A pair of sliders and an acrylic pedicure isn’t exactly a traditional fine art subject matter. Neither is a couple of urinating, Marlboro-smoking, Nike Air Max-wearing stargazers. Thankfully what is considered “conventional” is irrelevant and totally unimportant to Stockholm-based painter Lisa Vaccino — also known as fredagvaccino.
Working with gouache paints, Lisa has produced a large number of impressive artworks each of which looks at a different aspect of Swedish youth culture. Yet despite her huge output, Lisa only paints part-time. “I’m an art director at an advertising agency. But two years ago I decided to work only four days a week in order to have one day to do what I love the most: paint. I always used to draw a lot but since I finished university, the visual communication program at Beckmans College of Design, I hadn’t touched a pencil. So I that felt it was time to pick it up again,” the artist tells It’s Nice That.
Lisa’s paintings demonstrate expert skill and a close attention to detail as well as the artist’s humorous and playful approach; a personal favourite is a painting of a sandwich board with “party like it’s 19.99” written on it. Trendy, brand-conscious characters — they are all dressed in Armani, Prada or Adidas — are depicted in various seemingly mundane scenarios: washing their clothes, sleeping or… shoplifting. Yet it’s Lisa’s ability to distil their carefree attitudes that brings these paintings to life. “When I paint there is no one else who can make decisions on behalf of me or ask me to change things, a big contrast to my day job,” Lisa says. With her soft colour palettes and atypical perspectives, Lisa’s strength lies in her unapologetic faith in her own judgement.
“My work combines nostalgia with things that I’m interested in today and that, for some reason, is mostly stuff that the majority of people find ugly or cheap. Sometimes I want to draw the typical moped that all the cool guys and girls from my little hometown had when I was young in the 90s. Other times I just get inspired by that tribal tattoo that a friend got on their 18th birthday. I Google a lot of references and spend a lot of time on Instagram, aimlessly looking at thousands of pictures. Every now and then I find a gem that gets me started,” Lisa explains. She goes on to emphasise the central role contrasting visuals play in her work. A boring scenario can be transformed into an arresting piece of work through an unexpected reference. The My Little Pony bedsheets in one of Lisa’s paintings, for example, take on a new significance when paired with a packet of cigarettes.
“In school, I had a teacher that told me to use bigger brushes in order to challenge myself. But I always liked to draw a lot of detail. So I tried to follow their advice but it never worked for me. I like my details. But I don’t want my work to be perfect. That’s the difference between how I used to draw and how I paint today. Perfect is boring.”
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