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Tim Fulton 00:11
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the confluence cast presented by Columbus underground. We are a weekly Columbus centric podcast focusing on the civics, lifestyle, entertainment, and people of our city. I’m your host, Tim Fulton. This week, a conversation about the power of art and artists to change perceptions. I spoke with multidisciplinary artists graphic designer and social justice advocate, Lisa McClymont. To discuss her background work her path as an artist, how she chooses her work so that it remains aligned with herself to find purpose, and her work on the Columbus art commission. Also, this episode starts with a mini episode, if you will, the first in a series of bite sized conversations with the staffers at Columbus underground, about timely issues that may not warrant a whole show. Today we’re talking about the bike lane discussions that are taking place in Clintonville. And around the city with Columbus underground owner Walker Evans. You can get more information on what we discussed today in the show notes for this episode at the confluence cast calm. Also, the confluence cast is on Patreon. Find out how to support this podcast on our website the confluence cast calm or at patreon.com/confluence. The confluence cast is sponsored this week by art makes Columbus Columbus makes art featuring stories about our city’s incredible artists. Stories full of inspiration, challenge, passion and success. For videos articles, on up to the minute calendar of events and an artist directory visit Columbus makes art.com the resource for all things arts and culture in the capital city. Enjoy the episode. City sitting down here virtually with the proprietor of Columbus underground. Mr. Walker Evans Walker, how are you sir?
Walker Evans 02:14
I’m pretty good. How you doing?
Tim Fulton 02:15
Tim? I’m pretty good. You know, at some point, I just thought of this. And I don’t know why I never did. We should just do an episode on you. And Columbus underground and like the background and how it started and all that stuff. But that’s not what we’re talking about. Do people do people want to hear that? They do. They like to know how the sausage is made? Yeah.
Walker Evans 02:37
Funnily enough, since you mentioned that, and I collaboratively did a podcast interview. Probably three or four years ago, I’d have to live everything feels like it was a million years ago at this point. But three or four years ago with Rita Volpi. Who is the wife of Eric brim Beck? Who is you know, they both own studio 35. And
Tim Fulton 03:01
oh, oh, you’re giving a little preview at all.
Walker Evans 03:05
Next two degrees of separation in Columbus. Everyone’s good, everyone.
Tim Fulton 03:10
Absolutely. Absolutely. We’re talking about bike lanes. Yep. Today, inspired by at first I believe was a little Facebook uprising.
Walker Evans 03:23
Yeah, I mean, the specific bike lane that you’re referring to the one that well, the one that I was referring to, as well, in front of you at 35 is a part of a larger, like, road reworking plan for Indianola. Just to make it a better route to travel, people drive, you know, very fast on it, you know, nothing’s really been done with the street for a long time. And so this goes back to like, meetings in 2015 when they’re talking about road diets, bike lanes, all this sort of stuff. But yeah, there was a bit of a kerfuffle. I think, in real life and on social media, where people you know, and now that it’s close to happening, they’re starting to be a little bit of an uproar.
Tim Fulton 04:00
So Eric, the owner of studio 35, put up a post. Yeah. Yeah. Kind of not being in favor of this bike lane or this reworking because it takes away parking spaces.
Walker Evans 04:14
Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, and there’s a lot of little, you know, nuanced details to how both, you know, kind of sides I’m using, quote, finger sides are kind of take taking on the issue. But the, the plan was to remove parking on one side of the street, the east side, so opposite of studio 35 and the other row of businesses while preserving the parking on their side of the street to allow enough room for the installation of bike lanes, you know, going north and south on Indianola. So Eric was kind of the the most vocal, but some of the other businesses they’re kind of all set together. Like we don’t want to lose this parking people are gonna have to park in the neighborhoods, it’s going to be an issue for the neighbors. And I think, you know, they have a point, you know, to be made. I think also, you know, A lot of small businesses, especially movie theaters, small movie theaters are coming out of two years of hardship. Right pandemic, you know, they their business has been hit very, very hard. And so to just say, hey, half your parking is gonna be gone. Deal with it.
Tim Fulton 05:16
It’s another thing that there
Walker Evans 05:18
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, you know, if this were something happening five years ago, maybe the concern wouldn’t be as much, you know, but when everybody’s, you know, just just going through a really hard time, you don’t you don’t want one more problem on top of existing problems. And I think that’s probably added to the fuel to the fire.
Tim Fulton 05:37
And I think it’s easy for folks to have a reaction to something like that. That is, what who could possibly be against bike lanes?
