We recently had the opportunity to chat with Virginia based artist, Lisa Ashinoff about her extraordinary, and vibrant oil paintings that are inspired by the clean lines and geometric forms of mid century modern architecture and design.
Tell us a little bit about your artistic background.
My interest in art started at a young age. Drawing lessons at eight years old turned into my first oil painting at ten. My father was born in the 20’s and loved architecture. He was somewhat of a maverick with a unique attraction to unusual designs. I attribute his modern aesthetic and love of clean lines as a major influence in my work. I grew up in a home designed by Norman Jaffe, which was counter to the styles within our community. It was this introduction to structural composition that led me to create what I create. Since my family is from New York, I spent a lot of time there. I loved staring out the windows enthralled by the cacophony of the city. Bard College opened up a world of abstract expressionism and modern art to me and influenced my thinking on color, line, mark making and perspective. In time these major influences blended together to form the foundation of my work.
What is it that you love about Mid Century Modern design?
The minimalist aesthetic of mid century modern design most appeals to me. My use of white lines in my artwork is my way of echoing the need for natural light. Before moving in to the Jaffe house, I grew up watching The Jetsons, sitting on red shag carpet in a room with heavy wood paneling. The color of the kitchen was sunflower yellow- everywhere- and we ate dinner on a Saarinen tulip dining set. These styles were not en vogue then. Thus, nostalgia is ingrained in my design style.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I find inspiration everywhere. From a color palette that catches my eye, a house on the side of the road, travel, nature, music, architecture and most importantly modern art.
Paul Klee’s painting entitled Highways and Byways was what initially sparked my body of work. I did a tribute piece. Eventually I formulated my own style but his thinking has never left me.
“Drawing is taking a line for a walk.” Paul Klee
Tell us a little bit about your medium and your creative process.
The uniqueness of my work is due, in part, to the artist-designed system under which I create. I have a general idea I pursue at the initial conception of each new piece and the design evolves throughout each step in the process. Once I am ready for paint I can spend hours on perfecting one color. I work with oil paint because I enjoy its buttery feel and the effect I am able to produce. My brush strokes provide interest and a sense of movement when viewed in person. The way the light catches each stroke allows for nuance in each color. I am drawn to the science as well as the romance of color and love seeing how each piece evolves over time. My creative process is typically very long and arduous. I am somewhat obsessive about the composition, the color, and the ultimate creation of each piece.
I see my work at the intersection of design, architecture, and geometry, and I am inspired by the basic elements of art: light, color, line and texture.
My color palettes are premeditated and purposefully designed to highlight both harmony and discord.
With the use of intersecting lines, resolute colors, rhythm, sections and sequences my aim is to produce a unique and dynamic energy.
With each piece I enjoy exploring the vibration of color and cadence of line. The uniqueness of my work is due, in part, to the artist-designed system under which I create.
When the formula feels right, I find that a narrative is produced which makes the buildings become characters within their environment.
Each piece is imaginative by nature and not indicative of any particular place.