Born into a Chinese family and raised in Arkansas, Lisa’s art challenges the limitations imposed on women in both cultures. Her female protagonists are depicted wearing suits, ties, and defiant expressions in positions that are comfortable and natural to them, as opposed to being on display before a male gaze. Lisa’s use of Chinese ink and watercolors in an unconventional, free-flowing approach further rejects traditional norms and allows the artwork to express itself. Lisa often combines this fluid aesthetic with additional materials to create a collage that brings to mind her uniquely blended experience of both Chinese and Southern cultures. Saatchi Art has benefitted from Lisa’s signature style of collage and watercolors which are evident in her modern, fashionable Van Gogh avatars.
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Your style is very interesting and interlocked with history and identity, both cultural and personal. Would you mind telling us, in your words, a little background information about yourself?
Hi everyone! I’m Lisa Krannichfeld and I am based out of Little Rock, Arkansas. I am primarily a figurative and portrait artist that works with a lot of different materials to create mixed media paintings. Some of my current materials are ink, watercolor, acrylic, collage, resin, and concrete.
When did you first start creating art and how did that evolve into becoming a professional artist?
I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t obsessed with creating things. Art class was always my favorite in school. Outside of school I would dig in my best friend’s clay-rich woodsy backyard and make pottery. There was always some partially started craft laying around my childhood home. From high school on I was constantly painting and drawing and decided to commit to art academically by declaring my major in studio art during undergrad.
After graduation, I taught art at the middle school and high school levels for 8 years while also simultaneously making my own work nights, weekends, and during school breaks. Near the end of this time, the demand for my work became greater and greater so I knew I could not sustain doing both. A little over 5 years ago I decided to take the plunge and quit teaching to devote my entire time to my studio practice and haven’t looked back since!
Definitely a plunge, but one that has paid off! What does your artistic practice look like today?
Well, to be quite honest I am 35 1/2 weeks pregnant currently so my artistic practice is slow-going to non-existent right now! But during normal times I visit the studio every day and usually have a few works going on at a time. I stay pretty booked with commissions on top of other works I create. My newest series, where I am exploring themes of motherhood through the use of some new materials, is really exciting to me. I started this series after having my first child, who is now 2 years old. It takes a lot of power tools and mobility to create these works so I will have to put these on pause until after this second baby arrives.
Can you tell us about the mediums you work in and any distinct methods you apply when creating your art?
I use so many! I really thrive off of mixing materials that one might think would not fit together cohesively into a piece of art. I find the challenge of figuring out how all the various things I love about various materials can all mesh together harmoniously exciting and motivating. So to answer the question: I use inks, watercolors, acrylics, resin, shaped wood panels, collage, cyanotypes, and concrete.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
With all the various materials and techniques I use, one thing is generally constant in my work and it is the focus on the female experience. I am a figurative artist so the majority of my work focuses on female figures and portraiture through the lens of a woman painting women.
What interests you about NFTs and why did you choose to be involved in this project?
When I first heard the term NFT a couple of years ago it was so confusing to me that I didn’t really pay it much attention. I kept hearing more and more art news about NFTs and then when Saatchi Art reached out to me about collaborating in this project I took it as a perfect sign for me to both educate myself (with some help from the Saatchi Art team!) and get creative in a new way. Intensely groundbreaking disruptions in the art world don’t happen that often so I’m grateful I got to get my feet wet with the comradery of all the other artists taking part in this project. I was also getting to be too pregnant to work on my usual style of work so it really was perfect timing.
Can you tell us a bit about how you approached this project? How did the experience compare with what you’d initially expected?
I focused mainly on two works of Van Gogh to use as a jumping-off point – his Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette and a self-portrait of him dressed in a blue suit with blue swirls in the background. I am by no means a digital artist so I knew I would take advantage of the option to make physical artworks by hand, although by the end I did make a few digital versions after gaining some confidence! I used the compositions of VG’s original pieces and put modern twists on them by playing around with the traits. I feel like the vibe coming from all of them is quirky, fun, and a bit hipster, but still with the strong emotional expressiveness present in all my portraiture.
Was your personal style and approach to your art affected by the subject and conditions of this project?
Although the subject matter is different I still feel that you can totally see my style peek through clearly in the pieces. I would say any collectors familiar with my work will definitely still see my hand in these pieces. Most are also physical works that can be collected as well. While approaching the project I really let the fun and spontaneous aspects of creating take over. Since I knew I would be making so many avatars each one felt less precious and a bit more like an adventure.
What was the most challenging part of the creation process and what was the most enjoyable part of the project?
I guess the biggest change was that the subject was a man, Van Gogh! I usually paint women. I really enjoyed having Van Gogh be the subject of these pieces and left to my own devices, I probably never would have made work focusing on him. I found myself really wanting to depict him as a modern, normal person since I relate to him first as a person that is an artist rather than a super famous, iconic, master impressionist painter. I just saw him as a creative trying to make it work like the rest of us.
Part of the reason we chose the artist Vincent Van Gogh as the focus of this project was because of his struggle making a career in the art world during his lifetime. If Van Gogh were alive today, what do you think he would have thought about the concept of NFTs in general?
Funny, I think he would have thought about them much like I initially did! I very much like the physical aspect of making works by hand with materials being messy and finicky and I get the sense that he did too by the way he used paint in his paintings. I think, like me, he would have initially shrugged off the aspect of creating/collecting digital tokens as opposed to IRL physical art, but would eventually warm up to it after learning ways to combine his love of the physical with the growing enthusiasm and possibility of the digital.
What advice would you tell new artists that are interested in creating NFTs?
I would say that if NFTs are as confusing to you as they were to me it would be best to tackle creating them for the first time collaboratively, either with other artists in the arena or with a team like the one at Saatchi Art. It made the experience all the more understandable so I could really let the creative aspects push me forward without the technological jargon causing stumbles along the way.
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