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Check out Lisa Marie Sipe’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Marie Sipe.

Lisa Marie, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I always knew I would live a life steeped in creativity I just wasn’t exactly sure what that looked like. My first idea was to be a fashion designer. Just watching a fashion show can bring me to tears. I spent two years at Harper College in their fashion program and was successful. I won a scholarship and made it into the Fashion Competition of Chicago in the wearable art category but I just couldn’t see myself living in that world. Plus, I hated to sew. Just thinking about aligning a zipper into a skirt makes me anxious. Much to my instructors dismay I switched careers and got a degree in graphic design.

With my graphic design degree, I worked for Fender Musical Instruments and a few other agencies before I started my own company. To make ends meet while I was building my business I worked part time at an art museum. It’s there that I was pulled into the world of fine art. After work I took modern painting classes and was introduced to encaustic, or pigmented wax, a medium that permeates my work to this day. With the artwork I created I started applying to shows and got into the Arizona Biennial at the Tucson Museum of Art and a group show at The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

Today I live my life as a creative. I don’t fit into one particular box. I own my own creative agency, Binary Star Systems, where we build brands, websites, software and mobile applications. I am a fine artist and show my work at galleries. I’m also a freelance food writer. I review restaurants and write about the food scene in
Bend, Oregon.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Found objects, encaustic, photography, thread, paper, and paint all find their way into my work. Sometimes I use only acrylic paint, other times my work is sculptural and layered with wax dipped photographs. The connecting thread is nature and texture. I feel most at peace on this planet when hiking, camping and backpacking so the majority of my work is a portal into that environment.

My nature-based work started out as a peaceful reflection but in 2011 the Wallow Fire, the largest wild fire in Arizona history, hit the ranch my husband grew up on. The Wallow fire didn’t take family photo albums or ranch structures but it changed the landscape so we can only visit scars within our lifetime. After visiting the property, I created a body of work titled, bathed in Fire, that captured imagery, wood and soot from Rudd Creek, Riggs Mountain and the brome fields at the Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area. I created the work to show what is precious, natural and unnatural.

In that same year my aunt and godmother, Linda Beketa, died of cancer. Shortly after her funeral I received an email from my mother explaining that a nuclear test was launched in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 25, 1953, only 65 miles from where my aunt lived. Linda, and my grandparents, saw the mushroom cloud. For the next 18 months one-year-old Linda played outside in what could very well be radioactive soil. My Aunt had cancer twice in her lifetime; the first was cervical cancer in her late thirties and lung, kidney, bone and brain cancer in her late fifties. This series of events inspired me to produce “Girl Plays in Radioactive Dirt.” Each piece in the series references a specific type of cancer my Aunt experienced and expresses the power cancer has to hide, invade and destroy. The work references the atomic age through the color palette which was inspired by the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, an educational toy for children, produced in 1951 and 1952 that included radioactive material (this toy was pulled from the shelves after its first year in production). This series was deeply personal and by expressing my grief and emotions I discovered a new way of working with encaustic and photography.

Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
I think people value art in a different way than they used to. It’s so easy now to buy prints or inexpensive artwork at retail outlets. We really need more people to support artists through sales and patronage. I’m not saying that people don’t appreciate artwork or artists, I’m just saying they aren’t doing it with their pocketbooks. I was just talking to a gallerist who has been in the business since the 1980’s and she was telling me that the market is so different. She said people don’t collect like they used to. She said collectors used to buy art to pass down to their families but art patrons have found that their heirs aren’t interested in their collections so they stopped buying. I think fine art needs some of the momentum of the maker’s movement.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My artwork can be seen online on my website, Facebook and Instagram as well as a handful of galleries in Oregon. The best way people can support my work is either as a collector or advocate. Connecting to art galleries can be hard so personal introductions are always helpful.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Daylene W Photography [for the photo of me]

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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