Lisa Royère: Rising Up For Women Through Fashion
As a woman, it is difficult to understand what is “acceptable” and not “acceptable.” What we wear, how we talk, how we react…Many times it all feels like a constant test of who we are as the world tries to hold us back with degrading labels, censorship online, and more. Well, artist and clothing designer, Lisa Royère, is blurring the lines that divide women into neat little categories. Through her art and fashion pieces, she channels her past traumatic experiences and turns them into something beautiful and empowering for herself and women out there. Make sure to follow her as she continues to soar and roar!
“The “Maneater: Unfiltered Woman” was created on the vision to empower the female body, to see its beauty through the raw and uncensored lens.“- Lisa Royère
Tell us more about your journey in the art world up until now. What started this passion?
Ever since I could remember, I wanted to be an artist. I always wanted to live a creative life. Any opportunity whether it was to study the history of art, or make art, made me incredibly happy. But it wasn’t until after I graduated college that I wanted to do this for good.
After I graduated college, I worked a 9-5. Now at first, it seemed like it was the “right” thing to do out of college, you get a degree and get hired right away. I was a digital designer for a company out in Los Angeles and days turned into weeks, turned into months and years flew by and I felt like I was letting life happen before my eyes.
I had this gut feeling that this wasn’t it for me, that there’s more to life than sitting behind a desk, having pointless small talk with clients and coworkers, and linger all day behind a screen. This monotonous lifestyle got the best of me and after more than 3 years working there, I pulled the trigger and finally quit.
You have to understand, I grew up with two immigrant parents where quitting was a taboo subject. I was making great money, but it wasn’t for me. This was the first time in my life I didn’t have a plan, I broke the pattern of what my life was supposed to be, and turned it into, what kind of life I want it to be, and the first step was finding happiness again and painting was just that.
Do you recall one of your first works being showcased? Can you describe it to us and tell us more about what it meant to you?
One of my first pieces being showcased was the original Maneater painting in 2018. I created a custom wooden frame for it, layering it with my dad’s Madonna magazine collection dating back to the 80s, and painted the bust of woman finishing it off with epoxy resin. This piece was the beginning of my creative journey from painting to streetwear.
Maneater was part of my Corps-poration collection, a modern approach on how women are portrayed in everyday brands by using empowering messages and raw imagery of the female form.
I got more traction on my Instagram page where I was posting videos and photos of my creative process which then led me to my first solo showcase at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. With as little as 400 followers on my Instagram page, and over 500 guests attending the opening night and breaking my record in sales in one night, was the moment I could proudly and confidently call myself an artist.
This meant that everything I was told as a young girl that being a painter “isn’t a real job” that a degree in fine art is “a waste” was all false. It just made me want to prove that no matter what you do with your life, if you truly believe in your message and vision, anything is possible. It first starts with believing in yourself.
As a woman, what are some obstacles you have faced and how did you overcome them?
I have often experienced throughout my life that when a woman says “no” she is often seen as coming off as a bitch or mean; when a woman is too nice, she is deemed to be easy and naive.
Due to my genuine and friendly nature, I was taken advantage of back in my college years which led to serious health consequences towards my eating habits.
Now I promise there is a great ending to this story, I have now been the healthiest I have ever been and it was art that saved me. Painting was my escape from my stress and anxiety and it is truly what makes me feel most alive.
You would think that by now a nude female body wouldn’t be seen as “inappropriate” yet it still is. In what ways do you believe we can change this perception? How does your artwork/brand play a role in this change?
Taboos and beauty are determined by cultural phenomena, the western culture, mainly, sexualizes the female form, breasts and nipples. I am attempting to pay homage to the female form rather than censoring it as our society deems it as taboo.
This observation was rooted from my European background, especially French, being more accepting of the female form, exposing its beauty through film, fine art, theater and even on public beaches.
There is this passage about nude history that I find so crazy to me that “The 21st century may have created a fourth category, the commodified nude, which intentionally uses ambiguity to attract attention for commercial purposes.”
I believe that in order for the perception of the female nipple form to change and be accepted, we need to talk about it; we need to face it. By keeping things taboo and hidden, how do you expect change to happen?
This is why I have this saying that “great art should drive cultural change and lead to conversations”. My works are conversation starters, my art is raw and unfiltered. My Maneater graphic shirts exposes just that, and by wearing it out in public, is the first step in getting people more intrigued and more comfortable to talking about it, this is my version of exposure therapy if you will.
How have you grown from your “Corps-poration” series to you “Maneater” series? What important lessons have you learned?
My Corps-poration series was just a mere concept and view I had on how our culture perceives the female form, now I expanded this idea through wearable art. The “Maneater : Unfiltered Woman” was created on the vision to empower the female body, to see its beauty through the raw and uncensored lens.
I have learned to be patient throughout this whole process. To enjoy the process in the meantime, and to keep creating. Our generation is too used to getting everything right away or at least expect things to happen overnight, but a flower doesn’t bloom the moment the seed is planted.
If you could describe who you are in clothes/fashion, what would it be and why?
Oh goodness… I actually have this ongoing joke with my family where they would nick name me “Lisa-Fashionista” ever since I was a kid because of how much I loved styling them and dressing up.
I would definitely have to stay modern classic. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but the designs I use are basic black and white T-shirts, leather jackets, and hoodies. It’s taking the timeless pieces and adding the modern flare to it. If I were to pinpoint what style my wearable art is, I would have to say streetwear.
Growing up, what kind of influence did art and fashion have on you?
Growing up, I always wore very muted uniforms to school, this influenced my sense of style today. My style in clothes is more the “why not” and not so much the why. I would definitely say that reading stories about how certain artists and designers broke the boundaries of what society deemed to be shocking or was criticized for, inspired and continues to inspire my style today.
If you could go back to any time in history for its art, which would you pick and why?
I would love to travel back in the Renaissance period and witness Michelangelo carve out the David statue. To use an extremely solid material to capture the delicate and life like features of man is incredibly beautiful to me.
What message do you want to give to everyone reading this?
Don’t be tempted to compare your life to what social media projects it to be. Your life is like a painting, not everyone is going to understand it, but at the end of it all, if it makes sense to you and brings happiness, don’t question it and enjoy the ride.
What does 2021 look like for you?
2021 is looking bright. This year I aim to grow a network of like minded people, hopefully turning those relationships into collaborations.You must always surround yourself with people who bring value to your life. This past year was the first time society experienced this realization together. 2021 is the year to not take life and little things for granted. No more bullsh*t. No more doing purposeless things. I strive to live a more meaningful and quality filled life.
Interviewee Lisa Royère @lisaroyere
Photography by Conté @conteink
Makeup by Gabriella Biangel @gabriellabiangel
Interview Alexandra Bonnet @alexbonnetwrites