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Meet Lisa Haque

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Haque.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Making things with my hands is how I make sense of the world. My family can testify to my early and (some would say) overflowing creative impulses- all of the magazine covers, cereal boxes, and receipts around our house had little drawings covering them, and I was always ‘firing’ tiny sculptures of food in our oven, or accidentally drilling holes into the kitchen table while making books. I have been very fortunate to have a family that has supported my explorations, and to be able to channel these impulses into a career in the arts.

I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Adrian College, a small liberal arts school in Michigan. There, I dabbled in every medium I could get my hands on- drawing, painting, ceramics, photography, and on and on.Through one of my mentors, a wonderful artist named Pi Benio, I learned about papermaking and bookmaking. When the opportunity came to take a hand papermaking class one summer, I jumped at it. I immediately felt at home with the medium, and pursued all the chances I could to learn more about it.

For the past 17 years, I have continued studying and teaching papermaking. I earned an MFA in Book and Paper Arts and have taught many courses and workshops, including one wonderful summer spent in Italy. Before moving to Miami in 2016, I held two positions as a papermaker in non profit institutions on the East Coast. Most recently, I was at Dieu Donné in New York, a center with a 40 year history of working with contemporary artists in handmade paper. I collaborated with dozens of artists to make new bodies of work in paper and produced custom paper orders. These days I am happy to be in Miami focusing on my studio practice, and enjoying the vibrant community of South Florida.

Please tell us about your art. What d o you do / make / create? How? Why? What’s the message or inspiration, what do you hope people take away from it? What should we know about your artwork?
I make artwork in a variety of forms: two dimensional works that hang on the wall, sculptures, artist books, and installations. In it, I attempt to map out my relationship to the natural world, evoking processes of growth, transformation, and decay through the imagery and the manipulation of materials. Having worked as a professional papermaker for seven years, I developed an understanding of the material’s capacity for expression, and I often push it to the edge of existence. Conceptually, the materials add another layer of meaning- the paper is derived from plants, often used to signify the changing of seasons and the passage of time.

My installations combine disparate elements such as hairnets, plastic toys, and metal scrubbing pads, and the paper unifies everything into an organic whole. I layer, excavate, and accumulate the materials, allowing the residue to gather and represent a sense of the piece’s history. I remain keenly aware of how much to allow my hand to show in the process. My work has been alternatively called elegant, playful, and baroque.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I am thrilled to be increasingly showing my work around the Miami area. This spring, my work was included in the group exhibit paper: works on and of paper at the Bridge Red Studios/Project Space in North Miami. And this summer, I will have new artist books featured in Spheres of Meaning, an exhibition of artist books at the Frost Art Museum at Florida International University. Those interested can keep up with other upcoming events by checking out my website, lisahaque.com or my instagram account @lisahaque, or by reaching out to schedule a studio visit with me at my studio in North Miami, near the Museum of Contemporary Art.

As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
I am interested in the long haul, in being an artist for the rest of my life. I have had the fortune of spending time with artists who have managed to accomplish this, and have thought about what they seem to have in common. There are the obvious qualities of passion and hard work (and sometimes a bit of luck) behind their successes. But I think the fuel that really keeps everything going is maintaining an intense curiosity, a need to see what happens next without any guarantees of positive outcomes. Finding a way to continually feed this curiosity is an essential part of the work of an artist, at least of those whom that I admire.

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Image Credit:

Eléonore Simon

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