I visited Lisa Leppa, a woman of numerous talents , at her apartment in Loring Park. A modest 450 square feet, this lady has figured a way to make every nook and cranny of her studio apartment organized for her needs. She has turned it into a well-oiled machine for herself as an artist and as a place to work from home as Illustrator/Designer of a gift-ware company. Every piece of furniture in her apartment has been, in one way or another, modified for the space it dwells. What interests me the most is Lisa's ability to know exactly what she wants and/or needs for her apartment and modifies the piece to make it convenient and multifunctional for everyday life. "My attack on furniture...I store ideas in my head". By "luck" and rummaging through Loring Park's infamous back alleyways, Lisa uses her imagination, applying it to scrapped furniture, will create something new. Intentionally displaying certain projects which she calls "works in progress" in plain sight, she is able always have it fresh in her mind.
Once a place with just enough room to fit her makeshift bed/couch, Lisa has turned the space (to the right) into her art studio keeping it separate from her living space. She built the desk specifically with dimensions for the room using random storage containers to make her desk one unit.
Left: Lisa's desk which is designed specifically to meet her organizational needs. Right: Artwork done by Lisa along with sketches of how she wanted her studio space to be organized. She had to make sure she had a space that would stay organized; otherwise, her work area becomes a mess very quickly.
I'm not going to take all the credit, but I had a little to do with this piece of furniture, which oddly enough, is my favorite piece of furniture in Lisa's apartment. We found this scrapped entertainment center missing a door when we were on a walk in the neighborhood. Lisa took it from there and created a wardrobe that isn't just practical, but aesthetically charming as well. She installed a light fixture, a clothing rod, and a mirror inside the entertainment center lined the inside with a type of grass cloth wallpaper. To give the wardrobe a little class, which Lisa exhumes through all her pieces, she hung a once crystal necklace in front of the light to give it some chandelier glam.
With a little paint and love, Lisa refurbished this chair finished off with a unique burlap embroidered sack she found thrifting that she uses as the seat cover. Apparently days after I left, Lisa finished the chair and crossed it off her list of "unfinished projects".
My personal favorite, a painting done by Lisa, a bicycle map of Minneapolis. As always in Lisa's apartment, this painting on the wall is multi-functional. 1. To give you something to admire 2. It helps you find your way through the city.
How you describe your style of painting and drawing:Abstract expressionistic elements combined with representative surrealistic elements. I draw imagery from a combination of real life photographs and dreamed or imagined experiences. My art work is very much affected and changed by my reaction to the piece as it develops. I tend to use a lot of layering and erasing and revising to bring a piece to it’s final form.
Piece: Crowd. 6"X8". watercolor on ceramic.
How you describe your style of painting and drawing:This piece is an example of imagery that comes from an actual experience I had of watching a war protest in Glasgow Scotland from a third story window above the main street where people were protesting. I took a photo of this protest and used the photo to inform the painting. I feel that the painting better describes my personal experience of the event where as the photograph captures what I was technically seeing from my vantage point on the third floor.
Recieving an Art Degree from the University of Minnesota, Lisa is an artist and supports herself by working as an illustrator/designer for a giftware company called One Hundered 80 Degrees Ever wonder who comes up with ideas for those knick knacks you take out of that closet once a year for Christmas, or who designs those kitchy owl cups you can get at a local boutique such as Patina? That's Lisa. She sketches the designs by hand, sometimes using watercolor, and scans the photos into the computer. From there she will edit the designs. Instead of using colors in photoshop, Lisa will extract colors from everyday life from either a photograph or her watercolors. By doing this, she feels she has more control and the colors have more depth than what programs such as photoshop offer.
Christmas ornament sketches.
To keep your eyes up to date on what Lisa Leppa is doing or contact information, check out Lisa's website.