60: lisa congdon

lisa congdon
illustrator + artist

Lisa Congdon is a San Francisco-based illustrator and fine artist. Raised in both upstate New York and Northern California, she grew to love the trees and animals that surrounded her. That love is now expressed through her colorful paintings, collages and drawings. She is also the author of A Collection a Day, which was spawned from a 2010 creative endeavor. Lisa and her work have been featured in Martha Stewart Living, The New York Times, Dwell, The San Francisco Chronicle and 7×7 Magazine. She lives in the Mission District of San Francisco with her partner, Clay Lauren Walsh, her 10 pound chihuahua, Wilfredo, and her two cats, Barry and Margaret. She works at her light-filled studio several blocks from her home. She’s an avid cyclist, swimmer and vegan. Lisa is represented by Lilla Rogers Studio.

Visit Lisa’s art + illustration website at lisacongdon.com.







on the nightstand:

am loving:

  • Nectarines + berries
  • My new Nikon D5100
  • The smell of my dog’s tummy

how does summer inspire you?

In San Francisco, we have pretty cold weather during the summer (by summer standards). So I am always inspired to travel to warmer places where I can really experience summer for more than a few days at a time. This summer I am traveling to Portland in July and Upstate New York in August. Both places have lovely warm evenings, which is my favorite part of summer.

what’s one item in your summer wardrobe you can’t go without?

I love sun dresses so much. I could live in them! On the days here where it is warm enough to wear one, they are the first thing I grab from my closet.

what’s your idea of the perfect homemade summer meal?

Grilled veggies and a fresh corn & bulgar wheat salad followed by vegan ice cream with berries on top.

what is your summer theme song this year?

Helplessness Blues by the Fleet Foxes (love the whole album but this song really is the best).

what are three constants in your day?

  • A morning kiss and a cup of tea brought to me by my partner Clay
  • Some amount of time spent on my bike (varies from 20 minutes to 5 hours, depending whether I am commuting or road riding)
  • Snuggles with Wilfredo, my chihuahua

tell us about the inspiration behind this work.

These images are just a small portion of my latest body of work, Boreas (named for the god of the north wind and winter), which evolved out of an obsession with the beauty of the Icelandic landscape. This began last year after I watched Heima, a documentary on the Icelandic pop group Sigur Rós. The documentary follows the band as they tour through their own homeland, holding impromptu concerts across their countryside. The film documents the stunning raw beauty of Iceland, its rock formations, mountains and valleys. My interest in countries with proximity to the arctic grew. I began researching, painting and drawing the people, landscapes, animals and folk art of other Nordic countries like Denmark, Norway and Sweden, along with iceberg formations in the Arctic Ocean. For years, I’d been captivated by the more recent mid-century design from Nordic countries which is a heavy influence in my illustration work. I found myself newly immersed in older traditions and cultures, like the Sami, an arctic indigenous people who have inhabited northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia since prehistoric times. My discovery of the Sami led me to the exquisite folk-patterned textile work of the Scandinavian and Eastern European countries, and I began reinterpreting these patterns in much of my paintings and drawings. My works are not intended to be realistic snapshots of any period of time, natural setting or people. Instead, I have drawn from a rich array of Nordic landscapes and cultures to create works that cause the viewer to create their own narrative. All 18 pieces from this body of work will be on view at Gallery Hijinks in San Francisco July 2-30.


14 thoughts on “60: lisa congdon

  1. Lisa’s illustrations are wonderful, and her Collection A Day project was simple and brilliant. Thanks for this little peek inside her world!

  2. What a beautiful woman! Very special, thank you as always. I love discovering new woman who live life to the fullest and create beautiful work.

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