‘My family helped me pull through difficult times’, says German artist Lisa Urban
The German artist Lisa Urban sent EUFAMI this statement about her creative journey. She will be participating in the ‘Home’ exhibition in Brussels on 30 November this year.
My name is Lisa Urban and I was born in Hamburg in 1977.
I was a dreamy little girl with a lot of fancy. From my early childhood on, I loved to draw and paint.
I grew up in a warm-hearted family who was always caring for me.
Nevertheless, at the age of 14 I began to feel wrong in this world. I spent a long time as an inpatient because of an eating disorder and depression.
Life went on, I made a lot of good experiences in my youth time. But the feeling of being wrong did not disappear completely. I was withdrawn against my family. In my last school year, I attended a private art school to prepare a portfolio for the art academy. The community there was like an anchor for me.
In 1998 I started my studies in fine arts at the University of Kassel. At that time, I was consuming too much alcohol. I did not realize that I needed (and still need) structure and continuity — my life was completely unstructured. I developed severe mental problems.
So I came in contact with psychiatric facilities. Not long after that, I found myself going in and out the psychiatric hospital several times.
At this point, my parents and I changed in our relationship. I began to open myself against them, and they supported me as much as they could. I do not know if I would have survived this period without them. My self-harming behaviour was dramatic.
I quit my studies and came back to Hamburg.
My condition was so bad that I had to stay in a psychiatric hospital for nearly a year. I had no feeling for a future or how I could live in the future.
All the time, I was painting and drawing. I never stopped , I could express myself and stay alive. It is a need until today.
Then things got better step by step. I lived in a residential home for three years and attended a job-related training centre. I also came back to the art-school where I had been as a pupil.
When I moved in my own flat, I was very productive in my creative output. The first opportunities for exhibitions appeared. In 2005 I was a founder member of the artist group “die maler“. I found close friends for which I am very grateful. We work together, make exhibitions and go for a weekend trip at least once a year.
Another important tower of strength is the job that I have been doing for eight years now. I work as a shop assistant in a store for art supplies. I have such nice colleagues and feel as an appreciated part of the team.
I have some limitations in my mental capacity, therefore I do a part-time job. This gives me another luxury: I have time to consecrate to my artwork. During the last years I created a wide range of techniques. Painting, paper-cutouts, textile works like strange puppies. But I think the black/white drawings are the strongest pieces among them. I have taken part in many exhibitions and often sold artworks.
Things that make me happy: Being together with the family and all the friends that I found during the last years. Having a normal life. Having a job where I can apply my best skills. Having so many ideas for pictures that still have to be drawn.
It is good how it is now.
9 October, 2017