Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere…

Jim Jarmusch on creativity:

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.

 

 

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time.  When I think I’m being entirely original that’s when my ego emerges and my work suffers.  If I take note of my inspiration (creative theft), then my work is often more authentic.  Thank you Jim Jarmusch and Jean-Luc Godard, “it’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to”.  Indeed.

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transformation

Making something new out of the discarded or neglected is what gives me the most creative energy.  Gutting and remodeling this outdated studio apartment in 2011 was one of my favorite projects of my lifetime.  I learned a lot.  I really like being dirty and tired from physical work.  I slept remarkably well.  I knew my mission.  There were deadlines.

The downside of all-consuming projects for me is that they become an escape and I neglect other responsibilities in my life.  I’m learning something about that now too.  When is a project a craving?  What am I escaping when I’m willing to get so singularly focused?  Who in my life is this affecting?  How?

I’m not entirely sure what’s next.  I’m learning to be OK with the unknown.

http://www.century21.com/property/131-main-st-509-burlington-vt-05401-C2180124364

 

Amsterdam/graffiti

Graffiti never fails to inspire me artistically.  I’m now thinking about the empty walls of my garage…so many possibilities.

three very good questions…

Today I closed the door for the last time on my much-loved studio of 15+ years.  It’s empty.  My work is now in storage.  This is the end of one era and the start of another.

I keep thinking about something my husband, Jeff told me a few years ago.

What’s working?

What’s not?

What’s next?

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  1. The last painting in my studio.
  2. My paint covered work shirt.
  3. A layered image of me and the empty studio.

Open Studio Saturday the 18th 2-5 pm

I’m moving out of my studio and I want to honor the 15+ years I’ve worked there with an informal (and last minute) open house.  Over the years my parties were known for two things, well, maybe three—art, noisy kids and peanut M & Ms.

There will be art, jewelry and  some accessories for sale and a few items simply for viewing that I’m unable to part with right now.  I can guarantee that this will be a very low key event.  Please just stop by and say hello if you’re out and about on Saturday.  I would love to see you even if just for a minute.  Please share this or bring a friend.

You can do a quick run through of my space, say hello, grab some M & Ms and browse through Deep 6 Goods that is just below me.  Joey’s shop has very cool stuff.  Here’s the link: http://www.deep6goods.com/.

180 Flynn Ave • Burlington • Vermont• Saturday • 2-5pm

(back right corner toward the tall smokestack and up the green fire escape)

Half of all sales will be donated to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf in Burlington, Vermont.

my creative life July-December 2016

July:  I worked on my coursework for my positive psychology class.  I created a handbag out of a friend’s damaged Audi seat.  I was generously given a huge amount of fabric that was just beautiful to work with for the SEABA fashion show coming up.  I read a lot about the psychology of geography—the study of how we behave in relation to our environment. I traveled to South Dakota to visit my family and was lucky enough to get to shoot some photographs at the Burke Stampede Rodeo. Oh, cowboys…

August:  I sketched, sewed, painted and made handbags…a big blitz of work.  Using the company SPOONFLOWER I got photographs printed onto fabric. My daughter, Lucy wore a skirt I made with an abandoned farmhouse photo I shot in South Dakota on it.  I used rust prints Elizabeth Bunsen created with Nebraska license plates to create fabric as well.  Burlington master goldsmith— Jane Frank designed jewelry worn in the show—the pieces were such a beautiful compliment to the clothes. 

September was a blur: The fashion show was entirely consuming the first 10 days of the the month.  I love to be in flow and entirely focused on one thing.  Deadlines are my jam.  However, this year I also needed to create my final project for my Positive Psychology course at the same time . I graduated and got to spend a week at Kripalu in Lenox, Mass with a remarkable bunch of people from all around the world.  Later in the month my husband and I went to the Champlain Valley Classic Car show, taking photos and talking to classic car enthusiasts was just great after being so busy.

October: I turned 50 on the 12th.  I was taken to Martha’s Vineyard by friends.  My husband surprised me by getting my folks, my sister and my brother-in-law to Vermont for a long weekend to celebrate with me.  That was remarkable AND he threw a party complete with my friends putting on a musical review, poetry, singing songs and making me feel so unbelievably grateful for my life.  I took a few of my favorite images ever and layered more photos. Jeff and I dressed as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo for Halloween.

November:  I traveled to Burke, South Dakota.  I took photos of Herrick that made current and former Herrick residents very happy and remarkably nostalgic.  I got to hang out with my great nephew, Liam (oh, and the rest of my clan).  I created digital images of my own planet based on a conversation with my son.  The planet New Vagus is based on the vagus nerve—the power center of our nervous system.  I wrote.  I cried when Leonard Cohen died.

December:  I made leather pendants for gifts.  I kept playing with the image of a South Dakota two-lane road, layering the photo and playing with the visuals of memory.  I created a line of scarves with my images on them.  I will post the link soon if you are interested in ordering one.

January 2017 is off to an interesting start.  I’m cleaning out the basement—sorting through letters, photos, the kids clothes I’ve saved, toys, books and all of the things I can’t believe I now have to deal with.  I’m learning a lot about myself and why things seemed so very important to me.

Turning 50 is an interesting age to take a look back, look ahead, try to stay in the moment and not get too stuck in any one place.

looking back at my 2016 creative life…why does it feel like I never did enough?

