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Check Out Lisa Segal’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Segal.

Hi Lisa, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.
I’m an artist, a poet, a writer, and a teacher of the creative writing process. I got where I am circuitously. Indirectly. Incidentally. Unexpectedly.  Even, I’d say, accidentally, but, ultimately, because I kept at it. Even when I wasn’t sure what “it” was.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I got a late start, especially in writing. My struggle was that I worked against myself. I feared the inevitable hardships of an artist’s life. At any moment, I was either trying to be an artist or trying not to be an artist. Eventually, I found my way to study with two L.A. instructors—Jack Grapes and his Method Writing and Tom Wudl in his DTLA art studio. Both teach the creative process as a fundamental part of their instruction. When I got creative process-wrangling tools, I stopped fighting myself. I got used to the rhythms of making art. I accepted the hard work. I didn’t let my failures throw me. I didn’t expect to know the end when I started out. I concentrated on making my craft better. I trusted something would show up. I became willing to let something slide out of the box I thought it was in and become something else. I became better at negotiating the continual shift between doing something specific and being open to what was happening. I learned to be okay with not knowing what I was doing. I let myself enjoy figuring it out. I learned I could do so much. I know there will be many failures. I’ve learned to welcome them.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I teach a Method Writing Brush-Up class and co-teach Method Writing classes. I get what it is about the concepts students wrestle with. I remember learning them and I’m good at helping others figure them out. I’m also good at showing a writer how their piece, a “mere” practice piece, thrums with much more than they realized they were putting into it.

My recent artworks are paper sculptures and collages. They tend to include crow imagery and/or a typographical element I created from one of my poems. Crows became part of my art when I photographed, from underneath, a crow poised on the skylight above my writing space. The typographical element was born of a poem I was editing. While editing it, I realized I’d created a square. Squares were what I’d been working with in the studio and, voila! I got language into my artwork, a thing I’d been wanting to do for a long time. The creative process, as it turns out, cares not a whit about arbitrary boundaries between arts. It just is.

What matters most to you? Why?
Collaborating with others engaged in similar pursuits has been very important. In 2014, a group of artists from Tom Wudl’s studio formed the artist collective StudioEleven. I’m a founding member and have been a chairperson. We created a series of shows in our own gallery. In addition to exhibiting on our own at other venues, we exhibit as a group. We hold studio visits and continuing education events. We’re able to engage with each other’s work and processes over time.

The same thing happens in the Los Angeles Poets & Writers Collective. Through it, all who have studied in Jack Grapes’ Method Writing workshops can network, create, and share in projects. I co-edited a collective anthology and I teach through the collective.

Through teaching, and perhaps by example, I want others to know there are ways to ride, engage, and weather the forces that artists deal with and that, with persistence and intention, art comes. It’s important for me to continually experience going into the unknown, to remain curious about what I’m going to do, where I’m going next, and for my explorations to never be over.

Pricing:

  • Metamorphosis: Who is the Maker? An Artist’s Statement (Bombshelter Press, <bombshelterpress.com>) $20.00
  • Kicking Towards the Deep End (Rutilated Monkey Press, <amazon.com>) $14.00
  • Trips: Poetry and Prose from Three Poets (Bombshelter Press, <bombshelterpress.com>) $12.00
  • Jack Grapes’ Method Writing: The Brush-Up (Rutilated Monkey Press/Bombshelter Press, <amazon.com>) $30.00
  • Side-Eye on the Apocalypse: An Anthology of Poetry and Prose from 2020 (Co-editor, Common Forces Press, <amazon.com>)

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

1. Alexis Rhone Fancher 3. Alexis Rhone Fancher 5. Monica Leal Cueva 6. Monica Leal Cueva

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