Lea Basile Lazarus received her BA in Art Education from The College of New Jersey and her MFA, with a concentration in Printmaking, from the School if the Art Institute of Chicago. She has been teaching for 20 years, the last 16 in Winnetka, Illinois. An important part of Lea's professional life has been working with a Chicago public school on a collaborative social justice art project. As recipient of a Teacher Fulbright trip to Japan, she spent three weeks abroad learning about Japan’s culture, art, and education system. And through a non-profit organization called Do Your P’Art, Lea was sent to Africa to visit Ghanaian schools and villages. Lea has recently retired from public school education, but will continue teaching art part time to high school students at Beacon Academy, a private school in Evanston, Il.
Lea offers Contemporary Printmaking classes at Lill Street Art Center in Chicago and at North Shore Art League in Winnetka. She also is a working artist making contemporary prints and paper pulp paintings, exhibiting her work throughout the Chicagoland area.
My world is made up of textures, shapes, and colors. Some shapes are organic, arising from nature, while others might be man-made, with sharp angles, repeated lines, and repeated patterns. Shadows are a bit of both, and they have made their way into my work in many ways. I love watching them interact with their environment. Surrounded by all kinds of structures and materials, like buildings, trees, bridges, concrete, dirt, sand, and grass, they take on the textures within their space.
Photography has always played a major role in my work. My photographs are my sketchbook. Through my camera I document what I see and thus capture expressive moments. Through contemporary printmaking techniques, I combine shapes, colors, and textures, with my shadows to create visual moments. These bits of time can be specifically identified, but it is up to the viewers to interpret them as they wish. My hope is that the viewer connects with the colors that are used, the textures that are explored, and the photographic images that they see. Together these elements create a unified, meaningful composition.
My sculptural books/prints represent a more architectural use of colors, forms, and textures. They are more stationary in time and come from my need to explore and stretch the meaning of the word printmaking. What else can be done with a print? For the paper sculpture I make several double-sided prints, sometimes using my photographic images, along with layers of printed textures and colors. My palette is unique. The process is spontaneous, applying layer over layer, then folding and manipulating the pages capturing smaller images found on each page, while creating a larger cohesive sculpture, while surprising the viewer with details from both sides. In a sense, it is I who am manipulating the “moments in time.”