Artist Feature: Lisa O’Riley

Phoenix artist Lisa O’Riley grew up in California and Hawaii, ended up in Arizona and studied painting at ASU, where she earned her BFA.  Classically trained in old master oil painting techniques, honed during time at the Colorado Art Academy and the Scottsdale Artists’ School, who would have thought that graffiti would be a major influence and at the forefront of her work?


Lisa O’Riley :Merlot and the Mystery Girls”

In studying interior wall glazes and ornamental line elements of traditional painting, O’Riley saw a direct reference between graffiti work, modern murals and classical European and American murals and paintings.  Her current series of paintings juxtaposes traditional still life and urban street art creating a narrative between the two art forms–and connecting them in a timeless manner that becomes a nod to the past and a celebration of the present.  She views herself as two characters working independently back and forth in the same space sharing and molding the visual languages into a uniform statement about the similarities of their crafts.  Each painting tells the story of the equality of “high” and “low” brow art.


Lisa O’Riley “Graffiti Says What”

In some the painting, such as “Merlot and the Mystery Girls” the still-life takes center stage with graf work added to the scene as if a tagger came along and wrote on a Pompeiian mural.  Others, like “Graffiti Says What” focus on the text and the line work of the graf, closely compared to modern Islamic art as well.  Most intriguing are paintings which incorporate the characters. “Reach for the Stars” includes the still life surrounded with graf but also gives us the visual of the tagger in the midst of adding his contribution to the work.


Lisa O’Riley “Reach for the Stars”

O’Riley is not the first artist to mix genres, and certainly not the last.  But, what we view in her work is not gimmicky, it is a genuine narrative about the essence of painting and its roots in history.  A goup of O’Riley’s paintings are on view in the Lounge at {9} The Gallery through the end of June, with a reception Friday June 19th (Third Friday–TOMORROW).  Make sure if you are downtown art strolling in this summer heat you cool off and check out the work of this rising star!

Artist Website

{9} The Gallery


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