Lisa Kohlmeier is a musician and private music teacher who loves her job! She has been married to a working artist for 25 years and enjoys trying her hand at visual arts also. The last four years, Lisa has been honing her photography and drawing skills, processes in which she finds peace and serenity.
So, Lisa, describe your art practice for us and share with us what lead you to it?
I started my musical world when I was 6 years old when my mother placed me in piano lessons. I stayed with that teacher until the highest level she could teach, then switched my attention to frantically learning every instrument I could get my hands on, some with success, and some without, but I found out that’s who I am! I joined my band, as bass player, 17 years ago when I became, officially, a “professional musician,” as well as made the choice to share my gifts with as many people, young and old, that I can so I begin to teach.
What or who had the most impact on you as an artist and in what way(s) does this influence your art practice? And why?
The easy answer to this question is to simply say, Nancy Wilson from the band, Heart. But the actual answer is that I’m a music theory geek! When I learned/realized Music is used in every culture around the world for various celebrations, rituals, anthems and pleasure. Music is the only language that is spoken the same, universally. That has been my biggest influence….. Knowing that information! Music theory also fascinates me and I realized at a young age that if I learned as much as I can, I would always have a place in the world of music. Music also is good for my soul and I’m lucky to be able to teach. My motto has always been, music is fun and not a job AND…… if I teach my students anything…. I teach the LOVE of music!
Do you view art as a spiritual transaction? Please share your thoughts or views with us.
Well music is used in church’s every worship day, it’s used at funerals, weddings, bar mitzvahs so yes, it can be spiritual in those ways. However, as a member of a band that writes all their own music, when you write a song, it comes from your soul. When you deliver that song to an audience, if you have changed just one person’s view, or moved them, emotionally in any way…… you have done your job! Performing is not only a spiritual endeavor, it is a responsibility to your audience and hopefully, they leave touched.
Do you feel that artists have a social responsibility regarding the content of their art - especially in regard to art in public places? How does this translate to your own work?
Absolutely! Musicians have a responsibility to play for their audience as well as they possibly can, to give them a show that is well rehearsed. Rehearsals in preparation for the performance can be long and drawn out and boring, sometimes, but it’s our responsibility to deliver the music in a professional manner. Also, I have a strong dislike to songs that have been written to promote hate and violence. In my beliefs….. Music is a tool that can move people in either a positive or negative direction. I believe the latter is morally and ethically wrong. Only my opinion, however!
Would you describe yourself as an artist activist? If so, in what ways does this influence your artwork?
Yes, I would! Our music has a positive message……and at times a strong opinion. I believe that if the world would only listen…..it would be a better place to exist in!
What social issues does your artwork reflect?
Politics, religion, relationships… you name it, we have a song about it!
What social or ecological challenges do you feel you face in your art practice?
Well, as a former Concert Promoter and Agent, I see so often that the bands out there playing regularly are groups who cover other artist’s music. We, as an original group, have to pay our dues, so to speak, and play for exposure, more than money. Sometimes that can create a hardship economically due to the cost of getting to the gig in the first place. We make money, but in the day…..reaching for that record deal - money became secondary. Getting the music to the public was our first priority. That goal often cost us more than we made.
Do you engage the community with your art practice? If so, in what way do you feel this benefits both the community and yourself as an artist?
Oh my yes! That’s where the performance aspect comes into play! We play for the community, and have benefited the community many times with fund raising events.
What was the best creative advice ever given to you? How did it affect your work or career?
It’s not the mistakes you make; it’s how well you cover them up! Learning to play through them has kept me my job in the band! And it has helped as a music teacher when my children have recitals.
What projects are you currently working on?
Right now I’m simply maintaining my ability to play all my instruments. I am always learning new songs, writing new melodies, and writing words. I keep a journal of catch phrases or “hooks” as we call them in the industry and chord charts for melodies I have written. But mostly I have been writing a book for young adult parents called “Little Minstrels” which it is my hope that teen parents learn to use music and art as a tool in every day tasks like feeding, bathing, changing and playing with their children. It has been proven that music and art help children in every aspect of their lives in school, but particularly in math and reading retention. It is simple, fun and can only help these babies learn easier and faster!
Where can we find your work?
Photographic work here: https://www.facebook.com/Lisa-Kohlmeier-Photography-146710708866680/
Music here: reverb nation.com/therainfactory and myspace.com/therainfactory1