Bradenton resident Lisa DiFranza creates daily sketches as a way to get through the pandemic and share art with the community.
Hello, I'm Dalia Colon
and this is WEDU Arts Plus.
When Lisa DiFranza got laid off
from her job due to COVID-19
the very next day she broke open
in a set of gouache paints
she'd had sitting around the house.
Now more than 200 sketches later,
the Bradenton resident is using her daily art practice
to help heal our community.
(bright upbeat music)
- My name is Lisa DiFranza,
and I'm here today to talk with you
about the Sketch-a-Day project
that kind of emerged organically
out of this COVID-19 world health crisis.
So when I got laid off from my job,
I started sketching and I didn't know it,
but it was going to be the beginning
of sketching every day
and posting it online.
I come from a family of visual artists,
even though my sort of career and work life
has always been in the performing arts as a director
or as an educator.
But I think sketching came organically
because it's a way to process and share with the community,
the online community,
the experience of living on earth now.
I started posting on Facebook and Instagram,
I added Twitter.
The response has been really interesting
and people were writing saying,
"This is part of the way I'm processing through COVID,"
or, "Could I get a copy of this?"
So I began to work with Artsource Studio in Sarasota
to make fine art limited edition prints of the sketches.
So when that started to happen,
I launched a website where you can see the sketches
and the odyssey of COVID through my eyes anyway.
- So at this point I have purchased two of Lisa sketches,
Splashy Sunset Over Route 41 Motel
and Hopeful Moon Over Bradenton.
And what I found with her sketches,
I was watching her posts these everyday on social media,
and they were so timely.
We are all experiencing this array
of emotions every single day
and Lisa was capturing those emotions every single day.
And so there were some of those that she captured an emotion
that I really related to.
And so those were the two I selected.
One of them, is a moon and it's beautiful,
but it's hopeful.
And she has that piece of it
and, it's over the water.
And the other one though is an old motel on Route 41
and there was something really poetic about that as well.
And that, that wasn't that stereotypical beautiful scenery,
but she made it feel really beautiful.
And so I truly appreciate her ability
to capture all of these emotions
that we've been feeling during this time.
And I think even though she was doing it daily in the end,
when you look back on it and as a collective,
it truly encapsulates all of the things
that we've been feeling.
- As far as processing COVID goes,
I think tempest-tost is an image of the Statue of Liberty
that really to me, sort of emerged
from my confusion about the American experiment.
I've done a couple of theater images.
I miss theater.
I recently did a remembering curtain call image
that just came out of missing that feeling
of being in a live theater
for a live performance
and the energy and excitement of that.
And of course, I worked in theater
so much that it's so close to me
and I feel for all the workers in theater
who really have no work.
Also there's some of the sunrises and sunsets
that are close to me
because they're right from our neighborhood,
our doors and our dock and the river
and the river has just been so much
a part of this time for me.
And I have never had the time to see and think in this way.
I think sketching marks the day,
whereas everything else is blurry,
but sketching every day I wake up and I do this
and it marks a new day (chuckles).
The other thing I think that's therapeutic
is being able through social media,
which is weird because I'm not a big social media person,
but being able to share with other people
and get a response.
So I feel like that helps to process communally
even when we can't.
- Well, I think what Lisa has been able to remind us all of
is that art has the ability to speak when our words don't.
And so whether it is relating to something that she created
or creating something on your own,
it really is therapeutic in so many ways.
And when we're alone, as we have been so much recently,
that connection through art is even more vital
than it ever was before.
(bright upbeat music)
- I think there is nothing more gratifying
than making something from nothing.
And my advice would be just do it
don't judge what comes out.
One thing that I've really gotten
out of the sketch of day thing
is sometimes I don't love the sketch
and it's really been very, very wonderful
to not get too hung up about it
because I know next day's a new day.
I know I can start again.
Another blank piece of paper, just produce it, share it,
produce it, share it.
- Lisa DiFranza sketches are on display
at Art Ovation Hotel in Sarasota
through January 18th.
The exhibition is called "Timelapse 2020".
To see more visit lisadifranza.com.