Friday, November 1, 2013

Feature Friday: Curious Portraits

I was a huge Halloween fan as a child, like overboard huge. I loved it because it's the only holiday where I could let my imagination run wild and get candy afterwards. It was a total win/ win situation for me, and that was back when your parents allowed you to walk around at night by yourself as long as you were back at a certain time. There was something so mysterious and exciting and uncertain, every sense was heightened and you preyed on your friend's fears just for fun. I can't do that anymore because people are so serious nowadays!

I wanted to introduce to you Lisa Zador, the imaginative artist behind Curious Portraits, because her prints remind me of my childhood imagination where anything goes and it was all in good fun! Lisa is amazing about telling a story. The illustrations themselves are beautifully portrayed in charming and eccentric settings that playfully set the scene. Lisa then writes a small snippet of backstory, but it's up to you to decide what the details of the story are. She describes her shop has having "unusual artwork for the discerning eccentric," and I think that gives the perfect glimpse into what her shop is about and the audience she is painting for!

1. How would you describe your art?
I think it is definitely nostalgic. From my portraits of childhood stuffed animals and vintage Barbies to my anthropomorphic animals and food icons I always seem to have a link to the past. I like to think these portraits bring a sense of comfort and serve as a reminder of childhood to others.
2. Name three adjectives that describe your artistic point of view.
Eccentric - nostalgic – representational
3. Who has most personally influenced and inspired you as an artist?
I have been influenced by so many things really. I didn’t know any artists personally growing up so I would have to say my biggest influences came from artists I admired such as Bronzino, Pontormo, Holbein. I always felt there to be such a depth and even vulnerability about their portraits, particularly those of Bronzino. They always seem to be actively thinking about something, not just posing. That is the quality I strive to have in my own small way in my animal portraits.
4. What inspires your art?
I am always inspired by things from my childhood such as toys and pets but also by pop culture food icons, commercials, advertising, etc. I have also worked as a textile designer for years so I am constantly finding vintage linens and fabrics that inspire me. Books and films also have a strong influence especially ones set in Victorian times or that have a dark, mysterious theme. I must say too that I am especially inspired by the real animals in my life such as my dog Bingo (who shows up in many Halloween and Christmas portraits) as well the squirrels I feed on my fire escape!

5. Who is your favorite competitor from your field?
There are several artists I have discovered on Etsy whose work I love such as Janet Hill, Amber Alexander, Emily Martin. I also love the work of such artists as Mark Ryden, David Delamare, Travis Louie; all whose vision I find to be unusual and even courageous.
6. What did you wish you would have known when starting out?
I wish that I could have been more confident in my work and better been able to put myself “out there” as an artist. When I finally decided to sell on Etsy, I was amazed to find how responsive people were and that so many felt a kinship to my subject matter.

7. What is your favorite item currently for sale in your shop?
My favorite item is usually the latest painting I have done so at the moment that would be the portrait of Uncle Omelette. His is a strange portrait that I don’t fully understand yet I feel so very
attached to it! (You can read more about him on my blog I also still have a soft spot for Henry the Victorian mouse, Mr. Peanut, and my Steiff stuffed animal portraits not to mention the two portraits of Daisy the Squirrel!
8. Where can people find you and your art online?




  1. Fun work :) I love her unique take on classic subjects.

  2. What gorgeous artwork! Thanks for directing me towards this wonderful artist. :)

  3. What a great artist! I love the dog scientist portrait. =0)
    Wonderful feature.

  4. I've come across this shop before and love it! I'm a big fan of those cat portraits! I like what she wrote about being inspired by textiles :)