Walker Evans 05:48
Right, right. Right. And I think Eric even said, you know, in some of his arguments, like I’m not against the bike lane, we just need to figure out some way, you know, whether it’s like shared road access through there, he basically just doesn’t want the parking to go away. But he’s, he’s a pro bike lane guy. I think just the way it’s going to impact his businesses is kind of a, an issue. But you know, and the, you know, the other side, the sort of the transit advocates that are kind of fighting for it, and the neighbors that want it to, you know, kind of say, like, well, you know, they point to studies that have been done in other cities that show that bike lanes can actually have an increase in business. You know, it feels weird to also have this discussion in the middle of winter. So, you know, it’s like, Let’s build a bike lane. It’s like, well, it’s like 10 degrees outside. But you know, it’s one of those things that like, you can’t prove the demand for it until it exists. You can wait the road say, Well, no one’s riding their bikes right now. So why we build a bike lane? It’s like, well, they’re not riding bikes, because there’s no safe way. People driving 45 miles an hour on Indianola. Yeah, no one’s gonna ride bikes on that. So
Tim Fulton 06:54
I mean, as a kid who grew up on Indianola, there’s no biking in the street. It’s not right.
Walker Evans 07:01
And there’s only a stoplight like every mile, and a stretch of Indianola too, you know, so cars are just, it’s it’s a freeway, it’s a highway in the middle of a neighborhood. This is really just like the latest, you know, and so this isn’t a uniquely Columbus issue. Other cities are going through these kinds of things. This isn’t the first bike lane, you know, uproar in Columbus. It’s not, it’s also not the only one going on right now. But it’s getting the most attention. There’s a bike lane proposal in Bexley. So not in Columbus, but in Bexley on Drexel Avenue, I believe, like connecting between broad and main, not as many businesses impacted, but the residents there that the churches, the schools that are along that street, are all very upset, because they would lose parking, a lot of parking on both sides of the street. But again, you know, and I think vexes mayor has come out and said, you know, we can’t just continue to drive like we have to make changes, and there’s going to be some pain points, you know, it’s going to take a little getting used to, maybe you do have to park another 100 feet away and walk. We you know, we just can’t, you know, be a car centric city. You know, if you took a survey of the general public and said, Should Columbus be less car centric? Should we have better transportation options? Everyone would say yes, almost everyone would say yes. And then it comes to like, do you want this bike lane in front of your house or business or whatever? They’re like, No, I don’t want right here.
Tim Fulton 08:24
It feels like nimbyism, right. It’s like, should we have affordable housing? Of course we should. Should it be next door to your house? That would hurt my home value? No. Right. Right. Right. Right.
Walker Evans 08:35
So yeah, it’s, it’s it’s a tough situation. I mean, I can I can definitely see it from both sides. I think the big issue too, is that, you know, if this were a bike lane in front of, you know, a big box store, they probably you know, that there would be less sympathy, I think, for the business, if they said, Oh, we’re gonna lose 10% of our business at Walmart. Most people say, Who cares? You guys make billions and billions of dollars. So I think it’s tough when it’s, you know, small businesses impacted by this because studio 35 is a jam. You know, it’s, it’s been a theater, I think, for almost 100 years. Right? You know, it’s, no one wants to see it. Shut down. So there has to be some sort of maybe plan or consideration to like, maybe help them get through that pain point. You know, those businesses there, and I don’t know what that looks like, but, you know, helping them go from point A to point B. Transport transportation on there. I guess.
Tim Fulton 09:34
We’ve got to find the route to make this work.
Walker Evans 09:37
That’s right, right. Get everyone on board.
Tim Fulton 09:41
Exactly. There are all so many transportation buttons.
Walker Evans 09:44
That’s that’s a bus pot, not a bike pun. Let’s get let’s get rolling on this.
Tim Fulton 09:51
And this is exactly the kind of issue to discuss in this forum. Because yeah, it’s you know it there are multiple sides to it. And either Syed could have some some aggression towards the other.
Walker Evans 10:05
Yeah, yeah. I mean, people are pretty heated about this, you know, which sounds silly because it’s just it’s a bike lane, you know. But yeah, I think it’s nice just to have like a conversation about kind of what’s going on, you know, don’t need to devote entire podcast episode to this, but nice little little bite size conversation.
Tim Fulton 10:24
So there you go. That’s what’s going on with the bike lane issue. Yeah, on, you know, in Clintonville.
Walker Evans 10:30
Yeah, we’ve been covering it on Columbus underground. I’m sure there’ll be more updates too. So you know, check out the website for some some written pieces in the future.
Tim Fulton 10:37
Absolutely. Thanks, Walker. Yeah, thanks for sitting down here virtually, with Columbus based artist Lisa McClymont. Lisa, how are you?
Lisa Mclymont 10:50
I’m wonderful. Thank you. Thanks for inviting.
Tim Fulton 10:54
Absolutely. So first of all, tell us your your sort of background and the work that you do.
Lisa Mclymont 11:00
Well, I am, in summary, a self taught artist who was a graphic designer, who worked as a graphic designer, mostly independent for about 25 years, and uses some of my design skills to inform my artworks visual works.
