An interview with Californian artist Tricia Rissmann
Tricia Rissmann divides her time between the California Sierra foothills and San Francisco Bay area and began painting as a natural extension of her career as a designer. She loved art from early childhood and is drawn to balance, color, and especially texture. Her love of mixed media is innate and deeply connected to her love of music.
She explores the emotive properties of color intimately in her contemporary abstract and mixed-media paintings—intuitive expressions inspired by both dream and waking environments. Mojo Junction was lucky to connect with Tricia this month to learn more about her creative process.
1. What inspires you to put brush to canvas?
I simply must paint. What inspires me to paint are my writings, music and life! I want to keep pushing the boundaries to find out what is there, and in there. I am inspired that through what I do, I may enable another person to open their mind. To remove the blinders and reach their possibilities, to grow as an artist, and eventually produce work that moves myself and others. In the end I believe in staying true to what inspires me and allowing myself to open my soul and dive into my canvas.
2. Is your painting an extension of other creative practices in your life?
I started as a make up artist in my teens for TV and film. I have always been drawn to design, color and texture my whole life. At the age of 25 I started to buy homes, and remodeled them. Shortly after that I was hired as an interior designer and had several projects every year. Painting was always in my life, however painting was something I did on the side, until the last 17 years.
3. Tell us about your involvement with music.
I have always been a huge music lover and have been around the music scene since I was a young child. I was one of those kids that would take my portable 45 player and hide out in our yard and play music all day long. My grandmother was the landlord to Grace Slick and her band ‘Jefferson Airplane’ in her very cool apartment building in the Haight-Ashbury. The night of my high school senior prom I ended up at ‘Record Plant’, a famous recording studio with my boyfriend, who was recording on several albums. That night turned into three days. It was amazing to see the process first hand and to be around that creative energy. When I was 23 I started a house concert series called Acoustic Lounge. Now I own an outdoor amphitheater called ‘Viva La Vida’. We bring together musicians from all over the world every year. I could go on and on; music has always been a very important part of my life.
4. Is your art influenced by the place you live?
The Bay Area is an amazing place to live for music and art. Oakland is exploding with art and ingenuity. It inspires me to be a part of the vibe here.
5. Is California exploding with experimental creativity?
Because Oakland is more affordable than San Francisco, artists are moving here, to have the freedom to create, to take advantage of the warehouses with natural light and boom cranes, and to feel part of a community. Oakland is supportive of the artist community and has a diverse group of folks talking to each other about art and music.
6. Tell me about your favorite artwork (preferably one you have sent me!)?
‘Bridge’ (slide 1) is my favorite piece of artwork, it is also inside the Rosie Burgess CD ‘Leap’. That piece is about bridges, getting over to the other side, taking the leap. Can you see the guitar in the painting?
7. What’s next with your creative practice and/or lifestyle ?
I have been super busy with my gallery shows and music projects. I will do this for the rest of my life. Music and art provide the perfect balance for me—they go hand and hand.
Interview by Aurora Jane
All images copyright Tricia Rissmann