Barely at 5'2" tall, Issa Abou-Issa is outspoken, aggressive and expresses her emotions and political beliefs through her art. Issa was born and raised in New York City, and is an emerging contemporary artist who creates works of art through the use of Mix Media in which her art takes on a sculptural, three - dimensional form on canvas and wood.
Her inspiration comes from textures found on concrete floors, dilapidated buildings as well as ancient Roman and Greek statues.
Issa is known to have two sides to her when it comes to her art....The Figurative/Abstract and the Controversial side. Her Figurative and Abstract works are created in large canvases in soft neutral tones with shimmering metallics. The controversial works are three-Dimensional on wood, sized 20"x20, with an extreme color palette of primary colors to express her feelings about death and politics.
Issa is now residing in Louisiana with her husband and two small children where she works from her studio home.
Following is an article about the artist, courtesy of houma.com, website of Houma, Louisiana where the artist resides.
Native New Yorker paints outside the canvas
Author: Susan Elstner Nini
Issa is shown here at Designs in Windows, Houma with an original piece she did for a friend who helped her with her website.
Her name is Issa Abou-Issa. She's a little over five feet tall, and the Puerto Rican-Lebanese is a proud New Yorker. She arrived in Houma by way of her husband, Fadi, who accepted a job at Terrebonne General Medical Center.
"I said, let's just do it - I'm ready to get out of New York and try something different…we can always come back." Some five years later, the doctor's wife has two children, ages 7 and 5; a new home and a passion to sketch and paint more than ever in her home studio - a passion that she lost over a year ago.
"It was hard when I came here from New York - everyone painted flowers, landscapes and puppies," said Issa. She said she even entered local art contests and was discredited by her entries because of the controversial work she often submitted.
As to be expected from this "true New Yorker," she's outspoken and expresses her emotions and political beliefs through mix media, including a sort of 3-D form on canvas.
As taken from her website, www.issagaleria.com, "I like pushing peoples buttons through my art and writings, and whether or not it's my personal opinion on canvas or paper, it doesn't matter. What I'm looking for is what makes people tick."
"I am UNPREDICTABLE personally and creatively. Just like an actor portraying many roles, I feel there is no reason as an artist to limit one's self with just one role/one style."
At first glance of Issa's works, one would wonder what all the controversy is about. "Julie's Confusion" and "Dream and Believe" are figurative pieces done in neutral tones with splashes of metallic colors. They both have stories behind them with personal meaning and they're very calming to the eye.
However, if you glance into Issa's private collection: "Sitting Ducks" and "End of Communication," you'll begin to understand the outspoken New York artist residing in Houma, Louisiana.
Proclaiming she's not pro-Kerry or against Bush, Issa is simply against violence. "Violence means death and innocent people die…I just don't get it and this is my way of protesting," said Issa.
It was works like these which got her removed from the local art scene. "Because I felt banned, I stopped painting. I lost my creativeness and just gave up," said Issa. It was months later when she saw Senator John Kerry on CNN speaking about his upcoming Presidential Campaign, "Protest is Patriotism," said Kerry. "At that very moment, I ran to my studio and began working…I felt like it was OK to be controversial and have been working 10-12 hours a day since," said Issa.
The irony of her controversial works is the passion that stems them and their size. One would think that a native New Yorker would be all about the war. The date September 11 is synonymous with the city; however, that only takes Issa back to her true beliefs on violence and death.
Her calming canvases are huge - some larger than her, while the controversial works are sized 20"x20, with an extreme color palette. Issa uses vibrant primary colors to express her feelings about death and politics, but one thing remains. "None of my controversial works are for sale…they are my feelings and I house them privately," said Issa.
The Artist Emerges
Issa has been painting and sketching all her life. "My parents used to give me sketch pads as gifts. I would draw anything and everything…it was like I could not get enough," said Issa so passionately. She even recalled on her website about being controversial at a young age. "My classmates, including my teachers watched in awe while I created interesting textures and inscribed words that I would hear come from the mouths of grown-ups, including my teachers - only to find out later, much to my surprise, standing and facing against the wall too many times because of the 'objectionable' writings on my art."
Issa remembered how tough it was in New York in the early 80's - when she was just emerging. "I would go down to The Village with a duffel bag of figurative sketches...lay them out on cardboard and sell them for like $5, $10 and $20," said Issa. She added that while there she would sketch people on the street, put them with the rest, and people would pick them up and buy them.
Issa sees plenty of talent in South Louisiana, especially in the children. She understands the passion some have but not having the means to express it. Her future plans include setting up scholarships from the sales of her artwork. "I would like to offer a portion of the proceeds from my art sales to go toward art education in this area," said Issa.
With the launch of her website, her pieces sold exclusively and the possible showing of her work in New Orleans, Issa just may be able to fund her scholarships soon.