Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ellen Greene on Painting Beyond the Canvas

In this episode of The Lisa D Show podcast we talk with artist Ellen Greene about her recent transition into portrait work. Ellen is a trained painter, having attended the Kansas City Art Institute, and is best known for her intricate work leather gloves.

Last year, Ellen gifted a portrait of a dog, shared it on the Internet (as one does) and the commissions for pet portraiture and now human have been fast and steady ever since.

Full disclosure, I am the portrait on the right below.


We talk about the struggle of choice many creatives face when pivoting from one area of focus to another, more lucrative area. If you are still painting, but you are painting pet portraits, have you lost your way as an artist? What I love is Ellen’s perspective on this shift in her work and her openness to the potential new mastery portrait work might bring her painting career.

See more of Ellen’s portrait work at and follow her on Instagram at portraits_by_ellengreene

To see her full body of work and wearable art visit


The Lisa D Show is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]

Friday, November 10, 2017

Photographer Jessica Kaplan on The Lisa D Show

Today on The Lisa D Show podcast we talk to photographer Jessica Kaplan, who captures candid portraits, fine art, architecture, people, streets, and more with her iPhone or camera. We talk about Jessica’s journey becoming a photographer, where she cultivates new skills to shoot the images she wants, and we also touch on the skills she uses from a previous life as WTTW line producer to draw out her subjects. The best part of being a photographer so far? Having something “tangible” that allows her to engage with the audience about.

Meet Jessica tonight at Backlot  offee for an opening reception of her work on display thru November. Visit her website and online store at and follow her on Instagram at JessicaKaplanPhotography. We reference the photo below in the interview, "American Gothic".


Thank you for stopping by! I love to capture moments in a style that evokes confidence and intention. My natural light photography has a journalistic feel, featuring rich tones, depth and expert composition, inspired by my background in television news and as a storyteller.

Whether you are looking for an updated headshot, a portrait of your child, inspiring stock or custom photography for your own business, or an expertly framed image to hang on your wall, I am so glad you've stopped by for a visit!

My passion for storytelling began as a tween and evolved at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. That launched my 14-year career in the news business at WTTW, Chicago’s PBS station. Although I'm no longer in news, my passion for connection through storytelling still exists through the lens of my Canon DSLR and my iPhone 6.

I enjoy freezing time by capturing a look, an expression, joys and struggles. I love photographing people of all ages, in active moments or in quiet reflection. I work in both black and white and color, and I love creating natural light candid portraits.

I find inspiration on the street, in a new city, at the beach, in the water, in patterns in the sand. I celebrate wood, rust, texture and geometry. Looking up, looking down, looking into people’s eyes and watching children play are particularly satisfying. Depth and movement provide extra encouragement.

I am patient, yet persistent. I take the time to let a scene develop and evolve until it reveals itself to me. This results in a photograph with visually pleasing composition, providing a sense of balance, sometimes clean, sometimes gritty. Always compelling. I love excluding the expected and including the unexpected, turning a seemingly mundane scene into a thought-provoking image.

Jessica Kaplan Photography

The Lisa D Show is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Photographer Vanessa Filley on The Lisa D Show

Photographer Vanessa Filley's art tells the stories of today, the past and a future imagined. Storytelling through her photography, Filley builds engaging, inviting and sometimes eerie images with visually compelling collaborators … her children and her friend's children.

In this interview we walk through several of the pieces from her upcoming show “A Nursery Rhyme For You” opening Nov. 4, 5-8 p.m., at Perspective Gallery in Evanston, up thru Nov. 26. If you don’t make it, check out her work online at

This interview is candid, inviting the listener into Filley’s artistic process and beautiful mind. I am grateful to know artists like this who make Evanston a more interesting and beautiful place to live.
More Info: A Nursery Rhyme For You

As a child some weekends we visited my grandparents in a farmhouse of decaying grandeur in New Jersey and other weekends we’d stay home and traipse through the halls of great New York City museums.  I always imagined how these places could be different, how they were a portal to another time, an imagined life.  In the attic of my grandparents home there were dust covered steamer trunks filled with ballgowns while the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art offered a glimpse into the interiors of early American homes. I dreamt of wearing these ballgowns and living in a different era, but despite my dreamy nature I never got much beyond dress-up in shoddy 1970’s halloween costumes.  

As the mother of two girls with fanciful imaginations in an era when unfettered childhood fantasy is interrupted or negated by an abundant access to technology I have sought to preserve and create for my daughters a little bit of the magic I longed to have brought into my own childhood while avoiding much of the contemporary child’s play market and trying to impart an honest sense of the world we live in today.

