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Inspiration and abstract art is all she needs - An open interview with Lisanne Haack
Brazilian abstract artist.
I’m so grateful to have stumbled into this amazing community through Twitter and being able to connect and collect from artists. After generative art, i would say that my next favorite type of art would be abstract. i wish I could articulate better how important abstract art is to me, but sometimes words cannot express my emotions and feelings.
One of the first abstract artists I discovered was Lisanne Haack (@paranoidhill) a Brazilian artist who was already making a name for herself in the NFT community. At the time she was predominately minting on Tezos and ETH, but since then she has become very popular on the Solana blockchain by way of her Synergy series.
I was delighted to speak with Lisanne and ask her some questions about herself and her art, which she openly answered.
Here’s the interview with up and coming abstract artist, Lisanne Haack:
A lot of content you post on Twitter is of beautiful wips and finished pieces of actual physical paintings.
Do you remember why you started painting and when was the moment you knew you wanted to make a career out of it?
I started painting very young but left it aside since society kind of makes you think it is just a hobby, they want you to fit in, so I came back to it only a few years ago when I was still studying Interior Architecture and working too much on different jobs.
It was my escape from all the anxiety and depression, because I didn’t really had time (or opportunity) for therapy so I found that playing with colors was my method of calming my brain, looking for that beautiful aesthetic.
I always say that I didn’t choose this career, the art career kind of chose me, it sounds really cringe but it’s true. I saw myself one day spending more time on my “hobby” than in my actual work that I thought was right for me, well it wasn’t, and I think that art was always there just waiting for me too, when I would let it have more space and time in my life.
It is very scary to accept that feeling, since you know the uncertainty of this career, but I do love challenges.
Lately it seems like you’re constantly shipping art out to collectors, etc.
Can you talk a little bit about your life as an IRL abstract artist?
So to be honest, 90% of my artistic life happens digitally, it was like that way before NFTs when I was posting my graphic design art on Behance back in 2012 or so. I do not have many good experiences IRL as an artist, I think most of the traditional artists can say that. The industry is extremely difficult.
I did have some opportunities to exhibit my paintings and my digital art through friends or even now thankfully to the NFT space. Overall I love what I do. It all started with digital, then it turned to physical, and now back to digital again, a never ending cycle.
My only wish is to have more time for the physical paintings, 80% of the time I am either taking care of bureaucracy, marketing, income, personal life, etc., and the other 20% I need to divide between the digital art creation and the oil paintings which requires a LOT of time even to prepare. I do hope I can afford a bigger studio someday soon and get some assistance to paint too.
I discovered your work initially on the Tezos blockchain.
How did you initially get into NFTs and what/where did you mint first?
So…I am on twitter since around 13 years and was following already some artist friends in there, beginning of last year I saw another Brazilian artist that is living in LA posting a lot about NFTs and shilling her art around (yeah we all did that someday as a start hahah) and I went to do some research and talk to her about it.
I’ve always been a person interested in what is new in the digital scene, unfortunately with crypto I was never so into it, but when the art scene came to it, it caught my eyes. I learned a bit more about it all for some weeks, jumped on Discord, connected with more people on Twitter and it went from a personal account only posting in Portuguese to a more “business” account posting in English.
I remember how confused my friends in there were hahaha I minted my first NFT on Rarible, it was a picture of a small oil painting and it got sold very quickly, imagine my reaction, selling paintings for 50 - 100 Euros normally and then suddenly someone on the internet buys your painting for around 400 Euros at the time. Madness.
I’m fortunate to own “_10” a 1/1 from the Moving Paintings collection on Objkt.
I’m curious, how did you go about creating this series?
Tezos has always been a very exciting platform for me to experiment around my art and I got very inspired by all the glitch art out there but of course, didn’t want to create the same, but still adapt this style on my creations.
I always loved the thought of “moving paintings”, as if they are breathing and have their own life. I took some small “sketch” paintings I did, and loved their color compositions. I dissolved them in this digital environment, and well, it turned out exactly how I wanted.
You released a rather unique NFT called “Beach” on Known Origin (Ethereum Blockchain), compared to what you would normally create.
I have to know, where did the inspiration come from and how did you create it?
You mean the 3D Abstract Worlds right? After sharing a lot of my physical paintings work I wanted to show the space something related to my years in the Architecture and Design field too. Something I never did was create something abstract in 3D, I only worked with plans and projects and did some product design.
I wanted to discover this side of it too so I started creating this abstract organic world, since I am passionate about everything organic and edgeless forms (as you can see in my oil paintings too). It has a lot of the influence of the time I was also studying and working with Stage Design, so it does look a bit theatrical I would say.
I got inspired mostly by sea creatures since they can be so weirdly beautiful. I had some skills already in some 3D programs but never with Blender, so I first learned it a bit and while working, you start getting more comfortable with it. Then I jumped to ZBrush to create the organic sculpted shapes and voilá, that’s how it turned out hahah.
What’s your opinion on minting NFTs to your own contact, rather than directly to a marketplace?
