Illinois State Museum Society Artist: Lisa Goesling
Just like each piece of artwork has a story to tell, so does each artist. This is the first of a series of interviews with just a few of the 1,800 artisans in the Illinois Artisans Program. Earlier this summer, I spoke with scratch board Artisans Lisa Goesling of Palatine, IL on her decision to pursue art, her battle with cancer, and her reflections on having a family.
Growing up Lisa Goesling was surrounded by art. Her parents were both creative and collected art. They would travel around Europe bringing back precious art, some so small that Goesling would examine them under a magnifying glass. Goesling’s mother was a fashion illustrator and her father was a trained baritone as well as an attorney. While Lisa wanted to choose a fine art career, her parents steered her towards a more secure major, graphic design.
For 30 years Goesling worked creating campaigns, designing brochures, and books, all the while painting and drawing. In 2006 a cancer diagnosis pushed her to focus just on her art practice: “There are no guarantees in the art world. I took a giant leap six years ago. This has been the most intense concentration on my art. And I love it. I wish my dad was around to see it.”
During her cancer treatment Goesling discovered scratchboards, appealing because it is non-toxic and transportable. Scratchboards are coated with a layer of porcelain and then covered in ink. A metal stylus is used to etch away the black layer with detailed lines to create depth. While Goesling was going through treatment people kept sending her flowers, and she began noticing their amazing beauty.
“I’m not a religious person, but looking at the flowers I knew there must be a God. The texture and forms in the flowers are truly breathtaking!”
Working with extreme precision and detail in a media where one can’t erase, Goesling breaks down form into the smallest lines, isolating features and textures.
“I am sitting here looking at a bunch of dandelions. Drawn, they are a bunch of stars floating off the page. In this medium, simple is just not that interesting to me. I like to concentrate on something that will challenge me with loads of details. I have too many ideas. Every day I think, OK, I am here. How can I be productive today? I am not obsessive about it, but I do embrace how precious life is.”
Often Goesling is working on up to 10 pieces at a time at different stages of completion, she diligently spends between 3 and 8 hours daily in the studio.
Preferring to work with the actual specimen, Goesling has plants at various stages of drying throughout her studio. She laughed as she described collecting milkweed and other botanics from the side of the road while her 89 year old Mother-In-Law sat watching her from the car, it happens fairly often. Before the object wilts Goesling will take several photos of it to work from. She is currently working on several large projects: a collaboration with a furniture artist as well as a grid of 12 pieces 8×8” in size.
In addition to a studio practice, Goesling frequently conducts workshops with cancer and pain management patients at Swedish Covenant. It is a powerful experience for Goesling as well as the participants in the workshops. “It is not something I can do all the time. The stories I hear…I am not a therapist…it is larger than the art. One of the cancer patients said to me: You do a whole lot more with your cancer than I do with mine!”
Lisa Goesling also added her advice to other artists: “I have so many different opinions. One of the issues I have is people thinking it is cool to be a starving artist. It doesn’t do any of us any favors. We need to take ourselves seriously, and everyone else will. What we do has value.”
After speaking with Goesling at length about her work, she sent me this insight:
I keep thinking about what else I would have added to my interview. I guess the one thing that came to mind is that while some artists only want to concentrate on their art and not lead a life that might get in the way of that. I found that for me, having a family along with so many life experiences, have enriched my art, not taken away from it. I don’t feel the angst that a lot of artists express through their art. And I don’t work hard at finding the meaning of life, I feel like I already found it.
Designers and artists mix at the Merchandise Mart
Jodie Jacobs 1-21-12 Chicago Art Exhibits Examiner
Art aficionados listen up. Sure, it’s fun to discover a gallery not on everyone’s radar. It’s also interesting to see artists at work. Up on the 15th floor at the Merchandise Mart you can do both.
In Studio 1562, six artists whose output has made it into galleries and shows around town are painting, etching, drawing and using multi-media to create works for their next exhibitions.
The space became available as a juried-in residency about two years ago thanks to a partnership of the Chicago Artists Coalition (think Hatch Projects’ and Bolt Residency’s West Loop galleries and Art Loop Open) and the Merchandise Mart.
The studio was originally called “Works on Paper,” according to CAC Executive Director Carolina Jayaram. She points out that the space dictated the size and materials used.
“We couldn’t allow toxic chemicals because of limitations of space and in respect for other tenants,” says Jayaram. She explains the space became available to CAC about two years ago as a six month renewable lease.
“It has far exceeded our expectations and time line. It’s been a great partnership all around,” says Jayaram.
What visitors will see near the entrance of Studio 1562 are works by the following artists: Lisa Goesling, Mark Moleski, Alexandra Lee, Jaime Lynn Henderson, Zach Mory and Barb Blacharczyk.
A Palatine artist who said goodbye to publishing and advertising to follow her passion, Lisa Goesling, likes working alongside artists.
“It’s a perfect fit,” she says. “I love the idea of sharing space with five other artists.”
She also likes having studio space in the Merchandise Mart.
“I love being in the Mart. It’s an iconic building,” Goesling says. “The other showrooms love having us there. They say that we bring great energy to the Mart. We’re amongst designers who really appreciate our art. People from all walks of life visit our space.” she says.
Visitors who stop by will see her black clay boards so finely etched in naturalistic patterns they resemble artistic photography negatives. Other boards have added touches of colored inks. Goesling is currently exploring photography, mixed media and turning a volcanic ash mix into such objects as pussy willows.
Her choice of materials resulted from needing something artistic to occupy her while undergoing cancer treatments.”I needed an outlet and I needed something portable,” she says.
