The crunchy lines and bold colours of her work are the antithesis of softly spoken, elven Joanna Lisowiec. But in conversation with the Edinburgh-based illustrator, one gets a sense of her dynamic and definite attitude towards the arts. We both agree not to touch the subject of concept-based art, choosing instead to speak at length about where the art world should be heading (not necessary synonymous with its current direction) and its purpose. Clearly an intellectual, Joanna’s work has profound and extensive meaning beyond the aesthetic.
Born to Polish parents, the artist was brought up between the USA and Switzerland, before moving to Edinburgh to complete a degree at the ECA. She takes great inspiration from the natural world, and tells me that mountains are of especial significance, which, considering her childhood spent in the Colorado Rockies and European Alps, it’s no leap of the imagination to understand why. This translates nicely into her art: natural forms meet boundless emotional shape, playing out in visual harmony to communicate a story.
As an illustrator, Joanna has naturally put emphasis on the relationship between art and literature: hers is a didactic art, imbued with true sentiment. The collision of word and image has always been of intense fascination for me, for the echoes and mimicries that leap between the mediums are extensive and of significant importance to art history.
In terms of the practicalities of working in the contemporary industry, Joanna has a fairly clear idea of where she is heading. In 2011, Joanna beat competition to design the book cover for ‘Viking Gold’ by V. Campbell. She intends for this to be her main stream of revenue in the future, given that designing book covers is something she has an earnest passion and natural flair for. Aside from this, an artist-in-residency position could be on the horizon, but for now, the chance to focus on and hone her craft won’t be passed up.