out with that split second over an extended period and enjoy its duration, watching the original beauty of that moment develop.
When it comes to creating, are you more of a planner or an improviser?
Each unique image requires its own specific materials and ways to achieve the colors and textures. I am putting together a puzzle, but the pieces are always different shapes and require the layering of different materials to obtain the textures and hues I am looking for in a specific scene.
Unless I am working on a series, I tend to work on one piece at a time. It is easy enough to lose track of my layering decisions just by breaking for the day, let alone by moving to something else entirely. Since each piece requires its own method for solving it, they take my full attention. If I switch my focus to another piece of work, I run the risk of losing the layering solutions and material choices I was contemplating.
I enjoy making both small and large work for different reasons. Smaller pieces force me to reduce the amount of information I am using to tell the story and are therefore a bit more abstracted. The vocabulary is paired down. Whereas larger pieces allow me to let myself loose and go deeply into the subtleties of detail, creating a much more tonally nuanced work.
Do you have a dedicated space for creating? If so, what does it look like?
My studio is in the basement of my home. I have two large worktables to spread out on. There is a wall of dressers filled with fabric, and boxes of paper sorted by color on the other side of the room. A tall flat file rounds out how I store my materials.
I do a lot of ironing, so there is a dedicated ironing surface in a corner, as well as two mini-irons I can use while working at either table. I love the space down there. It is naturally cool in the summer, being underground, and warm in the winter, being near the furnace. As you can see from the photos though, I am outgrowing the space as we speak, and am starting to feel the need for more room.
How often do you start a new project? Do you work actively on more than one project at a time?
Even though I might only be working on one project at a time, I like to have ideas lined up, ready to go.
This keeps the flow moving. When one finishes, the next one is right there, ready to be started. There is also a pile of projects I have started and lost interest in, just waiting for me to either find my way back to them, or trash them entirely. I don’t easily throw my work away because I never know if that kernel of an idea will swing back around with a different method for a solution and pique my interest again.
Where can people see your work?
I show my work at various shows during the year. Currently, I have a solo exhibition at the Gallery at Hillside Square, 8 Hillside Avenue, Montclair, NJ. It is on view until December 15, 2023 from 7am -7pm Mondays through Fridays. You can always see my work on my website: LisaLackeyArtist.com. I would urge people to contact me with their email if they would like to get on my mailing list to receive news of my upcoming shows and other announcements.