Lisa Cirenza
INTERVIEWS,  IntImate Interview,  News

Mobile Photography Intimate Interview with Lisa Cirenza from the US, Currently Living in London, UK

Our one hundredth and one interview in this series of intimate interviews is with talented mobile photographer and artist, Lisa Cirenza. This is an interview that is so thoroughly inspiring, Cirenza has always had deep trust in her instincts and ingenuity, she has faced and conquered her creative fears, she has asked herself off-piste questions, gathered intelligent, inquisitive, reflective people around her and created the ultimate subconscious artistic landscape, enabling her to live the most inspiring life with art and above all, she stays open. Luckily for me, we’ll get to meet up soon, I’ll fill you in. For now, enjoy!

To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria EllisRino RossiMehmet DuyulmusAlexis RotellaLou Ann Sanford DonahueIrene OleksiukKerry MitchellFiliz AkDale BothaM. Cecilia Sao ThiagoDeborah McMillionRita ColantonioAmy EcenbargerJane SchultzAnca BalajJoyce HarkinArmineh HovanesianKate Zari RobertsVicki CooperPeter WilkinBarbara BramanBecky MenziesSukru Mehmet OmurSarah BichachiMichel PretterklieberAlon GoldsmithJudy Lurie WahlbergAndrea BigiariniSean HayesOola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios Linda Toki, Deb FieldEmilo Nadales, Lydia CassattDavid HayesJean HutterFrederic DeschênesMark SchnidmanFatma KorkutFleur SchimRob Pearson-WrightDieter GaebelJames EllisMarco P PradoJeronimo SanzManuela Matos MonteiroBleu ChemikoManuela BasaldellaStefania PiccioniLuis RodríguezMarilisa Andriani(@mitrydate) Mayte Balcells (@artofmayte), Nicole Christophe, Jennifer GrahamCathrine HalsørPaul ToussaintCarol WiebeJulie Denning, Kim Clayton (@berleyart), Karen MessickSerap UtaşMaryJane RosenfeldPaul SuciuSusan Latty (@pause.and.breathe),John NietoPhyllis ShennyJoy BarryMax Lies DerdonkRita TipuninaViolet MartinsNizzar Ben ChekrouneLynette SheppardPaul-Andre HamelRejane RubinoSusan DetroyRosalie HellerWayman StairsCintia MalhotraAnita ElleJuta JazzCheryl TarrantHanni König   Kaoru Shintaku David Gilbert Jana Curcio, Mary Lorincz Amado Ergana, Francesco Sambati, Philip ParsonsKathryn Garkut Massimo Bortolini  Camilla Crescini Francesca Malagoli Sidonie Petit Dirk FleischmannFiona ChristianAlastair Hooley Juliet Morris and myselfgo here.

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First recognition?

Solo piano accompanist for my school play the Mikado, playing original Gilbert and Sullivan Score at age 11. Too young to know I was supposed to be afraid of such an undertaking…

First job?

Cleaner and Receptionist at the local Racquetball Center, so I could earn money, but also free court time and coaching…hitting those balls saved my sanity in my teen years…

Private or State school?


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University or Work?

University— My parents, who’d never been to university told me I could become a lawyer or doctor and go to Harvard, Princeton, or Yale (I grew up in the USA). They were worried art and/or music would lead me to an early Bohemian demise. I always sought solace in the outdoors, escaping every summer to an inexpensive—sleep in tents—summer program in the woods. During the equivalent of my first A level summer I was accepted as a National Science Foundation Scholar to spend the summer on a glaciological research expedition on the Juneau Icefields in Alaska (ok, maybe this was taking that seeking solace thing a bit too far??? But hey, it was fully funded, and it sounded amazing—my parents thought I was nuts and asked why I couldn’t be normal like my friends and go to the beach like all normal Jersey girls??)

That lead to my applying to Stanford University to study Geology, as the field research was done in the Sierra Nevada mountains and at the beach. Who could argue with that?? When I arrived, I asked to double major in geology and French. (This was my scheme for getting to Paris to study art without anyone knowing about it.) My geophysics advisor thought it was the strangest request he’d heard, and yet, he helped facilitate connections in Paris for me. However, the Overseas studies program didn’t buy into it—study geology in Paris??? So I applied to do a Master’s congruently in International Policy Studies to fortify my application. The geophysics advisor had connected me with someone at L’ecole des Mines de Paris, and off I went to study Mining Engineering, the Geopolitics of Energy, and—in secret—art in Paris…

‘Me On the Juneau Icefields off to do some research…’


‘I’m the one in the blue’


“And me, feeling really really small!!”
‘From December’s show at the Carousel du Louvre, with Le Salon Nationale Des Beaux Arts’

Who was or is still your mentor?

