Everyone has a story to tell. What sets the different tales we tell apart is obviously 1. by how interesting the stories are and 2. How well we are able to tell that story. When it comes to artists their stories are best told by looking at what that person creates. Each brushstroke, angle of a shot in a photograph, even a character’s costume in a movie can be major players in the role of expressing their creator’s tale.
There is little doubt that encaustic artist Lisa Bick’s story is best told through her paintings. When you first see a piece of Lisa’s the story just starts unfolding in front of you, unraveling like a magical thread that glows as it comes to life through the senses. And if you have the pleasure of speaking with her about the piece she will tell you about every little fiber of the painting, the motion of her strokes and the efforts behind the pieces. Her face will light up, her voice becomes almost musical and passion exudes from her.
Originally from Washington D.C., Lisa now resides in Zionsville, Indiana. Lisa credits her childhood of wandering the National Gallery of Art, the Renwick, and many others in D.C. with inspiring her to become an artist. After graduating from Indiana University with a Fine Arts degree focusing on textiles, Lisa has woven her love for textiles and photography together using encaustic painting as a medium.
Encaustic painting is an ancient practice, and works are created by using melted beeswax with a combination of pigments to create layers and layers of wax as the “paint” in a piece. The many layers of wax combined with other materials create a fantastic texture that allows the artists to create an enjoyable tactile as well as visual experience for the observer.
What captivated me the most about Lisa’s work was that she doesn’t hold back any details in her “story.” She intertwines her world travels, spiritual experiences and intimate moments of her life into each piece. She is not afraid to expose those personal feelings to the world, rather she encourages people to interact with them. She lays them delicately on the canvas, and allows observers to touch them, experience their textures and also tells them a magnificently beautiful yet simple inspiration behind every stroke, every piece of cloth or photograph.
For instance, Varanasi (image above) depicts Lisa’s inspirations from her travels to India. The poles represent the boaters in Ganges, transporting their goods up and down the river. The white cloth in the upper right is a piece of fabric from India that Lisa brought back with her. Lisa shared that she was inspired by the life, death, and filth that fills the Ganges and serves as a invaluable resource for so many. Hearing about the poignant moment that inspired this painting from Lisa herself as she traveled up the Ganges seeing women and children bathe and wash their clothes in the river has made this piece a personal favorite of mine.
About Leaning into the Afternoon Lisa shares that “A part of a Pablo Neruda poem is written into the side. It says something about ‘casting my nets into your oceanic eyes.'” A former significant other of Lisa’s “had eyes the color of the Caribbean Sea. It was all about him.”
Another spectacular piece of Lisa’s is Vivaldi, with an incredibly personal influence. “My dad played Vivaldi the whole time I was growing up. He loved it. In it are scribed important dates to me….I have hung it in my house. It is an important piece to me. The cross is outlined clay tools that I use for scratching into wax and a cross symbolizes the strength needed to move on alone. Always alone.”
Lisa is currently working on a new set of paintings, mainly triptychs while preparing for a prestigious show at Encore Sotheby’s International Realty in Indianapolis. The opening reception at Sotheby’s is March 14th from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at 9510 North Meridian Street, Suite 200 Indianapolis, IN 46260-1315
In the meantime, you can see more of Lisa’s work at LisaBick.com, or you can interact with her on Facebook and Twitter where she provides some wonderful behind-the-scenes photos of her process quite often.