Lisa Sabo Brown
A quick sketch
“I’ve always enjoyed making things. In our house art and creativity were the norm rather than the exception.”
Lisa Sabo Brown comes from a long line of artists. Her grandmother was a painter and ceramist, her mother an ardent ceramist and sculptor. Her father was an art director at the outset of television when everything was new and experimental. He would bring scrap paper home from work so the eight kids could draw on the back side. With these origins, Brown’s creative side flourished early. In kindergarten, she was dubbed the class artist and never looked back. In high school she won an art scholarship that provided travel to Europe the summer after graduation. She visited countries from England to Italy and art museums from the Tate to the Uffizi. Through travel, she gained an appreciation for ancient art through contemporary art as well as a love to travel. Upon her return, Brown studied fine art at Wayne State University. Located in downtown Detroit, Wayne catered to hardworking, get-your-hands-dirty individuals, which fit Brown’s work ethic and aesthetic very well.
“Advertising taught me how to look at things differently and make a connection between how things look and what they mean. This is also how I approach my painting.”
With her BFA in drawing and painting in hand, Brown began a decades-long career as an advertising creative. She found that her background in drawing and painting helped her to think differently about the relationship between style and message. Her art evolved during this period too; in the office, Brown’s commercial work emphasized clean lines and clear distinctions between topics, but in the studio she started to explore more ambiguous spaces. She explored new ways to be messy and precise. Her work toys with the edges of the canvas as a way to leak into the gallery space. She likes to focus on moments and details that might otherwise be overlooked. That might be a leaf resting on a pool of water or the way one brush stroke interacts with another.
“I want the viewer to be aware of the medium, the paint.”
Though Brown’s early paintings utilized oils, she soon changed to acrylics, preferring the spontaneity and immediacy of the medium. Her paintings are expressive and multi-layered, with rich colors and bold brush strokes. The subject matter of Brown’s paintings is inspired by life. Sometimes it is recognizable, often abstract. Representational subjects are treated with an eye toward the abstract. The influence of Jackson Pollack and abstract expressionism is evident but never determinative. Brown’s sense of adventure and is evident in her work and she invites the viewer to share in it.
“Sometimes, when I begin a painting, I think I know where it will go then it turns into something else. The painting will be what it needs to be.”