A former art director and graphic designer who studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago, illustration at the Chicago Academy of Fine arts and majored in Communication and Graphic Design at Northern Illinois University, Goesling wanted to do something different.
“I did not want to do advertising anymore. I wanted to create my own art,” she says.
Fear No Art – by Sawyer J Lahr - October 18, 2011
With one more week of Chicago Artists Month, there are so many gallery openings and ongoing exhibits to see including Ray Noland’s “Let Them Eat Cro” exhibition (through Oct 28, 2011), this week’s post focuses on the artists selected for the Merchandise Artists in Residence Program (through Oct 31 2011) sponsored by the Chicago Artists Coalition. This program is meant to “help create a new audience of supporters and collectors for the resident artists” through the CAC’s mission of making art viable i.e. a source of income.
These artists share common threads by their use of etching and line (Lisa Goesling, andZachary Mory) to create movement, form, negative and positive space, and impressionistic color rather than literal transposition. One artists collage work (Mark Moleski) converts everyday inorganic objects into more familiar forms while photos from another artist’s native land refer to the politics of capitalism and western modernity on gender, justice, and tradition in Chinese culture (Alexandra Lee). See the art in action on vimeo.com/29099537
Life-long artist, Goesling’s experience in drawing, painting, sculpture, and graphic design all find their way into her sensual portraits of ornamental flowers. Where as the subject could feel shallow outside of a greenhouse, Goesling’s Composition of A Coleus (pictured right) is etched on Black Claybord, porcelain clay covered with India ink. Goesling says “I don’t use pencils, only the etching tool that etches out the layer of India Ink. The image appears in the bottom layer of porcelain clay on the black board. I can add colored inks at the very end.” The effect appears pencil drawn but has a living, breathing sculpturesque dimension emphasized by the black backgrounds, creating a positive and negative space rarely seen in life surrounding florals. Her art directing and public relations has helped make hers and her colleagues art marketable. Lisa has presented her work in galleries throughout the Chicago area, Los Angeles, Texas, Wisconsin, and the Merchandise Mart. A full portfolio of her work can be found at www.lisagoesling.com.
Sixty Inches From Center - Just Scratching the Surface: Lisa Goesling
Posted by Nicolette Caldwell on Oct 29, 2010
Lisa Goesling another artist in the Chicago Artist Coalition residency program has managed to literally create new meaning pertaining to how art fits into her life and career. Her seemingly microscopic scratchboards illustrate a variety of flowers and plant life that contrast equally the negative and positive black and white space. She illustrates such fragile and delicate images with such an abrasive technique.
We had a short conversation and Lisa mentioned to me how the residency opportunity has given her the opportunity to really explore her artistic talent in a new direction. After listening to what Lisa had to say I now realize that it truly is amazing how art affects individuals differently.
“I am an artist here and I am one of the lucky people to get to walk up to the Merchandise Mart every day and walk to the art space and be able to create. I feel unbelievably grateful to have this opportunity it came on the heals of my having cancer. That is how I started with the medium I use, which is scratchboard. They were portable and I could bring them to treatment. It would take my mind off of things and I fell in love with the way the light hits the line work I create and the way the composition is against black and white.
In addition to doing these, I also create design on fabric. I feel the more things I have my fingers in with my art the more fun it is for me. My artwork is in several galleries and design studios now. It has just been an unbelievable turn of events. I used to be an art director, graphic designer, public relations director but all I really ever wanted to do was my own art.”
We will see more from Lisa in the future. Keep posted as her work continues at the residency for another six months. I will be heading back to capture a full audio interview with Lisa in the next couple of weeks.
Works on Paper at the Chicago Artist Coalition Gallery
Jessica Kronika - Chicago Fine Arts Examiner October 21, 2010
The Chicago Artist Coalition and the Merchandise Mart have created a space for artists. The Works on Paper Artist Residency is a fifteenth floor space where works in progress and ongoing exhibits coexist. The ongoing exhibit at Suite 1562, at the Merchandise Mart, features the works of the six artists in residence. Each approaches the idea of working on paper with a different approach. Inara Cedrins documents signature architecture in linoleum block printing. Lisa Goesling works in Black Claybord inspired by the minute details of plant structures. Jamie Lynn Henderson explores commercial stereotypes and the fussy details of femininity with her mixed media works. Alexandra Lee works in handmade paper sculptures, exploring elements of cultural mysticism. Zach Morey works in graphite with intricate details and abstract patterns. Mark Moleski works in india ink and collage, exploring silhouettes and themes such as politics and perceptions of media. Through these varied points of view, the resident artists share their current work.
Lisa Goesling creates a realm of intimacy with the plants in Black Claybords. With a delicacy she handles the value of leaves and flowers through linear textures. The subtle hints of color and lines build luminous and lyrical compositions within the dark background of the scratchboard. She began her romance with flora years ago with paint.
Fear No Art – Art & Artists by John Coyle Steinbrunner
August 20th, 2010
The Work on Paper Residency is located in Mart space 1562. Hours are – well, I still don’t know those, but go during the work week and you should be fine. The residency is housed in a vacant showroom casually divided into a front gallery and six workstations in an open-plan space.
Lisa Goesling’s Black Claybords of floral compositions have a Dürer-esque level of detail and care. The residency is a good show and I’m glad it’s a little hidden; it’s worth the searching. For those interested in process, it’s there. If you have to know why, the artist is there to discuss it. If you just like poking around in someone else’s stuff (and who doesn’t?) you can do that too. And if you want to see a cross-section of how six Chicago artists take a common medium and run with it, you’ll most definitely get your fill.
- John Coyle Steinbrunner