I find great inspiration in anything from fairytales to the primal relationships between humans and nature to current events. Every fairytale has a dark side, the death of a parent, the loss of a power and in an era of social and political upheaval and environmental degradation, the dreams and fantasy of a child are effected and shaped by the external forces buzzing in the world around them. In A Nursery Rhyme for You My Dear I am attempting to both create a child-like fantasy world and to allow the harshness of reality to seep in.  When I make an image I am very interested in exploring it’s underbelly.  It may look pretty on the outside, but perhaps there is more to it.  I want to both dwell on and delete some of the darkness in any given scenario, to try on a story for size, to understand what it might be like to exist in that moment and how to learn from it, but also leave it behind, as if in a dream.


The Lisa D Show" is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]

Friday, October 27, 2017

Shannon Cahill of Art En Object dreams in Vignettes

Shannon Cahill found a way to weave her passion for decor, art and objects into her creative endeavor ART EN OBJECT; a consulting service that facilitates placement of art and objects in homes.

Today we talk about her upcoming show at The Saw Room, Vignette, featuring art by local creatives paired with objects curated by Cahill. Artists on display include; Meghan Borah, Jane Carney, Ross Martens, Darren Oberto, Chris Greene, Anne Stevens and Dana De Ano.

The shows runs November 4 – December 31. Receptions Saturday, Nov. 4, 5-8 p.m. & Dec. 2, 5-8 p.m., at 1712 Rear 2 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL 60201.

Learn more at

Shannon Cahill, guest curator and founder of Art en Object, creates vignettes featuring unique objects and furnishings highlighted by local artwork. Her carefully curated vignettes will inspire you with design and style possibilities for your own home.

Here are Shannon’s thoughts on her passion:

“I dream in vignettes. Can’t help it….I’m obsessed.
It’s the finishing touches and the small yet significant details that make a house a home. Each piece of art and each object thoughtfully placed creates harmony and tells the story of the home and of those who reside within.

I have spent the greater part of the last decade creating a home that reflects my family’s personality, and I started ART EN OBJECT in 2015 as a way to bring my passion for art and design outside of my own home and into the community.

I am continuously amazed by the breadth and depth of artistic talent in our community and have been fortunate to work with local artists to place their art into private residences. And now I am thrilled to be highlighting their work through this show of home design vignettes. Carefully curated vintage and one-of- a-kind furnishings and accessories will serve to complement and “frame” each piece of art. You will find that by mixing timeless elements of furnishings and objects with original art pieces, a layered and collected look is achieved. And everything in the show is for sale, offering you the just right “finishing touches” to create your own home’s story!”

The Lisa D Show" is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Lea Pinsky talks about Art Encounter, EMAP & Murals!

Click on the orange arrow to listen to the interview from this blog or visit

Today's podcast features an interview with Lea Pinsky of Evanston Mural Arts Program (EMAP), talking about the six murals going up in Evanston. By the time you hear this interview, the murals will almost all be complete, with the talks of more on the horizon. 

Thursday, October 12, the public is invited to a reception and party to meet the muralists who are activating Evanston's wall with EMAP's help. Join the party at Hyatt House on Chicago Ave., 5:30 p.m., click here for details.

The six muralists include artists; Shawn Bullen, Ruben Aguirre, Nick Gottleing, Dustin Harris & Lea Pinsky, Alfonso Nieves Piloto Ruiz and Jordan Nickel. The murals can be found on this map under Public/Installation Art.

Evanston Mural Arts Program (EMAP) is Art Encounter’s new public art initiative. Art Encounter has launched the program to help community groups, artists, residents, and business districts uplift their neighborhoods and strengthen their communities through mural art. EMAP works with the City of Evanston, local business districts, and area groups to provide curatorial leadership and project management support towards shared goals of community enrichment, civic engagement, and beautification. EMAP is overseen by Dustin Harris and Art Encounter’s Education and Outreach Director Lea Pinsky. Harris and Pinsky, both muralists and public art project managers, have been inspiring public spaces through art since 2005.  Click here to read more. 

The public is invited to take a self-guided tour of the murals ANYTIME, but especially Saturday, October 14, 12-5 p.m., during Evanston Art Tour. Maps are available online (click here for map) or in print at Evanston Art Center, stumble & relish, or Cultivate on Main St. 


"The Lisa D Show" is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Amanda Evanston, Painter of Canvases and Garage Doors

Meet Amanda Evanston, a prolific painter and supporter of the arts. She is a resident of Evanston, IL, and moves most of her work via her website

On this episode we talk about making a living as an artist (she sells work online and teaches workshops) and cultivating a community of art lovers. We also weave in several good quotes from Amanda's mother, who was a huge fan of beautifying your living space with original art.