Tim Fulton 11:21
And was this commercial graphic design that you were doing
Lisa Mclymont 11:23
all sorts? Yeah. Okay, micro from supporting other artists to micro to corporate level, doing full branding, brand guidelines, environmental signage, I really covered the full full range ever somebody needed it, and someone needed something done for their brand. They could call on me and I would figure out a way to do it.
Tim Fulton 11:45
Gotcha. And what’s your your personal background? Where do you come from?
Lisa Mclymont 11:49
I was born in New York to two immigrant parents. So I am a child of immigrants. When sister were born in New York, and parents got divorced when we were six, and we came here because a lot of my father’s family was here. And he moved back to New York. Years later, but after college, my sister and I both stayed. So my sister lives in Sunbury, and I’ve been I cut my teeth here. I came out here, I’ve been my artist self, my designer, selfish and everything here in Columbus. So I don’t know where I’ll go to Columbia City Schools, then. Yes, independence.
Tim Fulton 12:27
Nice. Okay. So that neighborhood then, too?
Lisa Mclymont 12:31
Well, I moved around a lot. Not I was not an army brat, it was just we moved around a lot. So in high school, that was the first time in my whole history that we’d saved anywhere for a full time before that. So all four years at that high school. But before that, I was never more than a year or two years in any school between you work and in here, which was kind of amazing.
Tim Fulton 12:52
Gotcha. Were you doing visual art sort of on the side during the that career, or this is a life transition?
Lisa Mclymont 13:00
Oh, I was in the class of kids that were taught, you know, to do one thing and learn to do it well, and I got burnout. Trying to do that. Well. So okay, I reached for art as my therapy and was able to make a bridge for myself and just saying yes to lots of different things to try them. And it’s really unlocked a whole new way of working for myself. And how long has that been? Since 2009? So, okay, yeah, got it crazy. I say a lot that I broke my life to get here. So a lot of what I’m doing, I would not be doing if I hadn’t have gone through what I went through, in Okay.
Tim Fulton 13:41
So can you talk through that a little bit,
Lisa Mclymont 13:44
I was having a lot of trouble getting purchase. I think a lot of it too, was being a black gay woman in a very white very male industry, like design Columbus is, there’s not a lot of me in there, okay. Or people like me. So trying to get a hold of bigger jobs just became harder and harder to do. And I got more and more depressed. And you know, I was wearing it. So I got to the point where I let go of a lot of clients and lost a lot of money and spent the last of what I had as a 401k. I was actually living off of that for like two or three years, like trying lots of very emotional stuff. And the Reach for art. I know that I have friends that say art saves lives, and I definitely am one of those types of people. I’ve grown up in the power of art to shift perceptions to help people make change. So what I do with my art is I make something and I envision myself giving it away. Because that was key for me too. I think before 2009 I was making things but then holding them and not sharing them with anybody in the world. So in 2004 Are you? Yeah, well, yeah, I, you know, the hope to sell it. I called myself an artist, but I really wasn’t activating that part of myself. Okay. Also say in 2009, I had been on social media for maybe a year, I have to credit sharing on social media as part of my letting go process and part of letting people into what I was doing to build on. And I think that is part of how I gained support to become more of myself. So it’s been an amazing journey since then.
Tim Fulton 15:34
And so talk about your work, what do you you’re, at least according to your website, primarily focused on portraiture and murals?
Lisa Mclymont 15:43
Yes. Yeah, that is the majority of my work right now. Before when, when I was breaking into things, I was definitely one of the I’m scared to do faces and hands type of artists. So okay, it made lots of color field, ethereal things, abstract landscapes. I had a stint of doing jewelry, and I was starting to go somewhere with it. But it was very physical work. So yeah, I still love copper curious, but I, I’m not hammering metal like that anymore. So I pretty much stopped doing that. And then that same year, I reached for the portraits, and I assigned myself my first body of work. So I was like, Lisa, you’re gonna explore different people of color. And you’re going to explore hands and expressions. And I chose to look at the chakras too. So I was, you know, really New Age interests. And that was a good way to use color to establish a body of work. So I went through the chakras. And I thought about what color and meaning means, and what that might look like, as far as an emotion and I just kind of put all that together into this body of 15 works, and was able to launch from that I think that is squarely the universe tribe is squarely the body of work that helped me become me today, like, and I chose to do that I made that path for myself. And I think that’s a very powerful thing to be able to tell somebody.
