Lisa Rosenmeier is driven.
You would never know it by looking at her fun, colorful paintings featuring animals in very human-like interactions and situation. But during our hour-long conversation, centered on her wonderful new exhibition “Something to Say,” opening Friday, September 20th at Location Gallery, her tenacity in the pursuit of her artistic practice was a common theme, and a character trait that began manifesting itself at a very young age.
“My mom used to put on the afternoon news channels,” she recalled, “And the weatherman would come on and draw these stick figures. And I just very preciously decided one day that I could do better than him.”
Without any formal training, Rosenmeier willed herself into an art career. She started as a muralist, but never really thought of herself as a “professional artist.” Then in 2009 a colleague gave her the notion to “take the wall with [her].”
“I hated leaving it behind,” she told me with conviction in her voice. “I thought, ‘okay, I’m going to transfer this over to canvas, so this way no one ever has to leave work behind ever again.’ They can take it with them.”
She started doing some coffee shop shows and found some success. “I had an exhibit a couple of years back at one of the coffee shops in town. And this lady was there, got up from her table, literally removed the painting off the wall, and said ‘I’m buying this and I’m taking it home right now.’ She wasn’t going to let the show finish. She was insistent that it was hers.”
Some artists might have been content with that, but Rosenmeier felt the need to keep pushing herself to new artistic heights. “You always look for that next step. If your career’s not making you nervous, and if [you don’t have] knots in your stomach, you’re not pushing hard enough.”
Unsurprisingly, she soon established relationships with Gallery 209 on River Street, and Location Gallery, one of the premiere fine arts galleries in Savannah. With her exhibition “Something to Say,” Rosenmeier really wanted to spur discussion among the viewers.
“How can I get people to have a conversation about something that is root elementary to every core human? And to get us having a conversation without screaming at each other or just locking down on one position? I think it’s through communication that we can really open the doors of change and growth.”
“The main reason why I wanted to do this exhibit is to get people talking, to get them to think, to resonate with them, and to touch somebody on a deeper level.”
A lofty goal, but with Lisa Rosenmeier I’d expect nothing less.
Listen to our entire interview with Lisa embedded here. Her exhibition “Something to Say” opens Friday, September 20th at Location Gallery at 417 Whitaker Street in Savannah, and continues through October 11th.
Tune in to “Art on the Air” every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. on WRUU 107.5 FM in Savannah, and streaming worldwide at www.wruu.org. Next week’s guests on the show will be Axelle Kieffer and Jordan Mooney.
Art off the Air is a digital-only column that is posted every week on dosavannah.com as a companion piece to the WRUU 107.5 FM show “Art on the Air.”
Rob Hessler is an artist, co-host of the radio show Art on the Air on WRUU 107.5 FM Savannah, and Executive Director of Bigger Pie, a Savannah-based arts advocacy organization.