influences

Lisa is influenced by many artists for their stories as well as their work and continually pays homage to artists, musicians, and writers throughout her work. Her strongest influences include Frida Kahlo, Jean Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Jacob Lawrence, Pablo Picasso, Romare Bearden and Vincent Van Gogh. But it was Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting that became the ultimate fore bearer of her will and desire to paint. One day she stood in front of that painting and something magical happened. She could see herself in that painting under the rhythmic moving skies and twinkling stars that Van Gogh painted. That experience inside of Van Gogh’s painting took her to a whole new world. She never really saw Black artists, but Van Gogh somehow encouraged and guided that Black girl to paint. 

 

 Lisa found the value in documenting life, culture, history, and experience on canvas. Influences were everywhere. She took a cue from Steven Spielberg who documented and packaged the history of his people in a creative film called Schindler’s List. Jacob Lawrence did a tremendous job documenting the migration of Black people from the South to the North. Frida Kahlo wrote her bio in paint. Romare Bearden captured the soul through photographic clips that he collaged into his work and created a bold style that narrated stories of Black life. And Pablo Picasso got bored with realism and would allow no one to put him in a box, did not let the art world define him and courageously pulled out various styles and skills that would tell the most powerful story and engage viewers.  Keith Haring's cryptic rhythm and Basquiat’s cryptic expressive style and the messages embedded in his work added to the substance of their work. These artists are a banquet of Lisa’s strongest influences to her work.


 

After birthing a painting Lisa writes, reads, journals and listens to James Baldwin.  “Uncle James, what shall I name this work?” The process of titling the work and writing the “birth certificate” is just as important as the artwork itself.  She goes where the spirit of Uncle James leads mostly through Black literature to name her work, sometimes paying homage to the literature itself

©Lisa Whittington 2020
©Lisa Whittington 2020