I think it’s great that artists have this option now too, I may not be 100% informed how it all really works cause I heard some controversy about it, but the good aspect is that you are not dependent on a platform I would say.
And I do believe that in the future we won’t be dependent on platforms and fees, of course if you choose to do so for marketing, a platform can be a great help, that’s what happened with me and Exchange Art on Solana and I'm truly thankful for it. But I do want to have the option of buying my NFTs on my own website, without needing the knowledge of a developer to do so.
Your most recent series called Synergy is coming to an end on September 16, 2022.
Where did the idea or inspiration to create this collection come from?
Since the beginning of this year I started creating digital-native oil looking paintings, I did some other artworks that were a mixture of 2D and 3D but never with an iPad, purchasing one was life changing for me. I wanted to get deeper in it and was always working to achieve this “physical painting” look. What I didn’t consider is, I am creating digitally, in a digital space. I can let the physical look a bit aside and try to merge with the digital world.
That’s what Synergy is about, mixing the best of both worlds. In the same time it will have some canvas looking details but also new techniques that are only possible when creating digitally, you don’t really have a copy paste option or redo when painting on a canvas hahaha!
Synergy is about the feeling of connection to the art, what parts can resonate with you, what does the movement tells you, and whatever more you can find there to analyze. I think this series will age well looking at all the phases from my career.
The collection was minted on the Solana blockchain and has arguably made you and your art more popular, not just in that ecosystem, but across other chains.
Why did you decide to mint predominantly on Solana as opposed to another blockchain?
When I entered the NFT space Ethereum was all everybody talked about, September/October last year I got to know more about Solana because of Quincy (you may all know him already) and he was a huge help to me to jump into this chain too.
I am not really an artist that is focused on only the value of one coin, but more about the community involved in the different blockchains, that is why I am also on Tezos.
The abstract scene on Solana was still very new and it was a huge opportunity for me to jump in there and be on the leading scene. I wrote with Archie a few times to get a better feeling and until today, I am not disappointed.
I need to say, the Ethereum space has become very toxic last year and a bit of this one too, where there is a lot of money, there is also a lot of envyness, which was not doing me good. I know that everyone's experience is different, but the Solana people are like a family.
I have built connections with artists, collectors, investors, developers, whatever you find, that goes on a deep level, something that wasn’t happening much before on ETH, and I value that a lot. I believe the future is cross-chain so why not use the best of it, right?
You also told me that this last part is more inspired by your favorite artists and picking a painting and its color composition to create your own piece. I honestly think that everything is created from inspiration somewhere.
What's your opinion on creating artwork from inspiration or another piece of art specifically vs. copying another piece of art and calling it your own?
There is a huge difference between getting inspired and copying that people tend to forget. We live in a world where, let’s be honest, everything already exists. The way you combine all the information out there is what makes you unique.
I am completely against copying art or anything obviously, even if you try to copy an exact painting (ok, there are some professional forgers that do a very similar if not identical work of famous paintings) you can’t really do it, imo.
There are techniques involved, the environment influences it, the years of practice, and so goes on. In the case that some actually do that and monetize from it and don’t even give credit, we have a huge problem, and in the NFT space we have seen that very often, I assume that with digital art that became more easy. Now getting inspired is a whole new level.
The style I have today is influenced by numerous styles that came from trial and error. Nowadays you can see the influence from Joan Mitchell, Willem de Kooning, Jade Fadojutimi, Cecily Brown, and many others, on my paintings.
I studied their techniques and tried to apply that on my own brush strokes. How many times I got frustrated because one special technique that I wanted to do wasn’t working and then I got to know one from an artist and tried it myself and suddenly it worked, it’s amazing!
And it’s no different for digital works, we are pumped with so much art on the timeline every single day, we tend to filter what catches our eyes and look at ways to get inspired by it, and there is nothing wrong about it. Personally, I feel honored if artists come to me and say that I inspired them to try this or that.
Also, what’s your opinion around the conversation of “owning" colors?
There is absolutely no such thing. It’s funny how I see some artists “claiming” this kind of thing, when their work is also clearly influenced by many artists from over 50-60 years ago. Of course these artists aren’t here anymore to complain but I am sure they wouldn’t either hahah You can use the colors you want, however you want, in your own way.
Compositions have been out there in the world since forever, way before we even got conscious to say “this is red”. Imagine me getting inspired by a forest with greens, browns, blues and someone that normally paints with this palette comes and says it’s theirs. No. Respect the journey of every artist, know the difference again about copy and inspiration, and if you don’t know, you better go learn about it.
We all just witnessed an iconic event after 0xTjo released his newest work “Bleu'' on SuperRare. This happened earlier this year when Grant Yun released Cow:
as well as Jack Kaido releasing Partial 1A.
What do you think of all meme derivatives and the movements that continue to follow their works?
I love it. It’s the right way, especially in the digital scene. It brings heat, it brings attention to the artist and to all the others that create something from it, and with that, it can bring more attention to their own art that is not derivative. I do think about making a CC0 artwork in the future, but when I know my art, myself, and the people are ready for it.
