Stories have such awesome power to create connections among us, to encourage us, to change us. I love the element of "story" in art, and I'm excited to share my interviews with other artists whose art-stories inspire me too. This first story is about believing, and a reminder that sometimes the biggest inspirations are the other people who believe in us. Prepare to smile. . .
Lisa Barbero decided in Kindergarten that she was an artist. But she says it took her "about 28 years to finally believe it." Once she did believe, her varied background of artistic training allowed her to create a wonderfully eclectic body of work--hand-drawn and digitally painted prints, vintage-inspired photography, and a new line of designer, hand-made jewelry--all sold in her Etsy shop and on her blog-website.
Inspired by the little things--including trinkets handmade by her children that she always keeps in her studio in Rochester, New York (little ceramic bowls and a baboon made of pom-poms, "complete with two little pink pom-poms on his backside!")--Lisa says her goal is "to evoke a mood or an emotional moment" with her art.
"My work is about the journey of life as seen through an emotional lens. Sometimes the roads I travel are dirty, sometimes they’re tidy, sometimes they are dark and dank, and other times they radiate sunshine." And Lisa likes to utilize an eclectic mix of media to document the adventure: "Thankfully, my creative journey has taken me down paths that have been painted, knitted, sculpted, and more. Acquiring these skills has made making what I consider successful art easier and more satisfying."
But Lisa's story is, of course, about more than her creative training. These days her "emotional lens" sparkles, more often than not, as her confidence as an artist and belief in herself have been carefully polished and shined to a glow by nothing less than the working of love in her life.
"While perhaps it would be more empowering to say I learned to believe in myself all by my lonesome, the truth is it took someone else truly and completely believing in me for it to actually sink in," admits Lisa. "The missing piece I needed to believe that I was an artist, was that ability to believe in myself. I was finally able to do that only after I met my soul mate. Cheesy right? Well, it turns out that cheesy can beget happy."
And "happy" is the exact word that probably comes to mind when you see Lisa's artwork. Because love is at the center of Lisa's story, her art is all about the same sweet stuff--"life, love, and quite literally the pursuit of happiness."
She says she is a "100% a passionate and hopeless romantic"--but that she tries not to take it too seriously. Lisa's use of color reflects this playfulness in soft, organic blues and neutrals with pops of candy-sweet pinks and greens--the perfect tones for capturing all of life's rosy moments and the magic that can be found in the simplest, everyday things.
Lisa's work is clean and simple, fresh and contemporary--gently seasoned with humor and inspired by an honest-to-goodness, old-fashioned love story. And her hope as an artist is that her story of love can connect with others' passionate, fairy-tale dreams.
"I like to think that my art speaks to people on poignant levels where we all secretly want to be madly in love and immersed in the kind of timeless story of amore that dead poets only wrote about," says Lisa. "You know… that kind of love that simultaneously makes you feel amazingly alive and like dying all in the same moment."
But Lisa knows it's not always all about romantic love. "I’ll settle for making people smile every once in a while," she concedes. "I believe we can create or 'make' love every day with simple smiles and kind gestures."
To put the spirit of this idea into practice, Lisa gives back, donating a percentage of her shop’s sales to a different cause every month. And it seems only appropriate that after being included in a feature on a baby design blog, Lisa's custom prints--inspired by the idea to create or "make" love--would be favored by new parents who are decorating a nursery! "I am always touched to be able to be a part of the miracle of a new life," says Lisa, "no matter how small that contribution may be."
Lisa says that her favorite "places" in color are "where blue meets green." (I knew it. Lisa is an artist after my own heart!) She muses on how to explain this preference: "There is something about those two colors together that physically makes me happy and peaceful but I have no idea how to articulate why that is."
Let me see if I can articulate it for you, Lisa: maybe it's because blue-green is the "place" of hope, refreshment and abundant life. . . and because it seems that this is just the place where your heart and your art feel right at home.
Don't forget to check out Lisa's Etsy shop and to comment here or on her Facebook page and thank her for sharing her story!