Art News

Speak Out: Lisa Krannichfeld

“I am motivated to depict women in ways that they have not been portrayed historically.”

– Lisa Krannichfeld

On the occasion of Women’s History Month, Saatchi Art’s curators spoke with artists about their process, inspiration, and the ways in which their identity as a woman is relevant to their art.

Chinese American artist Lisa Krannichfeld is based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her works have been exhibited in the US, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Featured by publications such as The Jealous Curator and Anthology Magazine, she was chosen as “Woman to Watch” by Soiree Magazine, and her works are in collections around the world.

(Photo: Ashton Rail)

What does it mean to you to be a woman in art?

Being a woman in today’s art world gives me an opportunity to tell a woman’s narrative more authentically. Women have been a subject in art for centuries – muses used by men. But only in more modern times have women been in positions to take control of their own narratives. I think being a woman telling a woman’s story is a great responsibility and honor.

Which female artist inspires you most—past or present— and why?

While studying art in college I was continually captivated by the female figurative powerhouses Jenny Saville and Marlene Dumas. When I saw their work for the first time it opened my mind to the endless possibilities of media manipulation and the power of emotion behind portraiture and figurative art. Currently, I have a major art crush on Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s work. We share similar aesthetics but with different materials and emotional qualities.

What is your advice to a young woman who aspires to be an artist?

Be true to who you are and what narrative you want to tell in your work. Every human story is unique and that’s what should catalyze you to create unique work.

What are the themes you pursue in your work?

 A main motivation in my work is to depict women in ways that they historically have not been portrayed. Strength, aggression, and power have long been omitted from women’s visual culture while beauty, sex appeal, and docility reign. I think it’s important that the visual culture of women authentically reflects the entire woman.

Can you walk us through your process? Do you begin with a sketch, or do you just jump in? How long do you spend on one work? How do you know when it is finished?

Drawing was my first love in art so I usually start with a sketch to plan out my compositions. This part of the process is very reciprocal with each mark I make affecting the next one. I can spend anywhere from 3-4 days to complete a smaller piece to 3-4 weeks to complete a larger complex piece. I try to work fast and not overthink as I’m working – the pieces always end up more successful in the end if I do. Luckily, I instinctually always know when a piece is done.

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?

If I couldn’t be an artist I would be one sad human being.

About the Author

Monty Preston is the Assistant Curator at Saatchi Art. Need help finding art? Contact her via our free Art Advisory service at