Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Lisa Kettell, an artist who creates some of the most enchanting images I’ve seen. I don’t have any children, but if I did, their walls would be smothered in Lisa’s work. The vivid color and imagination in each piece is amazing. Inspiration for children of all ages.
I’m so intrigued by your work. While displaying an obvious lure for children, there is this quality of wonder that just stopped me in my full-grown tracks. Who is your audience? From whom to you create these pieces?
I create for all ages from a 1-year-old to 100 years old there are no art limitations for whom I create. As adults we can tend to loose our childhood dreams, a sense of inner fancy and imagination, my goal is to try and restore that fantasy in everyone, to bring a little magic into our lives through my works.
I love your “carnival” and “circus” themed pieces. They seem to juxtapose history and fantasy. Did you go to the circus a lot when you were a child? Where does this fascination come from?
The carnival, the circus, is filled with mystery, hidden secrets and magic, you never know what is lurking behind every corner, big top curtain, fun house or ride. As a child my grandparents used to take me to this small amusement park called Kiddie Land, they had these amazing rides, fun games, shows and there was always this smell of popcorn and candy apples filling the air. My mom would always take me to the shore during the summer months to walk along the boardwalk, play the games, the rides and stuff me with seaside treats. Going to the circus or local carnival gave me opportunities to ride the elephants, wear a crown and see a lion show all while eating a candy apple or cotton candy. Looking back, all this seemed so magical, as an adult I wanted to keep these memories alive to re-awaken the magic I had experienced as a child.
Were you an artist as a child? What was the progress of your artistic journey?
I started creating my own imaginary worlds filled with fairies, mermaids and made up storybook characters ever since I could hold a crayon, my first story was The Rainbow Mermaid, I was about 5 years old, LOL, I still have it courteousy of my mom. All throughout school all the way into college, I enjoyed art classes and workshops, learning all I could about every medium of art. My original passions were drawing, sewing and sculpting, it was during college that I found collage, soon after I would realize my passions were everywhere, thus becoming a mixed media artist, working in every medium.
There is a bit of an insidious quality in some of your work. It just adds so much depth to what could easily be a light an airy subject matter. Do you think that is intentional?
Not sure, I just take subjects and reformat them into my world, creating the version that is in my head at the time the piece is being made.
Do you ever work on commission, say if someone had old fashioned family photos or other specific requested items they wanted you to use?
Yes, all the time. I have made a variety of commissioned pieces from jar fairies and glass vignettes to shadow boxes, dolls and mixed media paintings. If some one wants a family heirloom, using their own photos, I will use them, while working with the customer on their likes and dislikes, until the piece is to their specification.
How can readers order your pieces?
I see that you have created a children’s book – where can readers purchase it?
Do you have any projects in the works you’d like to share with us?
This will be a busy year, I’m working on a product line, another art book and further developing the art zines I create, encouraging all to submit works to. I love showcasing new people and helping others to achieve their goals. I am also developing workshops where everyone can unite and find the magic in themselves.
You can see more of Lisa Kettell’s work at her website.