Tim Fulton 17:09
And so was that meant to be a challenge yourself? Yeah, like, okay, it
Lisa Mclymont 17:13
was, it was finally the like, you’re gonna learn how to do expressions, you’re going to learn how to work with hands, you’re going to learn to do do all these things, and, you know, quit being scared of it. And just because I at that point, you know, Trivanti had been killed. And like, all these things were happening politically. And I felt like, putting paragraph in titles of my artwork, my abstract artworks wasn’t really it anymore. So really had to figure out like, how to shift what I was doing visually, to get at what I really wanted to start talking about, or help people shift into talking about.
Tim Fulton 17:48
I didn’t know before this conversation, you and I know each other personally, to an extent. I didn’t know that you were not a trained artists.
Lisa Mclymont 17:55
Yeah. Most people think I went to CCD, and I got a free ride to OSU. And I was I went to design because, right, you know, back in the day for me, you couldn’t just be an artist, like, how are you going to make any money how you can live? So I became a designer, and I learned how to be an entrepreneur, thanks to being here in Columbus, you know, yeah, Norris. And I still utilize a lot of that I’m just not trying so hard to be just a graphic designer, I’m not I’m more of a multi hyphenate type of person.
Tim Fulton 18:25
Well, what’s interesting to me is that you do a good job of sort of presenting your work in both a commercial collector space, but also in my head in a contemporary art space, in that you can talk about your work.
Lisa Mclymont 18:43
Wow, that I’ve been working hard to like, figure out the storytelling part of my work and talk about my work as well. That is, it’s a constant journey.
Tim Fulton 18:52
It’s a lot of what at least my perception, having worked in contemporary art before, certainly not as an artist, but as a marketer, knowing that a whole bunch of it is just how does this fit within the zeitgeist? How does this fit within the contemporary art space? Yeah. And that’s what plants your flag? Yeah. Yep. Where do you think you got that from?
Lisa Mclymont 19:18
Well, I like to think I do say I’m curious and empathetic. Mm hmm. Problem Solver. And, you know, my design knowledge or my design training has given me access to ways to utilize collecting info and then reformatting it to something that others can use. So I’m definitely using my designer self as I approach making art, and I feel like that is where I’m coming from when I do talk about the art because you know, there are a lot of art business people that don’t want the touchy feely stuff like I did this piece because my heart broken bla bla bla, that doesn’t, that doesn’t mean as much to someone that’s like this is getting at police brutality. Right? You know, it’s another emotional way to look at a thing and talk about a thing. And it’s less, it’s also a little less personal. So I’m also I’m in a time now where I’m trying to step away and step into the statement of the work, as opposed to me making a statement about my emotional state, that
Tim Fulton 20:23
I’m sorry, what’s the name of the group of the 15 portraits,
Lisa Mclymont 20:26
universe time. So the universe, woman strong is where I started. And it was tribes still has a presence in my work, my portrait work, but it’s more of the mythological people that the spirits that kind of talk to parts of living, or what you know, hope or empathy or love, like those things. But then there’s a part of my portraiture that I call the ODEs, where I’m looking at living and past heroes of mine and the worlds to showcase and bring light to like, Audrey Lorde was a big one for me. Octavia Butler, who has now getting lots of credit in the world. didn’t have that when I first found her and I read all her books, and I just love what she was about the sociology how she wrote, from a black woman’s perspective, how she wrote into the future, the the way we could live more positively it was she was, she was writing another way to look at me being a Trekkie, because that’s what I love about Star Trek, the next generation is how they put a spin on like how we could be as humans, that was just dystopia.
Tim Fulton 21:45
Right, maybe it could be a good outlook.
Lisa Mclymont 21:49
Well, you know, it’s good, there’s good and bad, you know, there’s still strife, we’re gonna always have that. But how do you deal with it? How do you reframe it, so it’s useful for you? Sci Fi helped that for me, Octavia, in Star Trek, all of that really helped me expand what I wanted to be in the world or how I wanted to look at the world. How I want the world to look at me.
Tim Fulton 22:11
Yeah. So when you set out for this project, did you define it all from the from the outset of like, I’m going to do 15 of these.
Lisa Mclymont 22:21
I did, because I like multiples of three, I work in multiples of three, it’s a weird thing that I’ve got, sometimes some fall by the wayside. I think I originally went for 24 or 18, or something like that. And I had sketches for and they just kind of like man, I’m not going to go for that actually did it was 18. And there are three that I can think of one I sanded down, I just used the board for something else. But they don’t all survive, you know, like I try for some things and then bring them all along. And not all of them make it to that end, I might put that idea away, and then revisit it later when I go for my next body of work or the next chapter in that series.
Tim Fulton 22:58
And so were you able to be purposeful from the outset? And say, I’m always super interested in like the how do you work? Yeah, it’s from the outset, were you able to set a timeline? Were you a, like, Did you map out like, here’s what these 18 are gonna be?
