Color Us Intrigued
View Lisa Congdon’s Art in the Bedford Gallery’s New Neon exhibit.
Courtesy of Lisa Congdon
Looking at Lisa Congdon’s work, it’s easy to assume the Oakland artist spent a lifetime honing her vintage-inspired mixed-media aesthetic. In truth, she took her first art class at the age of 32.
“I’d never considered myself artistic,” says Congdon, who studied history at Saint Mary’s College, then spent several years in educational fundraising. “I decorated my house and such, but I didn’t know I had any talent.”
Today, at age 45, Congdon’s work is on wallpaper, towels, sheets, and wall art sold by retailers such as Urban Outfitters and the Land of Nod; commissioned for book covers and magazine illustrations; and exhibited in galleries around the Bay Area. “I was never really discovered, no magic moment. It happened slowly,” she says. “Many of the opportunities I’ve had were the result of working hard and working a lot—and sharing what I do on the Internet.”
This month, view Congdon’s work in Bedford Gallery’s New Neon exhibit, about the reemergence of neon as both a color and a medium. Congdon has contributed a series of graphite portraits based on old photos, with vintage ephemera and neon paint.
“I like transforming something vintage by adding a twist with bright color or a modern pattern. It’s fun, and in the end, the pieces are both visually beautiful and thought provoking.”
New Neon is on display December 5–February 23. For information, visit bedfordgallery.org.
Neon on Your Phone
Add a little neon to your life with the Farr Out app. Developed by Richmond artist Kristin Farr, whose colorful work is featured in Bedford Gallery’s New Neon show, the iPhone app lets you place Farr’s painted patterns into your own photos, with creative and often hilarious results. “People have done things I wouldn’t have thought of doing,” she says. “Using their creativity with my images, it’s like two layers of art.”
Kristin Farr’s Farr Out is available in the iTunes App Store.