Works on Paper Residency at Merchandise Mart

Artist Spotlight on Lisa Goesling: Interview by Pepper Coate

Red Flower by Lisa Goesling

I thought I would include a recent interview that I did with the Chicago Artist’s Coalition. I am one of the lucky six artists who was awarded Studio/Gallery space at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.

Tell us a little bit about where you are from. I grew up in the Chicago area. There was always something creative going on in the Silver household. My Mom was a fashion illustrator and my Dad was a classically trained baritone as well as an attorney. I watched as my parents built an impressive collection of fine art through the years. It was my first lesson that art was important.

Why did you decide to become an artist in Chicago? I always knew that I would be an artist, and what better place than Chicago? I began classes at the Art Institute of Chicago at twelve, riding the ‘El’ downtown every weekend.  I would spend hours wandering the halls of the Art Institute amazed at the variety of artwork at my disposal.

Tell us about your inspiration, influence and process of creating. My inspiration came from my Mother. She could put one stroke on a page and a figure would appear. I think that her love for art influenced me greatly. The fine detail and skillful art of ancient Asia is a particular favorite of mine. Of course I was and continue to be influenced by a myriad of different artists. There is no bad art, only some that I would prefer to own more than others. I begin every piece subconsciously thinking about the fundamentals of design. I look at an object, generally something from nature, and examine its shape and form, determine if the lines, contrast and texture would be conducive to my present medium, Scratchbords by Ampersand. I like to create from the actual subject. However I always photograph it from different perspectives so that I have good reference material should the actual flower die before I have completed the art.

At what moment did you decide you were going to be an artist? I remember when I was little my friends would have a lemonade stand. Not me, I would set up a table outside and sell hand drawn coloring books. They always sold out and I would rush inside and make some more. I was so little my feet didn’t touch the ground while I sat behind the snack table. I guess I began honing my art/marketing skills at an early age!

What is something that concerns you or frustrates you about the Chicago art community? Like most artists, I worry about the few resources available to artists being cut even further due to lack of funds. Art is the only thing that lasts yet it is the first thing to be dismissed. Being able to create is a basic instinct that should be nurtured. It is frustrating that there isn’t more support and respect for artists. I think some of that has to come from artists demanding the respect that they deserve. We need to take a professional attitude towards what we do and educate the community.

What do you admire about the Chicago art community? I do believe that there is a lot of camaraderie between Chicago artists. Being involved with a number of networking groups, I see a strong desire for artists to support other artists. Resources like CAC have been instrumental in demonstrating a positive influence on the community. It provides the necessary support for artists seeking opportunities for growth. My personal experience of being a part of The Work on Paper Artist’s Residency at the Merchandise Mart has been incredible. The exposure has enabled me to sell my art and meet so many fascinating people along the way!

Something you wish you had known three years ago: I wish I had known that there were possibilities waiting for me. I was concerned with taking the plunge from Art Director/Graphic Designer to what I really wanted to be doing, a full time fine artist. It took a lot of soul searching and perseverance to arrive at a place where I feel that I can say that I am a professional, if not emerging, artist.

What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years: I now realize that my art is marketable. I have a voice. There are a lot of exciting opportunities waiting for me, only to lead to more. I look forward to lasting relationships with CAC and the connections that I have made through them. I hope to be approached by top galleries interested in showing my work. And I hope to be recognized in art magazines and other publications offering increased exposure of my art. I cannot wait to see where I will be in terms of my growth as an artist, stay tuned!

How has the Work on Paper Residency helped you as an artist? I have learned to look at art in the context of business. Selling my work directly to the public has been an education and will serve me well. Greeting people who walk into the space, engaging them, teaching them about my work, following up with potential clients, figuring out how to price my work and paying attention to how my art is displayed has been an invaluable experience. Having a venue for buyers to view my art and see fellow artists work, really changed the way that I perceive myself as well as how I am perceived by others. That visibility has enabled me to meet a number of people who now show my work in their galleries. I also believe that having this Artist’s Residency has made me more credible as an Artist when applying to other shows and competitions. I have spent a year surrounded by amazing creative energy. Mark Moleski, Alexandra Lee, Allison Svoboda, Jaime Lynn Henderson and Zach Mory have become friends as well as people I can go to for valuable input.

Full Orchid by Lisa Goesling



4 Responses to About

  1. Awesome! Very very cool site. And I’m flattered by the statement about Lightbox in your blog and very grateful.



  2. alpha gpc says:

    Cheers, I just stopped by to visit your blog and thought I’d say thanks for having me.

  3. Lisa Lemmons says:

    Hello old friend! My dad forwarded me the link to your blog so I could see what you’ve been up to and your work is amazing! I’ve always loved scratchboard; the contract of the white image on the black background is so striking. I’m so glad to see that you’re having success with your work!

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