Lisa Mclymont 23:16
I mapped them out, okay, I’m like I have, you know, a little matrix of like, here’s some colors I want to work with. These are my, my go twos. I know I want to work on wood, because at that point, I decided I didn’t really like working on Canvas, I knew I needed a body of work. So I needed more than like six to nine pieces to make it solid. And I set the intention of the healing the healing of myself, as well as putting out that to the world in the hopes that I could shift somebody else’s perception of themselves and of black people. Because really, it comes down to expanding the monolith of black people. Like I think there’s a lot of people that still think black people, and they’re this you know, at that point that was 2015 is when I started the universe tribe series. So you know, five years, five to six years into my self taught self, it was time to really get into this, the meat of it. And that’s how I chose to do that.
Tim Fulton 24:16
And so did you know, at that point,
Lisa Mclymont 24:20
I had no timeline either. I was just I have a time for thing and then I work in spurts. So I’ll just, you know, carve out some time for my schedule. And at that point, you know, I was doing some freelance. I didn’t I wasn’t working full time. So I was just like, going with the flow as much as possible. So everyone when I had that I had like some mental time I was trying to get into this thing. But I could sit and work for like six to 12 hours and just have snacks and just work work, work, work work and get a whole lot done. And I still do that but I don’t push myself as hard like I get sleep now.
Tim Fulton 24:56
Yeah, that’s that’s good. And so was there a goal from the so you have the goal for the completion? Yeah, was there a goal of I want to create a body of work that can go into a gallery,
Lisa Mclymont 25:10
my first my first jump was, I would like to create a body of work. So when I kept doing my own portfolio website, I didn’t feel like I had enough to hang anything on. So I had like pieces and parts of things like this was a good piece that was a good piece, but nothing felt cohesive, the colors were looking kind of cohesive, like, I’d locked in early on what kind of colors I want to use. And ultimately, it’s, you know, the queer me, I use a lot of the rainbow, like, I’ll use this spectrum of color, but I have meanings on why I use different colors. And I might mix up how they are. So they’re not showing in rainbow form. But color is mood color is education. And color helps create the story for me. So I was achieving all of that without first body work. And then I was able to put a big chunk of, you know, make a page, that’s the universe tribe, I had a title of this body work. And I called it ongoing, because I’m like, I don’t know if I’ll hit this again. So I’m when I can always add to it.
Tim Fulton 26:10
Yeah, add another three.
Lisa Mclymont 26:13
Right. And yeah, and it goes on, but the start of that was, you know, you know, how a lot of hope on it and hope that it got some attention, I hope that I did all these things. And I showed it, you know, in a couple places and really take a hold because at that point, I was still getting requests for the jewelry and doing tables, and it wasn’t giving me the income that I was looking for doing a table at a market and then walking away with like 1000, if you’re lucky, usually 250 That covers the cost of buying that tablespace was it wasn’t enough anymore, it’s like I really need to lock into something that I can call myself an artist, a working artist, no artist that hopes to make a living on it, you know. So I think I hit that, like, in 2017, I was able, I was invited to a show at faculty club. And that’s where Rebecca Bible came to my show. And she was key in getting me into the Art for Life, which is a big auction, the oldest running the longest running auction for art that supports the LGBTQ community, specifically, the HIV AIDS community. And then from there, it’s just been building on a thing, you know, but the getting started is really worth recognizing and thinking about a lot. So I appreciate this now.
Tim Fulton 27:36
And so she Are you represented? Yes, yeah. Okay, represents me talk a little bit. For those that aren’t familiar just about how that works. I think everybody’s, or most people are familiar with, here’s how an agent represents an actor, they get their auditions, and they help negotiate the contract. Work with visual art.
Lisa Mclymont 28:00
Well, I’m still I was completely unfamiliar with that. So I’m still navigating that world of representation, I do know that it’s jumped my pricing quite a bit. And it you know, it, you know, took me out of a market that I was used to, so I’m still navigating that. But for working with her, I also have access to other artists to talk about process, chances to show out of Columbus, negotiating with someone on like, where to go from here, which is kind of exciting. I’ve had some really great conversations with her about what I’d like. And then she recommends, you know, who I should look at, and not necessarily process wise what to look at, but more people to meet and where I could show up next to show my art. So roughly learning as I go with
Tim Fulton 28:51
that, yeah. How do you think about your art now? Is it that like, Okay, this is my job? Are you at a point where, and maybe this is not a point that people have to get to where you’re like, Okay, I’ve got to create the this many works, or this scale of works over this predetermined amount of time? Ooh,
Lisa Mclymont 29:15
that is a deep question. Mostly because I have interests and I work in multiple areas. So for the fine art aspect, I definitely want to create another chunk of work to have Rebecca be able to sell but also because of the protests had started doing murals and doing talks with you know, groups about Black Lives mattering and that kind of thing. So there is also the maintaining a presence within social justice sphere as an artist, so making my work speak up for not just me, you know, my community, my gay community, my black community, my women community. I think a lot about all of that, and what that means as I embark on any piece. So if I can have a mural, showcase a hero, and be put in an area where it educates people, that hits a lot of buttons and makes it more likely that I’ll want to participate in creating that mural, because I’ve been invited to do murals that are just, they want my body in the presence painting live. And while that can be cool, that’s not really what I need to be about. So I have to keep focused on you know, the core thing. And maybe I have to say no to that. So I can sit in studio and start on my body work or keep working on a body of work.