Were you instantly inspired to create your own derivative?
Oh yes, sometimes I am just waiting for an artist that I love to make one of their pieces CC0 just for me to go and create something from it hahah.
With the BLeU piece, I saw it as the perfect challenge since blue is my favorite color, and also the one I have more difficulty to work with. To paint ONLY with blue, it was hard, but satisfying after actually achieving it. It was and still is a beautiful movement.
I see that you’re now starting to create within the Oculus VR ecosystem.
Why did you want to start exploring in virtual reality and how has it been going so far?
Like I mentioned before, I love learning everything that is new in the digital area. Unfortunately I jumped into VR pretty late compared to some artists, but I could never in my life afford something like that before.
I created some 3D sculptures before but always on my computer and was always amazed by the VR options, it can be very stressful to sculpt only with your mouse and since I am a very expressionist artist with my oil paintings, I wanted to have this liberty of movement for the digital sculptures too.
It’s been liberating, I still need to get used to it since you are really in another world and I get dizzy very easily hahaha But will keep working on it.
Is there a specific idea you have in mind for virtual reality painting or more curious what will come from it?
For now I am more focused on the 3D sculptures. Bringing my intuitive brush strokes that I normally do on my oil paintings to the 3D world, it feels like kind of touching and entering my other 2D artworks, you can see through them. But who knows what the future holds, I do have some exciting ideas!
It seems like collaboration between artists has played a big role in this digital/art/nft renaissance and you have collaborated with some amazing artists!
How do you decide on who to work with or is it simply organic/a vibe?
To be honest I wished I had even more time to collaborate with a ton of artists, but for now I still kind of need to “choose” what works better. I normally collaborate with abstract artists cause the way of creating is more similar but recently I have also accepted the challenge to work with artists from different styles and mediums, you can learn so much from both and to further use it in your work.
I do think a collaboration should be seen as a whole piece and not instantly make it aware of the artists involved. If you achieved that, imo, you did an amazing collab.
Another one of my favorite abstract artists in this space is Dust Bunny.
How did you come together and decide to create “gruta” (released on OpenSea - Ethereum Blockchain)?
DB is absolutely incredible! I really don’t remember how I discovered his works, one day I just saw on my timeline I think and he also comes from Brazil, so you know. His brush strokes are very similar to how I work with my physicals and he has such a smooth way of bringing this color compositions and figures into it.
It was very nice to work with him and how we exchanged the phases of this painting, very easy going and we both knew when the painting was done. It just clicked.
It’s nice to step away from Twitter or even painting sometimes to go outside and get fresh air.
Do you get much time to do this? What are you doing on an average day if you're not painting?
Dealing with bureaucracy hahaha Unfortunately it does take most of my time, it’s the typical “I’ve quit my 9-5 job now I work 24/7”. But in the opportunity that I do have some free time, I normally watch a ton of series and movies. I am a movie freak, or traveling, doing something new, seeing new places and learning more about different things.
I tend to get bored pretty easily so I am always trying to find ways to change something, discover something new, and so on. I am also very spontaneous, so sometimes before I think I am about to be burned out, I throw everything away and just do whatever I want to, if it’s just renting a car and driving somewhere new, or going to the cinema, or going for some drinks, you get the idea.
Do you ever struggle to find inspiration to create?
If so, how do you deal with that?
Oh yes, I think we all lie to ourselves if we say we don’t struggle with it, I lost count how many artistic blocks I had in my life hahaha Sometimes you do want to create something and you don’t know what or how to even start, the blank canvas fear.
For that I normally start researching, a LOT, for me colors are the most influential aspect on my creations, so I try to find inspiration from that and suddenly I end up with 10 new compositions I want to do. From that on, I try to mix it and decide what works best and when you see, you are already creating.
I’m curious, are there any upcoming events or releases you're excited about that you can share?
I am very excited for the last drop of the Synergy series, my anxiety levels are very high hahah I think it’s a good finale painting that I am deeply proud of. I have some exciting collabs coming that will blow everybody's minds too hahaha!
And other than that, on October 6th I am gonna drop another edition piece on Solana, a very special and rare one, expect something not very used for an artist that normally uses a lot of color, that’s all I can say for now!
What’s one thing you hope to accomplish in your career as an artist (if you haven’t already)?
I think I am already building it, but back then it was definitely the “I want to be remembered by my art”, my goal was and still is for people to see a painting and know it is from me. Besides that I dream of opening many galleries to exhibit not only my art but from emerging artists.
I would love to start it in my home country, Brazil. Me and Michael (@backwardsgeometry) curated a special abstract art gallery with amazing Brazilian artists, and I dream of doing that IRL too, and all around the world.
I hope I can keep on growing in my artistic journey and helping others achieve that too, influencing in a good way. And well, I do hope I can just keep creating for the sake of art.
It’s been exciting to watch you flourish as an NFT artist this past year. I think the future of phygital abstract art definitely looks bright with you and others paving the way for this gen and next generation artists.