The funny thing about being an artist—it just never feels like I’ve created enough. NEVER.  I needed to look back for some perspective if I’m going show some compassion toward myself and be my own best friend.  I went through my images month by month to remind myself that, although I can always create more—I’ve actually done a lot.

I think we all need to remind ourselves that we are enough…just as we are.

 

Here’s PART I: January to June 2016.

January: I painted this mural in the entryway of our home. It took me about 10 hours to paint it on New Year’s Day.  It brings me joy everyday as I walk into our home.  I’m eyeing other walls now and looking for some dates when no one is home for a long stretch.

February: These were a few of my favorite images from a trip to the Dominican Republic with my husband and daughters.  Oh, that blue…

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March: I shot this image of my husband with our cat, Karen.  It is one of my favorite images I’ve ever taken.  Our cozy family life wearing great socks surrounded by color.  I worked a lot layering my photos with images of my hometown and two-lane South Dakota roads.  I wrote about identity.  I worked on my positive psychology coursework.  I worked with artist, Elizabeth Bunsen ecodyeing textiles and learning about that process.  I made a handbag that referenced the South Dakota two-lane image I like to work with for a group show in April at SEABA.

April: I went with Elizabeth Bunsen to assist with an ecodyeing workshop in the magical encaustic castle—an art space in Lexington, Kentucky run by artist Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch.  What a remarkable group of women!  We made beautiful things.  We laughed.  We cried.  My great nephew, Liam was born in South Dakota while I was in Kentucky.  My new creative friends celebrated with me.  What an experience.

Here’s the link to her space to see what other workshops are available.

http://www.pbsartist.com/pbsartistopenstudio/

May: My friend, Maggie and I took four teenage girls to Quebec City to see Justin Bieber as a 16th Birthday present to my twin daughters.  What a beautiful city and the false eyelashes looked amazing as they headed out to catch their Uber to the Videotron Centre.

June: I shot this image of Vergennes, Vermont that I love.  My husband and I traveled to Ireland for a friend’s 50th birthday. This photograph was taken in Innishmore.  I sold this painting “She Often had a Plan B” in the new shop below my studio: DEEP 6.  I found a group of amazing photos at a second hand shop.  I cleaned my studio.

 Next up, whenever I get to it—July-December.

Happy 2017 and I wish you a wonderfully creative year—whatever that is for you!

dreaming of spaciousness…

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Above is my original painting.  It was in a show at a restaurant that used to be downtown Burlington, Smokejacks.  The light was low so I designed this series to show up in the soft light.  This piece also was also in a show at the Herrick Elevator in South Dakota.

I thought I could stretch the life of this painting by playing with it and layering the moon.  The farmhouse and flora in these images are photographs I shot around Burke, South Dakota.  I guess as the snow falls in Vermont I’m dreaming of a quiet and spacious rural landscape.

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when wanderlust whispers…

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The prairie has a lot to say.

The photograph of HWY 18, a South Dakota two-lane hasn’t let me go yet.  My apologies if you’ve had enough.  Actually, not really.  I write and create art for me and my hope is that something I write maybe resonates for you too.  If not, well, that’s OK.

I created this series while thinking that the imagery of the road is both going AWAY from somewhere and TOWARD someplace else.  For the early part of my life the road represented away from someplace and now it’s shifting.  This image is my childhood home in Burke, South Dakota.

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When I started working on these images I was trying to tell a lot of different stories.  Why kids leave small towns.  Why they should go back (I’ll still write about that).  Why I left South Dakota.  Why, at fifty-years-old, I would now consider going back to South Dakota.  How small towns or wherever our upbringing was shaped us as adults.  I’ve created so many images all telling different stories.  I had to narrow my message.  So, I decided to get more personal and less about rural development.

I’ve lived in Vermont since New Year’s Day 1990. I moved to Burlington with a friend, Melissa from my Sioux Falls College days.  Three weeks later I met my husband, Jeff.  Now, almost twenty-seven years later I’m deeply rooted here in New England.  I never expected to be here this long.  If had put a limit on my time in Vermont, well, it wouldn’t have worked.  I was in love and adaptable.  Isn’t life wonderfully unpredictable?

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I understand the rhythms of the sea, and yet…South Dakota just won’t let me go.  The ocean and its vastness gently reminds me of the expanse of the prairie.

I’m longing for spaciousness, freedom and simplicity.  I crave all of this more now in middle age.  As the poet e. e. cummings wrote, “it takes courage to grow up and become who you really are”.  I had to allow myself to get quiet enough to listen to my inner voice.  As a younger partner, mother and artist, I wasn’t such a good listener.  I’m grateful the prairie won’t let me go now, she clearly has a lot to say lately and I’m listening.

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vermont-lillibridgeThis image is the backyard of my home in Burlington, Vermont.  We’ve lived in this house since August 1991.  It holds many memories and has been through numerous renovations.  I love the house, but I’m restless.  I desire some change.
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This piece is layered with one of my paintings. My need for change isn’t always easy on my family.  I’m trying to be more understanding about how they feel.  They are trying to do the same.  Inevitably though, things will change and we will all adapt just fine.  I know that my work is to keep listening and trying to understand what messages I’m receiving.