For those of you living in the area, you can meet Amanda Evanston on Oct. 14, during the Evanston Art Tour (click here for the map), 12-5 p.m., where she'll turn her front porch into an art gallery at the corner of Dempster and Florence. Learn more at

Lastly, Amanda recently created a mural of flowers on her garage doors, which you can see driving south down Florence from Dempster. We are grateful for artists like Amanda who share their talent with the city they live in.


"The Lisa D Show" is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Annie Coakley, Executive Director of Downtown Evanston

In this episode of The Lisa D Show Podcast we talk to Annie Coakley, the Executive Director of Downtown Evanston, about the myriad creative problem skills she brings to her job everyday. From attracting new businesses to designing public spaces for people to gather to public art, Annie works closely with business owners, citizens and the City of Evanston to make Downtown Evanston a gem.

Below are links to some of the topic we discussed;
  • New TOD building worked with EMAP to create a mural by Shawn Bullen. Click here to read an interview with Shawn.
  • May 2018 one of her biggest projects during her tenure, the redesign and launch of Fountain Square, will be live. We talk about Fountain Square project in great detail, you can click here to learn more. 
  • Oct. 15 is the 3rd annual Oktoberfest in the Farmer's Market parking lot featuring the sounds of DJ Dustin Harris and libations from 13 breweries!
  • Oct. 14: Open House Chicago features locations of interest in Downtown Evanston, click here for list

 "The Lisa D Show" is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mat Rappaport talks Terrain Biennial Evanston

Today on The Lisa D Show we’re talking to Mat Rappaport about an exciting art event coming to Evanston for 6 weeks, Terrain Biennial. Eight front yards, all in walkable distance from another, will feature art installations ranging from sculptural installations to time-based performances to public interventions. Mat and fellow artist Anne Stevens brought this project to Evanston after seeing it’s success in Oak Park. See works Oct. 1 - Nov. 15.

Bio: Mat Rappaport is an internationally exhibited new media and installation artist, curator, and educator. He is currently an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago, a board member of the New Media Caucus, and a founding member of v1b3.

Terrain Biennial

Event Main Website:
Terrain Evanston Information:
Instagram: #terrainbiennialevanston
Map Link: Google map of sites

The Terrain Biennial is an international exhibition of site specific art made for front yards, balconies, and porches. Centered in the historic village of Oak Park, IL, the 2017 Biennial with kick off on Sunday October 1st with a block party in Oak Park, IL and run until November 15th. Neighborhoods throughout Chicagoland will host performances, film screenings and other events in conjunction with the festival. A map of all locations and the dates of the openings for each neighborhood will be posted to

Founded in October of 2011 by artist Sabina Ott and Author John Paulett, Terrain Exhibitions and the Terrain Biennial repurpose private spaces such as front yards, porches, or windows, turning them into public spaces in order to foster dialogue between neighbors and provide opportunities for artist and viewers alike to experience new perspectives. The projects at the 3rd Terrain Biennial will range from sculptural installations to time-based performances to public interventions.

For the 3rd Terrain Biennial, Evanston artists have organized eight host locations on a walkable route, along Wesley and Florence Avenue between Emerson and Dempster Street. Eight homes will host the work of nine artists on the front yard, porch, or facade. Participating artists include Ben Blount, Paul Catanese, Shawn Decker, Patrick Lichty, Kristin Mariani, Laurie O’Brien, Mat Rappaport, Anne Hayden Stevens and Kevin Valentine. Artworks range from pinhole cinema by Laurie O’Brien, to a sound installation by Shawn Decker, to a sculpture & performance by artist Kevin Valentine. Maps for the Terrain Biennial can be accessed online.

The opening of Terrain Biennial: Evanston will be held on October 7 from 4-7pm and will feature performances and walking tours of the artworks. For more information about the Evanston projects, visit For the full list of the 3rd Terrain Biennial sites, visit


 "The Lisa D Show" is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Catherine Napper of Improv Bus

This episode of The Lisa D Show takes a deep dive into the childhood of Catherine Napper, growing up in Evanston, to look at how environment plays a role in fostering a creative life. Frank, honest, smart and funny, Catherine shares her journey through life all the way to the stage with her current role as an actor with Improv Bus. 

Upcoming Improv Bus performance dates; Theater WIP on September 27 and October 11.

Below is an edited version of Catherine's bio and Improv Bus background. 


I am an artist and teacher raised and nurtured in South Evanston and a proud class of ‘81 Wildikit. I  am very proud to be living here, in my hometown, once again after many years living in McHenry County, Milwaukee and New York.

Evanston is  the place where I developed my artistic spirit. It surrounded me, a most awkward child, with people and places that inspired and nurtured me. As an introspective and introverted child, I was often by myself or with my sisters. I found it difficult to find friends, or to find a place where I fit in, and I was left to my own devices. I used my imagination to create these places for myself. This translated easily into art of all sorts, writing, painting, and most often, acting and pretending. My sisters and I spent hours and hours creating and producing plays and puppet shows in our basement (amidst the drying laundry) often inviting all the neighbors, and occasionally neglecting to tell my mother.