Tim Fulton 30:49
And so is there just back to the representation part of it? Is there a? Like, does she have an expectation of you of you’re going to generate this amount of work ahead of this show? Like, is that how that timeline works?
Lisa Mclymont 31:07
I think in the end, that’s where we’re going. I think she called me so early, that I am still trying to figure that out, I think I would like to get to the point where every year, she gets three to six works that are different sizes, hopefully larger, like I’m pushing myself to work larger. And that’s been hard for me. But that is something I’m working on to populate that work. I don’t have a number of other work I do. Because you know, I’ll still do some design work. I’m really just hustling to make sure I keep my financial bases covered, you know, like, yeah, at the end of the day, I have to make sure I have enough money for my health care and all that stuff. So I’ve been taking on these works, and then trying to hold on to like the the desire to keep my art up here. Right present, you know, so I’m feeling the stress of that it’s the new year and it’s not technically not the New Year anymore. It’s we’re in March now. I need anything. So
Tim Fulton 32:08
all of q1 is we get all our work done in q2 and q3.
Lisa Mclymont 32:16
Exactly. Holidays starts then. But spring is usually the downtime, but I have that burning, like Oh, I gotta do some things. So the second I start, you know, getting the first piece, the first portrait, like last touches on it, I’m gonna feel really good. But until then I’m still in like, marinating mode and production mode.
Tim Fulton 32:36
Some people call it seasonal affective disorder. But yeah,
Lisa Mclymont 32:40
there is a lot. There is a lot of that going on, for sure. I’m in Ohio. That’s what we do.
Tim Fulton 32:47
Can you talk a little bit more about your mural work, what that was inspired by and what the what the actual, because you do some commercial and some art?
Lisa Mclymont 32:56
Yep, it is a mix. And I, I really got started because I was working at Kappa, I’m not there anymore. But at the time that the pandemic hit, I was still I was only we left. Let’s see, I started in November. And we left like the year before. So about four months, I was on the job and the pandemic hit and everybody was remote. So I was lucky to have the job for that time. But by my I may hit there was so much unrest, you know, between the police and what was happening nationwide. Crying on the couch again, like sitting there like oh my god is this my life now, I was actually in this space in the seat that I’m sitting in right now. But I got the call after the big protest broke out and the windows of the high theater are broken and they had been wood up. Kappa reached out and asked if I would be interested because I knew I was an artist too, if I’d be interested in painting a mural, and I said, I would definitely be interested. But at that point, I had never done murals, let alone really any live painting. Because I just felt it felt like really performative. And I’m not a performer in that sense, and like all that stuff. So I reached out to Adam who brought in general Blusky and Jen’s partner Andy and before of us came together and created that mural. And that was really the thing that hinged on all of a sudden, all these murals popped up downtown and forth. And so it’s kind of really great to be a part of that history. But the bottom line is we were all there as artists to speak up for the rights of other human beings and not just to put you know, nice art out there so
Tim Fulton 34:42
that berlet you are referencing right
Lisa Mclymont 34:45
Oh yes, I said yes, I’m sorry. I thought it says Oh, it’s okay I have blocked for it who all three of them are blocked port family because I had you there but right at pandemic, me and my partner cat share it in, moved out of water for it, so we wouldn’t have to pay as much rent because we’re both working full time. And, you know, Blackboard needs a presence of artists that work there during the day and whatnot. So anyway, we had moved out, that was one of the projects we got to work on, and we got to see each other and be together for a little bit. And it was really encouraging being downtown. You know, there’s swirls of people circling the Statehouse they walk the block, and every few minutes, I’d see them again while we’re painting, and we cheer them on and they cheer us on. And in that sense, it was a really great experience. And then nighttime hit and it was like, free for all again, while I went. So I didn’t find myself downtown. I’m, I’m old, I didn’t want to do that. So I found a different way to support and a different way to raise protest. And I just stuck with that. And from there it started, I started getting calls for for work on my own. So my initial first mural was at Veritas, quote on Gwendolyn Brooks, so I look back to when I was born, late 60s, and I, you know, all the people that left us really great information that we could use today, I wrote it back in the 60s. So I, you know, took quotes that basically said, black lives matter without saying that because that that point, it was really becoming just a catchphrase instead of what it was meant to be, which is, you know, the true statement. Right. So it was very politicized. So I found ways to keep that conversation going by looking at it from different facets. And I think that is the core of all of my work at this point, I still do that. I think me as a black gay woman, coming to the table, being invited to a table, to speak on it, or talk to a group that is probably mostly white, or at least show the community that we are trying to work together to push for some change. makes everybody feel good. Number one, hopefully, I push enough buttons that, you know, they think about something and make a change. And it’s not just decorative. But you know, artists art and at the end of the day can end up being just decorative. You know, there’s I’m always very watchful of like, where that energy goes, and how to police it, you know, full time job on the job. It is a job. It’s a physical job. But it’s still love the idea of painting letters. I’ve gotten a little more painterly, in my approach, like my mural that I did at the end of 2020 2020 was rambling house, and then I got to finish it last year, early last year. And I was
Tim Fulton 37:54
gonna say that was last year because I drove by and I
Lisa Mclymont 37:57
started it and then went ahead, so it was like right before winter hit. And then I did a first phase just to get it up there and get people excited. And then I went back and got to put all the instruments in and actually finish it. Got it. And then right after that I did I got to do Spock on in Clintonville. So if you see live long and prosper across from Lucky’s market right next door to Giant Eagle, that was me and I got to do my trek yourself. So spots head and hand are five feet tall. So weird.
