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Interview | Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern

What risks are you taking as an artist? What brought you to the path you are on?

For me, the question of risk ties directly into the trajectory of the work. For the last few years, I have been trying to push the figure paintings farther and farther to a greater sense of realism. Engagement with portraits developed after my formal fine art studies, which were primarily focused on still life. Challenging myself to render more intricate textures, surfaces, and subjects is helping me to become a better painter. However, part of the challenge is also to maintain a painterly quality within a realistic technique. This portrait of Larry Aarons is more detailed than any of the ones before it, and I am pleased with what I see.

Where do you think this portrait is going to end up?

Unless it is purchased by a collector, this portrait will most likely end up in Larry’s house or studio. Recently acquainted through the Chevere group, I feel I have really gotten to know Larry through creating his portrait. He has the kindest eyes, and I am interested in finding out how he got that scar on his chin.

How much of your work is dedicated to portraiture?

Portraiture, whether it is a face, hands, or body is almost always present in the work.

Are you satisfied with your career in the arts?

I seriously began painting in oils in 2006, when I was in my late forties, and so I think I’ve come pretty far since then. But I have a lot farther to go to realize my goals and ambitions. Seeing the amazing works by my peers in the “Formation” exhibition at Bernaducci Meisel in New York last month was an inspiring experience.
Portrait of Larry Aarons | oil on canvas | 20x24 | 2017

Portrait of Larry Aarons | oil on canvas | 20x24 | 2017

Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern received her BFA in surface design at Parsons School of Design, and her MFA in painting from New Jersey City University. Prior to her graduate education, she served as an executive designer for the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation. Her work has been exhibited in numerous one artist exhibitions and group juried shows in New York, New Jersey, and Chicago, Illinois.  Her work has been featured in Poets and Artists, FreshPaint and Studio Visit Magazines. She has won numerous awards, including an ESKFF/Mana Fine Arts Residency and a Geraldine Dodge Fellowship. She is an adjunct professor of painting and drawing at Seton Hall University and Brookdale Community College.