lisaochowycz.ca | @lisaochowycz
What’s your earliest memory of art-making?
One of my earliest memories of making art was in Ottawa when I was 5 or 6. My Mom enrolled me in some after-school classes with a local artist, Carmen Dextras. I immediately fell in love with the joy of creating and playing with colour. Her encouragement and support, along with my Mom’s, helped to foster a life-long love of the arts.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
For as long as I can remember I had a secret wish to be an artist, but it wasn’t until I was 25 that I took the leap and brought my passion for visual communication to the forefront of my life.
Who/What/Where/When inspires you as an artist?
My work revolves around translation, the imprint of social and geographical experience on memory, and beauty. These three themes intertwine and then manifest in soft and subtly layered atmospheric landscapes. My series are named after streets or neighbourhoods that have played a role in my artistic explorations. These names offer both the audience and myself a setting from which to orient our interaction with the paintings.
I learned of light from J.M.W. Turner and automatic drawing and cultural memory from Cy Twombly. The Impressionists taught me to pay attention to movement, as it is a crucial element of human perception. From the Abstract Expressionists I learned of the transcendent power of spontaneous or subconscious mark making. These five influences, along with the practice of painting itself, form the core of my practice.
What’s your creative process?
I work on paper, panel, and in photography. The paper work is about the essence of the experience—be it a walk in the mountains, the viewing of icebergs in a bay, or listening to a piece of classical music. I find the experience of working on paper very freeing—stretching my artistic practice to explore space and balance within a composition as well as the dance between spontaneity and precision in the brushstrokes. This then informs my larger multi-layered paintings on panels, which consist of layer upon layer of paint, large areas of floating colour, drippy shapes, and soft transitions of forms to become abstract windows referencing memory and place. My photo work combines the space and aesthetic of the paperwork with the concept of memory (not all the information is kept), and the imprint of experience. All three mediums are deeply connected, each informing the other.
Why do you think art is a crucial part of society?
I believe it has a deep ability to structure a visual/audio bridge between creator and audience, material and thought, individual and environment which allows for a conscience or subconscious shared experience.
Why do you donate to Arts Umbrella?
I’m passionate about youth arts education, encouraging the importance of the arts within society at every level, and fostering the next generation. It is an absolute joy to support Arts Umbrella.
What question do you wish we asked?
Do you fall in love with colours?
What’s the answer?