Lisa Nigro is passionate about life and creating large-scale art...
Born in Milford, Connecticut USA November 6, 1962. Lisa received her BFA in Painting at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and went on to study sculpture at the University of Texas at Austin, where she utilized foundry methods for casting bronze, mold-making techniques and body castings to create walk through environments and installations.
After receiving her MFA degree in sculpture, Lisa moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where she met many of the artists involved in creating work for Burning Man. It was with her first experience at the festival, and during the theme "Hellco" of 1996 that she began to dream of building large-scale installations in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. It was the summer of 1999 which marked a major transition in her career with the creation of the larger-than-life sundial and performance piece “Diana of Ephesus,” which spurred her on to create her most influential project, the mobile and fire-breathing “Draka the Dragon,” as well as “Dahud-Ahes the Mermaid.”
As a recent recipient of a Burning Man Honorarium, Lisa designed and produced “Phoenix Rising,” an interactive sculpture with flame effects for the festival in 2019. Her design for “Phaya Nagas” dragon mosaic swing set won the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art Commission Award in 2016. She is currently working on a commissioned large-scale mural painting of “St. George Slaying the Dragon” in San Antonio. Several years in a row, she received grants from the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art and Houston Art Car Museum to display “Draka the Dragon” in the annual Houston Art Car Parade (2004-12). Lisa has also been a recipient of grants from FreezerBurn of Texas (2018), Apogaea Festival - Denver, Colorado (2014), Art Garden of Austin (2012), Black Rock Arts Foundation(1999-2001), and the Basil H. Alkazzi Travel Award for Painting - NYC/London (1989).
Lisa founded the Draka Arts Foundation in 2003, and then organized and co-produced the “Burnin'Bush” Fire & Metal Arts Festival at Blue Wing Playa, Nevada with accompanying art car parade in Gerlach (2003-04). She currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and is Professor of Sculpture at the Southwest School of Art. It has been through creating large-scale works that Lisa has found great purpose and profound meaning in collaborating with others. She often adheres to a quote spoken by one of her mentors, performance artist Linda Montano, that “ART IS LIFE, and LIFE IS ART.”
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