Monday, November 18, 2013

Artist INC: Lisa Jean Allswede

(interview by romy owens)
Lisa Jean Allswede, REVEAL, Found green roll paper, curbside suitcase, house paint, thread, silver sharpie, and color pencils.

Q: What five words would you use to describe your art?
A: curious, experiments, playful, interactive, narratives

Q: What do you create as an artist?
A: I create interactive installations that play with the concept of storytelling as a way to build a partnership with my audience.

Q: Why do you do what you do?
A: I believe art is a voice that initiates dialogue and opens the door for change.

Q: What has been a seminal experience that has affected your art?
A: Back in Pittsburgh, I was one of the key faculty members that helped orchestrate the annual Genocide Memorial Museum with our eighth grade students. It was an elaborate interdisciplinary project that took 5 months to complete. The journey to create the installation with the students was inspiring, but the part that affected my art making process was my personal interactions with the Holocaust survivors who came to share their stories with our community. Tolerance has become an essential part of my work.

Q: How has your practice changed over time?
A: My work evolved from watercolor paintings to installation pieces that assembles thread, recycle materials, wood, and paper into harmonious compositions of wonder. The one element that has remained consistent throughout my art making career is the use of the sewing machine.

Q: Will you describe a real life situation that inspired you?
A: oddly (or not), it is my failures that have inspired me to move in a forward direction.

Q: Do you have any other jobs in addition to being an artist? 
A: Yes, I am a mom. It has been the most demanding job I’ve ever had and the most rewarding. Being a parent also means being a role model. It is this concept that motivates and challenges me to be the best woman artist I can be.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome as an artist?
A: My own fears. Geez whiz, artists can be their own worse enemies!

Q: What is the best piece of advice you've been given to date?
A: “If you don’t invest in yourself, who will?”

Q: What is your dream project right now?
A: One day I would love to create an urban playground.

Q: Can you name three artists in your field that you'd be proud to be compared to?
A: Mignonette Cheng, Keri Smith, and Ann Hamilton

Q: What role do you think an artist has in society?
A: Advocates of the creative possibilities in our communities.

Q: How can you be contacted?
A: or

Twenty-five Oklahoma artists are meeting once a week for 8 weeks as part of the Artist INC Live OKC program. Artist INC is a cutting edge training program that addresses the specific business needs and challenges of artists. The course culminates with each artist presenting for 5 minutes about their work, incorporating the skills learned during the program. The public is welcome to attend this final program evening on November 19, 2013, 6-9 pm at Oklahoma Contemporary, 3000 General Pershing Blvd in Oklahoma City. More info at

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