Lisa Vaccino on Her Paintings, Being an Art Director, Life in Malmø & More

by Rubén Palma
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Lisa Vaccino is 39 years old and based in Malmö, Sweden. In 2009 she graduated from Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm and since then she has been working as an art director at several advertising agencies such as DDB and Åkestam Holst. One day a week is devoted to her art. Lisa works mostly with gouache but also with self drying clay. The inspiration comes from ordinary people and everyday life but she always add an elevated, colourful touch.

Hi Lisa, thank you for sitting down with me. First mandatory question. How does a regular day look like for you in Stockholm, Sweden? 

I work 80% as an art director at an advertising agency in Malmö (I moved to Malmö two years ago:) so one day a week I get to do the thing I love the most, paint. And on a regular paint-day I start by planning a motif and this is the most important part of my process. If I come up with a fun and interesting motif the process gets so much easier and fun, and the result usually gets much better. I get my inspiration from everywhere but mostly from instagram. I loooove the internet. All the inspiration goes into a folder that is growing every single day.  

Do you remember at what age you started to draw and when you realized you had a talent for it? 

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. In the beginning of primary school I remember struggling with reading and writing but boy did I love to draw, and the thing I loved to draw the most was disco. People in different positions on the dance floor or just standing in line to the toilets. I spent hours with my clubbing characters. 

You did not continue to draw and paint after you graduated from college. But at some point the urge to pick up a brush again becomes too big. What was the spark that started it? Talk to me a little bit about that period in your life. 

I had been working with advertising for almost a decade and felt an urge to have a project that was 100% my own. No clients giving me feedback or changing things in the process. And also I was longing to do work with my hands, create something tactile and real that had a clear beginning and end that only I could control. 

Staying on the subject. What was the transition like, when you decided to become an artist yourself, while still working as an art director? 

Oh I don’t think I ever decided that. Even today it feels a bit wierd when people refer to me as an artist. But with that said, I’m very humble and glad that people see me as an artist, or more importantly, see my work as artwork. 

Continuing on the subject. Being an artist, has that ever affected your role as an art director? 

Oh yes! The combination of these two worlds makes me a much better artist and art director. 

Details are a huge part of your paintings. Have you always been detail oriented? And where do you think your attention to details come from? 

Yes. I have always been noticing details and found it so interesting. It can be everything from the interior in a room to a person on the bus, what he or she is wearing or what mood they are in. It’s all in the details. It’s so fun to fantasise and create you own version of the person you observe. And it’s the same with my paintings. 

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not painting?

I wish I had a cool answer to this but when I’m not painting, working or chasing after my three kids I watch a loooot of series. I’m a simple woman, haha. 

You also create various ceramic objects. What got you in to that, and how long have you been practicing it? 

The clay is just another canvas, but three-dimensional. It’s fun to pick some of the objects I usually paint and give them life. My next project is to paint on clothes. 

Who is your favorite artist and why?

Marie-Louise Ekman. Her work makes me truly happy. The colours and the details, what’s there not to like. Another big inspiration is Magritte. I never get tired of his playfulness. 

What song do you listen to the most right now?

It’s actually my brothers new single. “Säg mitt namn” with Familjen.

For more information about Lisa, check out her Instagram.

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