Posted by Penny Tristram
Lisa Vallo’s unique, innovative and contemporary art style has been embraced by a diverse and impressive range of worldwide clients, including GHD and Marks and Spencer. Despite her success, she’s remained down to earth, and describes herself as “just a very ordinary girl from Shipley”. Here Lisa shares the secrets of her inspiration and creative process.
Penny – Did you always know that you would be an artist?
Lisa- I always hoped I would be, although I knew it was the only thing I wanted to do.
Where did your involvement in art stem from?
I won an art competition when I was only 4 or 5 years old – it was to design a logo for a well-known high street bank – I drew a black horse!
Did you go to art college?.
I didn’t go to art college – I did come top in the school with my art o level though. I applied to go to art college and was accepted but family problems prevented me from going. I applied to go to art college a further 2 times (when I was 26 and then 32 – I wasn’t really in a position to attend either time but I just needed to know if I still had “it” – I was accepted both times although I hadn’t actually taken any work along with me, as I hadn’t really done any drawing or painting for years at this point. Anyway, both times they accepted me on still life drawings I produced at the actual interview.
How did you come to make art for GHD?
I was approached by the managing director of GHD – he had seen my work displayed in a gallery in Leeds and asked me to design and create unique and specific pieces for their offices around the world.
Could you please describe the practical process you go through when making a painting?
I’m not sure I always have one – I start by thinking of colours and that’s it really.
How do you generate ideas?
I think I take notice of fashion within the home and I love the finishing touches that allow us to make our own stamp.
Do you ever get artistic blocks or creative droughts?
Yes, I took a two-year break – I was too occupied with various other elements of my life, including the death of my best friend. My state of mind was not in a place where I believe I could continue to create.
How do you stay inspired and engaged with your practice?
I don’t really know how best to answer that question, other than this; I truly feel that this is my vocation and nothing else compares or makes me happy and content – just creating a painting inspires me in itself.
Your work is very painterly, engaging with the physical qualities of paint. Can you say how this aspect of your style developed?
Creating the pieces for GHD probably gave me a greater sense for texture and reflection on canvas – I think this was really the beginning of “the shape of things to come” with my work. I had now created my unique style. I realised that I was actually OK when using multi media – my work was different to anyone else’s, and being self-taught gave me a great sense of achievement – especially being commissioned by the mighty GHD.
What are your favourite paints to use?
I have loads, but I do love thick metallic paints.
Visit Lisa’s Art2Arts page to see more of her exciting, textural, and dynamic paintings.