"Empathy is the foundation for peaceful co-existence, and humour is the secret sauce."- Lisa Cirenza
Lisa's passions for art and nature started early in life. She devoted her early academic studies to her love of the wilderness and mountains. At the age of 17, she was selected for a National Science Foundation scholarship to be part of a glaciological research expedition on the Juneau Icefields in Alaska. She spent two summers traversing the glaciers, drawing and researching the geological, and climatological histories embedded in their flows. Her photographs and accounts of these experiences were published in “The Power of Ice”, a book published by Chicago Children’s Press that she co-authored to encourage other youngsters to pursue field sciences.
At Stanford University, she pressed hard to be accepted into their Paris based studies program, knowing she might be able to combine her dream of studying art, whilst still pursuing her work in the earth sciences. She spent 8 months studying coursework at L’Ecole des Mines de Paris, and Sciences Po—but spent much of her time in the museums, and doing short courses in painting.
She continued this pattern of short course work throughout her time as a master’s student at Stanford, and as a financial analyst, and later a management consultant in NYC; always with hopes of filling her toolbox of artistic skills, for the moment she could become the artist she’d dreamed of becoming.
Whilst raising her 4 children in New Jersey, London, Tokyo, and Quebec, she studied constantly. Her schooling includes studies with a Master of Sumi-e in Tokyo, painting and drawing at Central St. Martins, and the Royal Drawing School in London, and the the study of traditional oil techniques with the Jean Pierre Brazs Atelier in Paris.
Artist residencies include time (and focuses) in Cuba (people, and colour), California (environment, and the sea), Kyoto (calligraphy and substrates), and the Tyrolean Alps (light and atmosphere in the Alps). Walking in the shoes of those around her to find those that fit her in each of these places deepened her understandings and interest in removing the surfaces that divide us—in search of what truly unites us as a single Human species.
Her works are united by this theme of connectivity. Her London Tube series looks at the sharing of armrests between individuals that wouldn’t normally be in such close proximity—challenging the viewer to ponder the potential embedded in these shared moments, and to remove the bubble we surround ourselves with.
Her city contrasts, explores the connectivity of individuals to their place despite potentially vastly different journeys to get there. Her moments series celebrates a Human connection to a moment, removing the distractions of the past and obsessions with the future.
She is passionate about the role of creativity in solving so many of the problems we humans face, and has run workshops on maximising creativity with many corporate and private entities. Having grown up in an environment without easy access, nor appreciation for the arts, she has and continues to do pro-bono with similarly disenfranchised communities including refugees, homeless mothers and children, and schools without the resources to include art in their curriculums.
Having recently realised her dream of moving to the French Alps, Lisa is has now come full circle and is working on series investigating the beautiful, yet fragile nature of our connectivity to our natural environments--utilising all her earth science and mountaineering experience, as well as applying new skills in encaustic art.
She has exhibited widely in London, Paris, NY, Silicon Valley, Edinburgh, Xian, Dhaka, and Kyoto; in exhibitions including Miami Basel, Venice Biennale, Asian Biennale, and the historical Parisian Salons. Her works are held in corporate, state, and private collections in Japan, France, Sweden, China, Austria, the UK, Canada, and throughout the USA.