As a young teen,my art, choral, and theatre arts teachers. As an older teen Dr.Maynard Miller, he ran the Juneau Icefield Research Program and truly be­lieved in me. Countless others since then, and I’d do a disservice to all, by mentioning only a few—but I believe the ones who influenced my teen years had the deepest of influences.

How physically fit are you?

I’m a passionate open water distance swimmer, it’s my form of meditation, and I find it imperative to stay in shape to carry, hang, is manipulate large artworks. I’m also a downhill ski-a-lic, a bit of an adrenaline junky, who is increasingly turning towards yoga to find the Yin for my Yang.

How politically committed are you ?

I’m strongly committed to opening minds and hearts to kindness & empathy across cultural, societal, and political divides. I believe the human species is stronger as a species when we pool our resources, our knowledges and experiences, and help each other. Kindness and open spirited-ness should not be affiliated with any” tribe” nor political leaning.. but I’m pretty certain some people reading this might ascribe those characteristics to a political tribe—how very sad…

Ambition or Talent, what matters more to success?

Ambition! I see too many hyper-talented artists waiting for discovery. Ambition allows everyone a chance to hone their creative destinies. But I don’t like the word ambition, I think it has more to do with mindful focus…and having a compelling sustainable ‘why’


What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?

A more coherent spiritual understanding of why exactly we exist

‘From a moment of contemplation in a Japanese Temple garden in Kyoto, where I was trying to get my head around a major commission I’d been asked to do there’

What’s your biggest extravagance?

Umm, let me think about that, well maybe I need to go answer some emails before I can answer I open the computer I remember I forgot to finish that image, and to finish that image I need to go look at the inspiration, but I can’t find the inspiration without a wee bit more coffee in me, but I’m out of coffee, gotta run to the store…umm what was the question again?  Oh! My biggest extravagance has to be… (drumroll please….) …..Procrastination!

‘Album cover I did for Tanuja Desai Hidier. I’m thinking of putting a word bubble coming out of her mouth “Stop procrastinating and Focus!!!”

In which places are you happiest?

The mountains, preferably in the water—a mountain lake– or on the snow, a glacier or ski slope, I’m not too particular…

What ambitions do you still have?

To use my art as a vehicle to inspire creative endeavours, problem solving & empathy in an increasingly tribal and, dare I say, self-centered world.

What drives you on?

I grew up in an environment where nothing I did was ever quite “good enough. Art was not an option, and yet for me, internally it was never not an option.  When I chased and achieved my dream of becoming an artist, some of my drive was to prove the naysayers wrong. I’m past that now as it’s not a sustainable source of positive fuel. I’ve reached a point where I am truly driven by the need for more creative, positive, open-minded, community-minded thinking populations;  and by the unique role artists can play in achieving these societal aspirations.

What do you find most disconcerting in other people?

Limiting self-beliefs that confine them to being victims, & victimising others in the process.

“Tic Tac Toe: The Immigrant and the Refugee” 108 x 83 x 1.5 cm on brushed aluminium. Beneath our differences lie the foundations of our similarities. The basis of all 4 figures is the silhouette
of a refugee I worked worked with in Italy. The interior of the immigrant is composed of figures drawn live on my iPad in various urban settings. The refugee has no identity. Can Tic Tac Toe (noughts and crosses) be won without an unfair advantage? Game theorists would posit it cannot. Who’s locking who out, and why?”

What is the greatest achievement in your life so far?

My four amazing grown children and the adults they’ve become. There isn’t a single aspect of being a parent that doesn’t require some form of creative thinking acting and/or being. They truly are the high points of my life’s creative achievements

If your 20 year old self could see you now, what would she think?

“Never Ever Give Up”, words I lived by then and still live by now. That being said she’d be gobsmacked I actually got there!!!

‘A self-portrait of me as a little girl. I was adopted. When my parents found out I had a heart defect, they told me they had the option to “give me back”. I’m glad they didn’t’

Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you’d still had?

A body that didn’t ache quite so much, and a memory that didn’t go on holiday so much.

What is the greatest challenge of our time?

FEAR-It leads to fixed mindsets, tribalism, and the ability to be easily politically manipulated.

“Home” a composite of digital images of paintings done by the refugees I worked with in Milan, some of my own digital painting, and then painting the last few layers with oils and waxes, on aluminium’

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Do you believe in a past life?

‘Album cover for guitarist Gianluigi Secchi’

If you had to rate your life satisfaction so far, out of ten,what would it be?

10+ What hasn’t killed me, has made me stronger…except for my memory, I can’t quite remember if that’s any stronger???

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Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website—— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: [email protected]