Risa is, aside from being a creator of all kinds of amazing paper art, is also the Chief Creative Officer for a website called uniimi, still in it's beta phase, a place for people to find artists to create custom work for them. In addition to her love of art, she also enjoys music, food and nature near Portland, Oregon with her husband and two children.
|Set of 12 Pinwheel Cupcake Toppers|
Tell us three other things about yourself.
I am a forensic science dork and am also very passionate about the current state of our criminal justice system.
I am proud to be Latin American. I was born in this country but my parents immigrated here from Venezuela and Cuba. I love my Latin heritage.
Besides art, I also have a little bit of the acting bug and when I can I like to do background acting work.
What’s your medium and how did you get into it?
I work in several mediums and artforms. For drawing, I love colored pencil the most. I discovered this medium when I was 12 and was introduced to it by my art teacher. I found I instantly had a knack for it and in fact use that same set of colored pencils she helped me to purchase.
I also do a lot of work in paper. I like to treat the paper not just as a surface to put art on, but as a medium itself. This started when I was working on my personal wedding album. I liked a lot of the paper I was finding in the scrapbook stores, but wasn't really happy with the embellishments they had to offer. Our wedding was rock 'n' roll themed, but classy, and nothing I found really fit that. So I ended up creating my own stuff and then things took off from there. I've expanded beyond just paper embellishments to art made from paper.
I also do graphic design and paper sculpted flowers. These both branched off from my experience in other art forms.
|Pink Paper Lotus Flower Hair Clip|
So many mediums, so much art. What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?
So hard to pick a favorite since usually the thing I'm working on at the moment is my current favorite. But probably the piece I'm most proud of is a drawing I did of Adam Ant.
With such a variety of ways to create, where do you take your inspiration from?
Most of my inspiration comes from everyday life. I will take something I see or even something one of my kids say and then that will spark an idea.
I am also a lover of pop culture and like to make artistic homages to the things I love.
Name one piece of art you wish you’d created and why?
My "to do list" is a mile long! I so very busy creating custom stuff that other people want that the list of things I want to make for my own enjoyment is a little neglected.
That's a shame. I love doing original work. What are you doing when you’re not crafting?
My family and I are usually out on a hike, at a rock concert, or finding new places to go out to eat.
|Conan O'Brien Hair on a Stick|
If you had to give up your medium and pursue another, what would it be and why?
They would need to pry my medium out of my cold dead hands!!! But one thing I wish I knew how to do is sew. I can sort of sew simple things, like a pillow, or hem a pair of pants. But that there are people out there who can take fabric and make beautiful clothes sort of astounds me.
I also wish I had musical talent. But alas, I was meant to enjoy music not perform it.
Same here. I cannot play an instrument, nor sing and never will be able to. But maybe you can tell us about a time you were making something that came out better than expected and how it happened.
I had a bride who wanted some paper flowers to wear in her hair for a wedding. I had never tried that before, but I knew I had the skills to pull it off. But when I did a prototype out of plain colored paper, there was something missing. I decided that the color was TOO perfect and that natural flowers have some variation. So I did a little experimenting and ended up hand painting each petal. The end effect was something that I thought was very cool. They turned out with the right balance of looking both natural and sculptural.
Who is one person living or dead, famous or not, who you wish owned one of your creations and why?
I think it would be super-awesome if something I made were to end up in Conan O'Brien's living room.
How would you explain how to do what you do to an eight year old?
I used to teach my kids' art appreciation classes in school so I actually HAVE had to explain what I do to 8 year olds. Basically, I make pretty things out of paper and draw cool stuff on the computer.
|Corseted Notepad in Cherry Polka Dots|
What’s your favorite part of the process?
I love starting with a vision in my head and then when I'm finished seeing the completed item match what was in my mind's eye.
One random thing you think people should know.
Sweetened condensed milk is the tastiest substance on the planet.
It's also amazing in iced coffee. How and where can everyone find you on the Internet?