Breaking the Spine: Lisa Occhipinti
Lisa Occhipinti is a mixed media artist, designer and author. She creates multi-layered paintings and distinct book-art objects, that at first appear simple, but upon closer observation are laden with visual information.
Transforming things rather than always creating anew, Ms Occhipinti constructs artworks with found objects that lend their own histories. She is then challenged to merge these pieces with her own sensibilities while maintaining what attracted her to those things in the first place. The result is art pregnant with message, meaning and mystery.
Though her work is personal and enigmatic, it speaks in a universal language luring the viewer with quiet familiarities and a sensual earth-toned palette.
With a BA in fine art, Ms Occhipinti has studied in Europe with the Parsons School of Design and the School of Visual Arts, and continues to independently travel studying art.
She was a faculty member at the New Hampshire Institute of Art for five years. While there she coordinated and taught the summer abroad program at the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughn, Ireland. She also has taught at the Currier Art Center at the Currier Museum of Art.
Lisa has won a full fellowship from the Clowes Fund for a residency at the Vermont Studio Center, and won a residency at the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild.
Her work is in private and corporate collections throughout the US, including: Hilton Hotels, Radco at the Grandview, Acambis Inc, The Barnum Co, Wilson + Goff PA, The Rath Group, The Dana Farber Institute
Some of Lisa's book arts are included in the recent book on paper arts titled "Papercraft", published by Gestalten. She is currently writing and illustrating a book on the subject of repurposing books into new forms. It will be published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang.
I am mesmerized by the object of the book. Always have been. When I was a child, I hated to read but I loved books, loved the feel of them in my hands, the forms and colors that combined when stacked several high, the soft breath of turning pages. My passion has only grown over the years. I began my book work with studying traditional handmade binding techniques, which then led to altered book practices which then led me to where I am now: transforming the book, either in its entirety or its components.
Words, text and the notion of endless possibilities are the inspiration behind these works. I am fascinated by the idea of how books connect people, places and time, not just the author-reader relationship but the history of the book itself: who has owned it, who borrowed it, where has it traveled to. They are historical figures. The object of a book contains an exuberance and by reconfiguring it into a new form I aim to give it a life off the shelf.
Currently I am writing a book on this subject, replete with instructions for over 30 book transforming projects, published by Abrams/Stewart, Tabori & Chang, due out spring 2011.
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