Tim Fulton 38:28
So with that, I’m sure they all happen differently. But
Lisa Mclymont 38:34
it usually is like, Oh, I heard you do this thing. I really would like you to do something on our wall. And then
Tim Fulton 38:39
the minute you have to submit it to them of like, here’s what I’m planning is this.
Lisa Mclymont 38:44
Yep, yes. So I propose a couple of designs. With the Spock one. We originally were going to do something based on the brand repair, recycle renew or something like that. Repair we use recycled sorry. I tried all these things. And then I slept on it because I wasn’t happy and I woke up and I was like, Yeah, Clintonville need stock. So I proposed it and like you know, they went for it. And I knew they would because they fix computers and they’re like, you know if it if it perfectly? Yeah, I think it’s a well loved thing. So I absolutely agree with that. I was able to paint it in a week too. So it was about a week and a half of planning and approvals and sketches and all that stuff. And then I got it all done in a week with a think of a friend let me borrow their platter lift. Lift their scaffolding. Yeah. He believes the scaffolding up and down the wall and like got it all done in a week. So I feel pretty proud of that. And it was like the hottest week of September to
Tim Fulton 39:49
and you sit on pivoting just a little bit. You also sit on the Columbus public art commission.
Lisa Mclymont 39:57
I do. I’m all over the place.
Tim Fulton 40:00
Let’s talk about sort of what philosophy you’re bringing to that.
Lisa Mclymont 40:04
So what’s really great with that is, number one, I was nominated and by Mary Gray, who used to run, rife gallery is amazing. She’s still on the commission. I’m not sure she’ll renew another cycle. I think she’s already gone through a couple. But I was really well proud to be invited. But I was really interested in learning more about what it takes to bring art to the city. what that process is like, how does it happen? It seems like such a closed network thing. So being on the board helps me see it and I, where I can, I’m not like, you know, blogging about it or anything, but where, and I try to share some insight and talk about that. So when I get to jury a show, or when I’m proposing art, I have more of a informed when I’m proposing murals, I mean street murals, I have a better idea of like, what’s happening at this level, you know, the higher level in the city, and not that all the street murals get funded by the city because they don’t. And that’s where it’s like, things get a little like overlap. So I might be approving on a mural, like the Crew Stadium, and I go down the street, and I paint something, you know, down a little alley on the small business wall, you know, it’s been really fascinating to learn a little bit deeper about the process of how art informs our city. So public art commission has been really great. It’s a good, thoughtful, empathetic group of people who, you know, come from all ranges. I’m one of the few working artists but there’s lots of other business people and arts administrators that ultimately volunteer their time to write guide what’s happening.
Tim Fulton 41:54
And is it sort of a, the city has a certain amount of funding set aside for public art and your lesson? No.
Lisa Mclymont 42:02
Okay. But realistically, there has been no money, the pandemic and all these other things happening. We haven’t really been able to recommend any spending of any sort is a freeze right now. So we’re pretty much in a holding pattern trying to figure things out, as we have been tasked with taking down Christopher Columbus statue, and changing the state seal and the flag and like what all that looks like, without a budget. So
Tim Fulton 42:33
not not to correct you. But you do mean the city seal?
Lisa Mclymont 42:36
City seal? So sorry. Yes, not. Yeah, city seal. Because I think Christopher Columbus was in the seal.
Tim Fulton 42:44
Lisa Mclymont 42:47
That’s right, Santa Santa Maria. That’s right.
