Lisa Kotoulas is a visual artist working out of Brand X Incubator studios in St.Leonards. Her work is haunting, playful, slightly unnerving and completely intriguing. Primarily working in oil on canvas her works use deep, rich colour, the human body, and sometimes involves installation and mixed-media. She is currently continuing a body of work she began at her Athena Standards Residency in Athens in 2018.


Tell us a little bit about why you do what you do.

I fell into art again in my adult life post motherhood. I went back to uni after my eldest daughter unexpectedly passed away, she was six at the time. Painting became the grounding tool I desperately needed. I completed a couple of community courses and then realised this was more than a pastime. I subsequently complete a Masters degree at UNSW Art and Design (then COFA)


In one word tell us what your art is about.

The Afterlife


When was the moment you realised that your creative practice was going to be your thing? And who in your life (at that time) thought that was a bad idea?

I’ve always been creative but it was never formalised. I started and stopped many courses during my twenties and thirties, from photography to interior decorating, because I knew I NEVER wanted to go back into banking. Yes, I was in business banking pre-motherhood but I was always desperate to get out. In my twenties, I was too busy having a good time and in my thirties, I was busy being a mum.

Everyone was extremely supportive and excited for me when I decided to go back to uni.


What’s the biggest challenge for you as an artist?

Motivation. Doing something which isn’t financially viable is at times hard to justify but my partner jokingly reminds me that I can always go back to the bank. I get around the motivation problem by sticking to a routine. At the end of the day though, there is nothing I would rather be working on than my art.


Is isolation changing the way you want to make art?

I’ve always been interested in the human condition and it doesn’t get any more real than during a pandemic. It hasn’t changed the way I make art but it has reenergised existing ideas.


History tells us that artistic practice will survive this pandemic. What are 3 ways you think your industry will change for the better through this experience?

It’s almost an even playing field right now. I’ve always felt I missed the mark in the art world and came in too late but there is a worldwide reboot happening and the art world is not immune. I feel like I’m at the beginning of it all. This is an immature way of looking at things and probably unrealistic but it makes me feel good lol


Given the chance to attend one show, gig, festival, exhibition or event right now what would it be?

I was really excited about Sydney’s Biennale this year and bloody COVID got in the way! It’s not much of a consolation but Nirin is happening online through various social media sites during ISO.


What new recipe are you making in your kitchen during lockdown?

Athenian Spritz, a cocktail I enjoyed whilst in Greece last year.

What surprising thing have you learnt about yourself during lockdown?

It’s cool to be a couch potato again.


If you could speak to your 12 year old self, what advice would you give?    

Go and see a professional because you most definitely have ADHD.