Lalii creatrix laurie lippe
I come from the clan that enjoys having work be the statement. We ourselves can be quiet types. But if the above is not enough, then below is more:
I left school – art school that is – after having accumulated so much debt that it was unwise to add more. I moved to New York to become a Famous Painter – but I came back – not to San Francisco, and my unfinished BFA – but to the beloved mountains and deserts of the western United States. To clarify:
I grew up in northern Europe. At age sixteen, and through a series of family events, I left home to live for a year in the American High Desert. I immediately fell deeply in love. The brilliant air was unlike anything I had ever known. It was a glimpse into another world. Clear and full of impossible vistas.
Although I went back to an overseas life, I made the American West my home as soon as I could.
Back in NYC, the Famous Painter did not materialize. But I drank wonderful Turkish coffee in Brighton Beach, where I lived at the end of the D train. I was mesmerized by the decrepit endless cityscape. I went everywhere on train and foot - never interested in the interiors, always under the sky, absorbing the frantic life that somehow made it, squeezing up in the cold dirty sidewalks.
The Long Way Back (before LALII)
Rocketship - oil on paper, 36 X 52"
Life in NYC, irrepressible and
All year I worked on a series of oils called Babies behind Bars. The sight of endless grey prisons rising all around me were like stakes emerging from the heart of the earth. Somehow these dirty shaggy teeth were coming, and I could not but leave. I needed air. I meant to return to the Bay Area but that took 10 years. I stopped in the Great Basin because it was what I needed.
Rock - oil on paper. 62 X62 " late 1990s
aspect of the Sea of Dreams
What is this "needed"? The next series - painted in Utah, was called Destruction of the Library. Oil mixed with plaster, charcoal, acrylic on paper. The story line was a series of images of drowning a library, or drowning in a library, possibly referencing the giving away of many books which I felt were the language of my younger self: the insulation that stopped me from living a true life? The explanations are facile though, Something needed destruction. And as I continued to wrestle with the usual troubles, love and money, painting fell into a smaller place and I resumed a more straightforward need of living outdoors. The ability to scramble up a peak, or to travel through snowy dreamscapes, to enjoy the exact moment in time in a specific physical setting. This seemed important. Why?
What is the relationship of these experiences to the making of paintings…? Or to the world at large? I always felt that the snowy mountains saved my life, made it possible to continue in the face of nameless confining dread and pain.
Those years, my body was a precision tool navigating through mountains and deserts. I produced many smaller pieces that I never gave a second thought to. They were as necessary as breathing, and as unassuming. The drawings, unlike my magisterial grand subjects, stand up well today. Simultaneously of course, I was trying to do yet another named Chapter. I called it The Sea of Dreams. The actual "The Sea of Dreams" painting was a giant ridiculous failure of a piece, personally beautiful to me, absurdly unfinished, and finally, completely non archival. This Sea of Dreams went nowhere.
And finally, I had to give it all up in order to learn a trade whereby I could pay my rent. Perhaps this was the official entry into middle years, adulthood, dark ages. But like the actual Dark Ages, they were not really dark, My way in the visual world continued but was small, incremental, questioning, and humble. Sad in a way, but not paralyzing. High hopes dashed.
WahWah Range. Watercolor, 10" X 7".
Traveling through Southern Utah looking for Bristlecone pine
The underneath is always doing something that the head knows nothing about. The navigation of mountains was the true sea of dreams, not the image.....linked by trail, maps and ability, love of place. Local exploring was the best, a set of double ropes, a piece of rock that was mostly spurned by more important climbers, fun all day, tired sleep after work in the restaurant, or later the hospital.
How long could this go on? The exact moment in time in a specific physical setting. Something would catch me over. I would literally swoon, in love, No season was too unimportant for my restless eye and willing feet.
There is something about continuity because that is what you know...... But why are you still in that game?
The world caught up with the young woman who thought that the beauty placed before her was for free.
Long ago this land was something else.
The sunken and rusted fences of a west coast world have made their way into my awareness.
Life anywhere at anytime indifferently follows and creates our paths of least resistance.
But then there we are with an absolutely unique story to be told. All of us.
I spent several years learning different forms of digital art at Berkeley City College. I learned about many ways to interact with word, image and motion. From designing web pages to small animations. The tools were interestingly strange, and exposed different sides of what I could express. The camera, the written word, animation, painting – it all is coming together and breaking apart. Collage, masking, notebooks filled with drawings from the past and present chatter to be opened and magicked into a second existence with other treatments. Writing began to surface.
An installation - showed at Sweeties Bar in San Francisco - which I had never bothered to photograph, became a sticker. An idea which never had a proper medium (for 20 years!) now can become a short projection.
I spend my time scheming, writing, making stuff by any available means. Anywhere you find me, it more likely might be outside sniffing around a forgotten shoreline, or back in the shop cutting, gluing, scribbling something or another. Making electronic collage. Going outside to see the world as it is, not some preserve separate from humanity.
I work with the very young. I can be taught, I ride on the sea, love my friends.
What piece of luck came my way through no virtue or choice?
Lalii is my new fun business venture -
decals, designs, and collaborations.