How has your art evolved? What lessons have you learned?
The first mosaics I created were considered ‘shard art’ – using roughly cut ceramic bathroom tiles and fired terracotta Mexican tiles. This technique is great for big outside murals and community projects. The design is drawn like a coloring book and pre-cut pieces are cemented into place inside the lines. Anyone can participate.
When I discovered stained glass, everything changed. On the up-side, working with glass has refined my designs. Glass offers more variations in color and texture, is easier to cut and it doesn’t necessarily need grouted. On the down-side, glass is still glass and sharp glass cuts people. It is not a great medium for youth or community projects so I use that only on my own projects.
More recently my art has become more intricate and evolved into Mixed Media by incorporating glass beads, metal, charms, old watches, gold leaf and costume jewelry.
What role does Spirituality play in your art?
My current body of work was inspired by research for my book Good Luck Charms and Protective Amulets: Their Meanings and Origins. It focuses on icons, idols, symbols, and mundane objects that have been bestowed with spiritual meaning throughout history due to the influence of different beliefs of the cultures surrounding them. I was taken by the similarities of these beliefs rather than the differences and I wanted to reflect that in this series.
The “Tree” for example: to some people, a tree is just a tree. In Babylonian mythology, consistent with the biblical Tree of Paradise, the Tree of Life was a magical tree that grew in the center of Paradise. This is the symbol from which the Egyptian, Islamic, and Kabbalistic Tree of Life concepts originated. To the Mayans, the Tree of Life (Yaxche), is one whose branches support the heavens. In Taoism, Norse and Greek tradition, the tree is a giver of gifts (fruits) and spiritual wisdom. The Koran’s Tooba Tree was the source for spring milk, honey, and wine. The World Tree is rooted in the underworld and its branches reach out over the world is a creation belief found in many Eastern cultures.
On a personal level, constructing art with by hands is a spiritual experience in itself…very meditative.
In your time in Southern Nevada’s art community, how have you seen it grown? What are some of its’ growing pains and greatest successes?
I don’t think it has grown. It continually changes, but it hasn’t really grown. We are lucky to have a strong core of visual artists and art teachers who have remained here even though so many strong players have left Las Vegas and UNLV recently. Right now, I think there is more growth and interest in performance art and education thanks to the influence of The Smith Center, and in writing, thanks to magazines like yours and community bookstores like The Writer’s Block.
How important do you feel it is to inspire aspiring artists?
It is definitely rewarding to inspire aspiring artists, but more rewarding for me to facilitate an art project and draw out artistic tendencies in people who didn’t even realize they had it in them.
What inspired the creation of the workshops for Jana’s RedRoom?
I’m going back to my first love. Teaching is something I’ve been doing for years. My background is in the arts; my degree is in Social Services. My employment history incorporates both. My first book, “Arts Facilitation for Special Needs Populations” was published in 2012 documenting what I learned from facilitating art groups since 2000. When Jana announced an open call for teachers, it was perfect timing: I was feeling a little burnt out from just completing a body of work (Shrines) and was itching to teach/facilitate again.
What are your hopes from being appointed to the Nevada Arts Council Teaching Artist Roster?
I just hope to teach! This is a wonderful opportunity for community and educational sponsors to host an artistic experience in their classrooms or community centers at no cost to them!! The artist will apply for The Artist Residency Express Grant (AREx) that will cover expenses (Up to $1200) for an NAC Roster Artist to present a short-term artist residency. The shape and schedule of the residency is up to the sponsor and the artist. An intensive residency may occur over one to three days. The NAC is still in the process of updating their roster online, but if any teachers or community centers are interested in a mosaic workshop, please contact me directly (LFClark@aceweb.com) and I will get started on the grant paperwork right away!
Lisa’s mosaic and mixed media work has been shown in galleries throughout the US including the Creative Arts Center (Burbank, CA), the Dougherty Arts Center (Austin, TX), the Maude Kerns Art Center (Portland, OR), DownTown LowDown (Los Angeles, CA), 2nd City Council Art Gallery (Long Beach) as well as the Winchester Cultural Center, West Charleston Library, City Hall Bridge Gallery, and the Mayor’s Gallery – all located in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada where she and her family currently reside. Find out more about her and her work at her website: http://www.LisaFieldsClark.com