Alise Loebelsohn - portfolio journeys
Alise Loebelsohn’s journey to creating her current portfolio of work has taken an exciting and unique journey. From painting billboards, to decorative painting, Loebelsohn’s takes us on a journey through the experiences that have shaped her as an artist.
In as much detail as possible describe your journey in art?
It was never really an option for me. My mom and my identical twin sister were artists. I remember as a child, how natural it felt to make art. We lived in a tiny bungalow and didn’t have many resources but art supplies abounded. They were all over the house and of course my sister and I were curious. My mother was very enthusiastic to have two more artists in the family.
As a youth, I took advantage of the opportunities of living in NYC. At a young age, I had many wonderful teachers that nurtured my skills and talent. I was accepted into a program for young painters at the Brooklyn Museum. I never looked back.
I went to Pratt Institute on full scholarship and realized I wanted to do art as a career. I was afraid to do fine art though because of how my family struggled financially while growing up.
I found my way as a mural and billboard painter on the streets of NYC. It was exciting work and I learned the skills of the old masters. I painted beer bottles and bubbles and cigarette ads on billboards over 50 feet long. I did this for twenty years, as a member of the painters union, while pursuing my own art on the side.
After I got married and had kids, my husband did not think it was a great idea to be hanging off the side of buildings twenty stories in the air. That’s when I started my own decorative painting company called Pompeii Studios LLC.
I never stopped doing my own art but family and work came first. In 2012 I had a solo show in Greenwich CT. The show practically sold out. That is when I realized that I should get back to my true love of art. I have been working and showing ever since.
What/Who would you consider to be your greatest influence and why?
My mother has really been my greatest influence. She was a fashion Illustrator back in the day when beautiful dresses and clothing were illustrated and advertised. She would bring super tall thin models to our home and dress them in flowing, chiffon gowns. My mother would sketch them.
My mother believed in creating beauty. It was not always practical but she instilled in me a drive and passion for beauty, nature, and art.
I feel that whenever I do my work that her presence is there. My regret is that she did not live long enough to see my body of artwork, but somehow I am sure she knows.
How have you evolved as an artist?
When I was younger, my work was somewhat representational. Although my subject matter has changed to become more introspective, my love of color and texture has continued to evolve.
The idea of how color is affected by light has always interested me. Since I have been working as a decorative painter, I am also intrigued by the effect of color on different surfaces. The one material that I use in all of my artwork is Venetian Plaster. It is a very versatile material that is similar to plaster but also contains lime, marble dust and other substrates. Although it is used on walls, I use it as a base in all of my work. It allows for beautiful translucencies and subtle variations between layers. The work is built up in layers, sometimes twenty or more. If I did not work in the commercial painting business I probably wouldn’t know this material exists.
When I was younger, I separated my commercial jobs from my fine art. Now I see that they feed each other. It is exciting to integrate these two fields to create work that is my true personal vision.
Are there any specific/major influences that have influenced your art and who you are as an artist?
I have always been influenced by the physicality of objects. Are they bumpy, shiny or smooth? Is it heavy or light? The materiality of the painting affects the overall look. The technique and materials capture the ephemeral quality of the idea.
Many times my work has been related to Gustav Klimt. While not intentionally trying to work like him, I can see the similarities. We both worked in the trades. Klimt was a gold smith and I do gold leaf. I have also heard the name Paul Klee. I feel a kindred spirit with Klee with his playful, curious, and adventurous soul. These are great artists that I look up to.
Some other influences are Persian rugs, aboriginal dream paintings, and miniatures. I follow patterns in nature such as rocks and leaves. I look at color in fashion and everywhere I am in the world around. As an artist, one must keep their eyes open and take in impressions of all kinds.
Describe the evolution of Passages through Pattern and the meaning behind this series?
Patterns can be seen as a decorative element and something that sits on the surface but I believe it is much more than that. Patterns can be used to describe civilizations and culture. Patterns are part of daily life and patterns are how we count time through the years.
As I get more comfortable working with the panel I see patterns as a way of layering and creating depth. I believe that there are many thoughts and feelings existing within each of us at any given moment. I think the same is true in art. I like to see where the painting will go. I have only an idea of what will be. Then I let the line and color dictate that will come next.
The challenge is to take all theses shapes, colors, and textures and separate what belongs in the piece and what I will have to eliminate. I try to achieve a cohesive work. It is like a tapestry with many layers of paint sandwiched into one surface.
The work continues to evolve. In my current work I am exploring the idea of seeing through the panel. By next year I hope to have a new and exciting body of work.