With the opening this week of Sydney-based artist Lisa Lapointe’s first solo Melbourne show, Behind The Sun, we’re getting a little bit excited about seeing her large-scale, original pencil works up close.
In her own words, Lisa’s drawings are “chaotic yet serene”. They combine the primitive with the futuristic through bold colours, strong graphic elements and mythological references. Ahead of this Thursday, we asked her a few questions about her meticulous, labour-intensive process – and the Shamanistic stories that have inspired this particular series.
Sydney artist Lisa Lapointe’s first exhibition in Melbourne opens this Thursday August 14.
How did you begin your journey as an artist – and what attracted you to drawing particularly?
My father tells me I was always an artist – that out of his six children I was the only one who always knew what I wanted to be “when i grew up”. I was always furiously making and creating when I was a child, and would sit for hours on end on my projects – no time to go to the bathroom – no time to eat. After school I formally studied and did a bachelor of fine arts degree majoring in painting at CoFA, UNSW. I predominantly experimented with textiles, jewellery (and obviously paint) but it wasn’t until much later that I discovered the pencil.
Soothsayer by Lisa Lapointe. Original pencil drawing on paper (1140mm x 770mm). To be exhibited at her forthcoming exhibition Behind the Sun
Can you explain a little about your process? (Do you experiment with materials other than pencil? Do you set which colours you will use before you begin, or do you change them as you draw if your mood or reaction to the work changes?)
I am currently very dedicated to the pencil. I imagine myself exploring other mediums in the future, but not for a while. I do small scale mock-ups of my drawings in colour – these sometimes go exactly to plan or change – I intuitively feel them and know straight away if a colour isn’t going to work out.
Lisa at work in her Sydney studio.
The largest work in this show is almost two metres wide, how long does it take to hand-colour a piece this size?
Anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks – it all depends on the drawing – some are harder than others.
Lisa’s labour intensive technique with colour pencil creates dramatic results.
What are some of the inspirations for the body of work you’ll be exhibiting in Behind The Sun? Can you introduce us to some of the themes in the show?
I am most inspired by spiritual, religious and indigenous mythologies. I reference and explore the meanings behind these themes. I’m currently particularly interested in Shamanism, which is evident in many of my works, particularly the ‘Panther’, ‘Hara’, ‘Owl’, ‘Valley of the Serpent’ and ‘Cajoling the Moon’. I focus on creating images of power and encourage the viewer to dream forward – into the future – not backward into the past.
Cajoling The Moon by Lisa Lapointe. Original pencil drawing on paper (1140mm x 1050mm). To be exhibited at her forthcoming exhibition Behind the Sun
Can you tell us a little more about the elements of Shamanistic folklore featured in the works?
The key themes I currently draw from Shamanism are healing, power and dreaming – ultimately our connection to spirit. I am particularly drawn to the connection Shamanism has with nature and the earth. How plants can be great healers and animals powerful guides. I like the idea of a Shaman being able to mend the soul with this great knowledge. The ability to read one’s environment and understand one’s ailments or discord through these signs and symbols.
Owl by Lisa Lapointe. Original pencil drawing on paper (1050 x 770mm). To be exhibited at her forthcoming exhibition Behind the Sun
What’s next? Since focusing on your art practice full-time, have you worked on any textile or fashion collaborations or are you focussing primarily on your 2D work?
I will be doing an artist in residency in St Leonards, Sydney with Brand X as soon as I return from Melbourne. I will use this time to do another show – this time in Sydney. But I have no collaborations on the cards as yet…