Tim Fulton 42:50
You can see it on the side of every policeman’s jacket.
Lisa Mclymont 42:54
Yeah, I learned that a police officer or someone in the police force someone design that. Oh, I didn’t know that. I just only recently learned that. I didn’t know that. Yeah, yeah. But I haven’t dipped into like the history of it and done a whole lot yet. Because we have to put a request for proposal out to find vendors to do this work. So I’m trying to hold off on going in depth with my designer brain on it, because that’s not really what my job is supposed to be so, right. Well, I personally would love to know. But I’m hesitant, because I’m, you know, I’m busy doing these other things. So I’m really trying not to put a ton of time into that right now. And so
Tim Fulton 43:38
that that RFP is specific is different from what’s going to happen with the statue.
Lisa Mclymont 43:44
Very different. It’s a whole different community. So the statute committee has met. So two other sorry, three other commission members. Were on that committee, with representatives from the Italian community, as well as an American community to discuss like how to move forward from here. So this whole last year has been a really in depth, sometimes traumatic experience for everybody. But it’s exciting to hear the conversations that are happening around this. I wish that there was a way to let the rest of the public know because just kind of went away and nothing to them is nothing’s happening, but there’s not really a great time to talk about it because there’s no advancement yet. This is just conversations happening that need to happen to see where we go from here. So not even resolutions or anything. Yeah, no nations yet either. So it’s been interesting.
Tim Fulton 44:46
No, it’s super interesting process. Like the word that comes to mind is sort of the disavowing that’s happening. You know, you and I have been here and are old enough to remember that like our visitors bureau was called discover Columbus writer was a boat. Yeah. And it was, you know, we were not only named Columbus, we were very proud of the namesake of it, and
Lisa Mclymont 45:12
which to the to a lot of people was a lot better than cow town. So yeah, we got away from cow town.
Tim Fulton 45:20
It’s a, it’s a needed change. And I’m glad to hear that it’s happening.
Lisa Mclymont 45:25
Tim Fulton 45:27
I want to wrap up just by I asked the same question of everybody. What do you think Columbus does? Well, and you can take this outside of your art sphere, if you want? And what does Columbus maybe not do? So well?
Lisa Mclymont 45:44
Oh, could do that not be so well, easily for you can start there. I will say that Columbus is a blue oasis in Ohio. I think that there is a lot of diversity, thanks to our colleges, a lot of industry and drive. I love all of that. I think where Columbus does not do well. I think the largest is public transit, I think, very transit in general. I mean, you know, we have the kogo bikes. But biking in general isn’t in a great situation, I think more attention needs to be made there. penalizing hybrid car owners such as myself, who isn’t working artists, and I’m not a rich person. So paying an extra $100 to register my tags and get a sticker to put on my car every year is outrageous. And it makes me angry. I think that there’s work to do there, especially with all this talk of like electric cars hitting the place. Electric cars have 200 Every year, in addition, their registration tag, because we don’t go and buy enough gas, so but I bought the car because I didn’t want to buy gas. So I feel like there’s a different way to approach that. Because, yeah, lame is you’re not putting enough money into paying for the road repair. And that seems loose to me. Because why? Why not just hike up the gas. So that balance is there. And then everybody pays a little bit extra on the tags, because we’re all using cars on the roads, but whatever. No, and you know, supporting Kota in a better way, like treating Coda like this weird, wicked stepchild and then scolding them for not being able to do the service they want to do. They’ve been doing it for decades. I think that’s a fail. It’s not just on coda to be better. It’s really on how Columbus handles public transit. You know, the metro rail that people keep talking about, that’s never gonna happen from the sound of it. Unless the Republican Republican governor comes in or something, I really don’t know what’s going to happen. But
Tim Fulton 47:54
you get none of us do know.
Lisa Mclymont 47:57
Yeah. So oh, well, there’s a bunch of other things. But I think that right there, mobility is a big one, I think. If there were ways to make it, so people wanted to travel more together in a system. That was a healthy system. That was a good fare. There’ll be more people and we wouldn’t be holding on to our cars as much there wouldn’t be as much wear and tear on the roads and blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I should stop there. No, that’s
Tim Fulton 48:29
good. Lisa, thank you so much for your time today.
Lisa Mclymont 48:34
Yes, thank you. We covered a lot of bases
Tim Fulton 48:45
Thank you for listening to the confluence cast presented by Columbus underground. Again to get more information on what we discussed today in the show notes for this episode at the confluence cast comm please rate subscribe, share this episode of The confluence cast with your friends, family, contacts, enemies, your favorite artists. If you’re interested in sponsoring the confluence cast, get in touch with us. We can be reached by email at info at the confluence cast calm. Our theme music was composed by Benji Robinson. Our producer is Philip Cogley. I’m your host, Tim Fulton. Have a great week.