We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Horlander and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lisa, Risk taking: how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/career?
Risks have to be taken to find growth. You either live comfortably in one spot or take a risk, which always feels uncomfortable but will give you growth.
I do not have a left ear, and I am partially deaf. I have had to work harder growing up, for educational and even normal social interactions, and that has taught me that taking risks is a necessary but valuable part of life.
I live in East Texas and my artistic focus is on the wild pockets of forest nestled
throughout my city. I dont want to move but I also recognized I want to be a part of a larger art community as well as art opportunities in bigger cities. I started to apply to everything no matter where it was and I have had many opportunities because I took the risk of traveling no matter the distance. I was a part of an artist residency at New York University for a summer, was a studio artist in Cohort 2 at The Cedars Union in Dallas, and have taken part in many awesome exhibitions across Texas.
The biggest risk I have taken was to open my own shared Art Studio and Micro-Gallery, InBetween Studio. I have grown and grown the art community! We hold art classes, events, and fun art meet-ups as well as my podcast, Dont Drink the Paint Water. Its for sure a risk to take on but the rewards have already shown me it was worth it.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I just finished up and exhibited my series "Home Bound" which portrays the feral woods that grow in my neighborhood despite the ever-growing urban growth that threatens their survival. I want to open up a conversation about urban growth and the diminishing Great Piney Woods, portraying trees that are broken but still thriving trapped in house and full moon shaped canvases. During the pandemic the series took on a new focus, finding similarities between
these trees’ survival and our own. The next body of work is focused on the need for community and loss. I have been collecting used and dried-out teabags which I unfold and flatten out. Then the paper is used for woodblock prints, depicting images of trees from my life that did not survive the severe winters of the past two years. I sew together each teabag print and will hang the artwork just above eye level. Each teabag print represents a moment in time that an individual spent as well as a tree that was a part of our landscape. In sewing them together Im connecting the community and their shared moments as well as the trees which were a part of our landscape, which the viewer must walk
through to experience the artwork. I have always loved the forests in East Texas and my art has incorporated it in some way. When I returned home from the residency in New York, that lovely concrete jungle made me truly feel a connection to the survival of the trees in these ancient woods that stretches the country but ends where I live. I feel like the pockets of feral forests are part of our city as much as the houses are. It’s heartbreaking to see these beloved areas plowed down for new developments as much as I am excited to see our city’s growth. Nothing has come easy for me in my life but I have found a lot of luck after overcoming challenges. I joke that Art is my first language because of my deafness. I did not learn ASL growing up but how to speak English correctly as well as listen extra hard to understand what was going on around me. I still struggle with spelling and getting the correct words to express myself. Art has always granted me a way of expressing myself that anyone can find meaning
from. It was second nature to pursue a career as a Visual Artist but it was not an easy path. I still need to be able to verbally explain my artwork and my fear of my own handicaps held me back. Fortunately, I have been a part of artist residencies and organizations where I have met people who have been generous with their own experiences. I’ve learned how to shape my story, how to network, and most importantly how to help others. These strengths have proven to be what I needed to get past what I thought held me back.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the
best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc. In your view what are some of the most fun, interesting, exciting people, places or things to check out?
Funny you should ask this because I recently had the opportunity to share Dallas with my childhood best friend who now lives in Germany. We started at the Cedars Union where I introduced her to my friends there. She was able to
look in their studios and see what they were created which was a special treat for her to connect with colleagues from across the world. We grabbed a drink at Four Corners Brewery next door and then walked over to RO2 Gallery and The MAC to see their current exhibitions. We were lucky that RO2 was having an opening that day and were able to meet the artists exhibiting! We next went to Liliana Block Gallery and had an amazing chat with Liliana herself about the artwork on display. We headed to a few other galleries before stopping for dinner at Vietnam Restaurant and our last stop of the day was at the Latino Cultural Center for an art exhibit. We stayed with family in Arlington and planned on going to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens and Fort Worth Modern, but we ran out of time and instead headed to the North Park Mall to relive some high school memories.
Alright, so let’s jump right in! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that
our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts,
support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there a person,
group, organization, book, etc that you want to dedicate your shoutout to? Who
else deserves a little credit and recognition in your story?
I have been to many people and communities that have been a big part of my art career! I highly recommend the book Art/Work by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber.
Heather was a mentor to me during the NYU Summer Residency I was a part of, and she shared with us the valuable professional practice information in her book. I would not be where I am as an artist without that knowledge.
The Cedars Union has given me community, space to create, as well as many opportunities to show my work and even curate exhibitions! It lives up to its goal of being an art incubator and I am so grateful.
The Texas Vignette also has been a big help in meeting other artists and finding opportunities to show my artwork.
Other: Other:TikTok @lisarachelhorlander