Lisa graduated with Honors from The Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago with a B.F.A. in Media Arts and Animation. Her animation and film shorts, (e)scapes and Worn Out Doll, appeared at Reeltime in Evanston and were later featured at The Mystic and The Way Out Film Festival. She was also a film assistant on the animation, Longhair and Double Dome: Good Wheel Hunting, which aired on Cartoon Network, and was an art assistant for the Chicago-based independent film short, Jeff Farnsworth, featured on HBO.
While at Dreaming Tree Films, Lisa contributed as a storyboard artist, a/v editor, motion graphics artist, cinematographer, director and producer. She directed two independent films for Dreaming Tree’s Book of Stories series and taught digital filmmaking to high school students in Chicago’s After School Matters program. The After School Matters orientation video she created with Jillian Pendell, Find Your Future, won the Silver Plaque in the Chicago Int’l Film Festival Intercommunications in Education for Dreaming Tree Films in October of 2003. The following year, the Book of Stories feature Lisa co-produced, The War, was inducted into the Children’s Film Festival at Facets.
Her collaboration with professor and writer Sarah Keller produced the independent film Nice Outfit. She also worked in conjunction with the Albany Park Community Center on the gang awareness video entitled Stories From The Inside, and provided cinematography, a/v editing, and motion graphics for the human rights video One Body , collaborating with long time creative partner, musician Matt Sommers, to co-write the music score. She has also provided video production for school orientation videos, web commercials, and tourism videos for the City of Chicago, town of St. Charles and Lisle, Illinois Convention Bureau.
Her collaboration with DePaul University’s Visual Arts Education Director James Duignan launched DRiP Films (Duignan-Ruth Independent Productions). The two collaborated on the PBS documentary, A Shared Vision: A Documentary of the Mandatum Project in Chicago, the Albany Park Artwalk and a documentary of the Chicago blues circuit, Live at Legends, featuring interviews with blues giants Buddy Guy, Eddie 'The Chief' Clearwater, Lonnie Brooks and many more. The documentary also highlighted the photography work of DePaul colleague Victoria Fadden, whose photos were part of the video exhibition.
Lisa's affiliation with the art representation organization Anatomically Correct began in February of 2002. She was the first video artist represented by the organization, and her 3D animation Worn Out Doll appeared at The Apollo Theater in Anatomically Correct’s exhibition Oh, You Beautiful Doll! in conjunction with the theater’s production of The Vagina Monologues. Lisa also contributed video editing and title graphics to photographer Carrie Notari’s Flower Bodies exhibit at Walsh Gallery. The two also collaborated on an independent short film based on and titled after Emily Dickinson’s poem I Hide Myself Within My Flower. The two collaborated once again for Notari’s Graffiti Bodies exhibit at Flatfile Photography.
Before leaving Chicago, Lisa attended DePaul University and received her Master of Arts in Visual Arts Education. She served as a panelist for DePaul's Visual Arts program and was a board member of the Howard Area ARTSLAB, where she and her colleagues wrote and published the arts curriculum for the alternative school model. During that time, she was also an inner-city public high school teacher in Visual and Language Arts and an arts education advocate.
After relocating to Arizona, Lisa continued to teach secondary arts, co-created the night education program for working teens through the Tucson Urban League, and was commissioned for paintings and drawings. She launched Bad Mattress Matinee, a public access segment featuring works she or other artists produced to be aired late at night as programming for insomniacs - a condition she deals with poorly. The series was short-lived but is currently being resurrected for airing in Portland, Oregon in 2018. Her video work also expanded to include political ads for various candidates in southern Arizona, educational events, documenting border and trafficking issues, and having the opportunity to collaborate with Matt Sommers to film the music video Can't Win For Losing for the band Lines of Nazca in Indianapolis.
In 2011, Lisa's exhibit, Women of Courage, debuted in Scottsdale, Arizona and went on to be shown in Tucson, Casa Grande and Denver. She was also an adjunct faculty member at The Art Institute of Tucson, while she continued to teach high school art. She began work on land and city scape paintings involving abstractions with light, and its effect on the emotions. She also loves graphic novels and is continuing a series of paintings in a style celebrating Adrian Tomine's Optic Nerve series.
Upon moving to Oregon in late 2013, Lisa's small scale (2"x3") paintings from a series she titled A Little Lonely were displayed in the annual Little Dickens exhibit at Backstreet Gallery in Florence, Oregon in 2013 and 2014.
In 2017, Lisa registered as a sole proprietor starting Expression-M and renting space above Lela's for a studio and office. She introduced 8 giclees from the painting series, Illuminations, on October 27, 2017, at Lela's where they are currently on display. The series is also expanding with four additional paintings to be added on January 1, 2018.
Lisa is currently adding a new series of paintings and graphite drawings for 2018 and will post the exhibition schedule in the coming weeks. She also continues to teach and is working with students on a stop-motion animation piece.
In addition to visual arts, Lisa has also written for several publications over the years covering entertainment, art, education, politics, social and cultural commentary, economics, religion and community events. She has been a featured guest on several radio programs including The Tammy Bruce Show, Saturday Night Rap Up, The Freedom Hour, Mike Check with Mike Shaw on KVOI, The James T. Harris Show, and Red Pill Radio. She is also a musician, songwriter and singer, who performed in the Midwest. Her music can be found at www.mattsommers.com under her name and the bands Grapefrute and Notice.
Today, Lisa enjoys a quiet life with her cats, Lyric & Dagney, in an apartment facing traffic. She is surrounded by several shelves of books, musical instruments, a genuine disdain for tv, enormous love for Netflix (particularly Grace & Frankie), an arsenal of Stumptown coffee, keeping company with Wallace & Gromit, the works of Walt Disney, Ray Harryhausen, Brothers Quay, Tim Burton, Charles Schultz, Bil Keane, and a big box of Legos.
Indeed, life is good!
By Mike Shaw, KVOI