I found solace, strength and the ability to use my voice through the fine and performing arts and opportunities were everywhere when I began to look for them!  My greatest role models were the artists I was fortunate enough to have as my teachers, Gloria Bond Clunie, being the most prominent. I learned through her, how to use theater as a form of self-expression (and life skill!) Through the performing arts, I felt I had found acceptance from my peers and more importantly, myself. And I had found my tribe.

After High School I studied photography and theater at Columbia College in Chicago I developed and ran a theater program and arts camp for kids through the Ridgeville Park District and taught improv at various locations throughout the Chicagoland Area.  As a young adult I studied at the Second City in Chicago and performed sketch comedy for several years with an improv group named, “The Illegitimate” players directed by the infamous Second City writer and performer, Don DePollo.

I received my Master’s Degree in Teaching from National Louis University and spent many years teaching, raising my kids, taking improv classes with Jimmy Carrane and seeking opportunities to teach and direct youth theater. I directed and co-directed productions of Peter Pan and Our Town through Shakespeare’s Child Theater Company in the Northern suburbs.

After moving back to Evanston two and half years ago with my husband, Tom, I heightened my participation in the improv community by making a stronger commitment to learning new skills, taking classes and performing when I could find the opportunity. I continue to do so!


ImprovBus is a flexible improv group made up of 8-12 individuals who trained together with local writer, author, performer and director, Jimmy Carrane, the creator of “The Art of Slow Comedy,” and “Improv Nerd.”  Our performance goal as a team is to bring authentic improv to different types of venues around the city, making it accessible to everyone.

Through our ongoing training, we developed a strong sense of ensemble, growing and learning together with the intent of bringing the “real” back to comedy. This is the philosophy and pedagogy of our mentor/teacher/coach, Jimmy Carrane, and one which really resonated with us as performers.  Our members, who are of myriad ages and backgrounds, bring a wealth of real life talent and experiences to our work. Most of us have enjoyed meaningful careers outside of theater adding  valuable real world experience and variety to our scene work and on-stage relationships.  Our hope is to always let our humanity drive our scene work. We are less game-focused and less silly than many groups out there and rely instead on developing meaningful relationships in our stage work. We vary the show forms we present based on the available performers, the venue, the time and the audience. The result is a group of highly versatile, very, very funny people working together to make comedy relatable and fun. We focus on staying grounded in our work because real life is funny enough!

The name ImprovBus came to me in a strange, albeit well-timed dream, earlier this year.  I dreamed that our entire troupe, along with pets, costumes and musical instruments was tooling around Chicago neighborhoods in a decked out Winnebago-like Bus. Occasionally the side door would pop open and we’d roll out performing hilarious improv right on the spot. When pressed for a name for our troupe in early June, the name just popped out, and it stuck!

ImprovBus! has been very fortunate so far with finding performance opportunities around town (and in fact, they tend to find us!)  We have spent the summer performing very regularly as part of Caffeinated Improv hosted by Osmium Coffee House and Star Lounge. Additional Upcoming dates include a performance with Jamwich (opening for Part Dog) at the Crowd Theater in Chicago on September 9 and 3 performances at Theater WIP on September 13, September 27 and October 11.

We continue to play and learn together, experimenting with new ideas and forms each week and look forward to expanding our performances to include festivals, galleries, industrial work and wherever else the “bus” takes us!

P.S. Having an actual bus is just a long-term goal!


"The Lisa D Show" is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Clare Tallon Ruen founder of LakeDance

On this episode of The Lisa D Show podcast we talk with Clare Tallon Ruen, a dancer and Great Lakes enthusiast. Clare uses dance, performance art and peer-based learning to create a sense of awareness, respect and enthusiasm for the Great Lakes in Evanston. Working with District 65, area experts/scientists and youth, ClareTallon Ruen, founder of LakeDance, is cultivating a community of lake enthusiasts in Evanston.

Upcoming Events
Sept. 16  the public is invited to LakeFest at Greenwood Beach to celebrate and appreciate the lake, 9a.m. - 1 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, event details;
*Take action with an Adopt-a-Beach clean up with the Alliance for the Great Lakes at at 9:00am at Greenwood Beach
*At 10:00am enjoy a short program: Learn about pressing Great Lakes issues and listen to some performances
*Participate in a Freshwater Stories workshop at 11:30am hosted by University of Illinois Chicago.

Bio: Clare, founder of LakeDance, is a dancer and Great Lakes enthusiast. Finding ways for movement to express processes and phenomena in our world is her passion. Partnering with engineers, researchers, artists and classroom teachers, Tallon Ruen seeks to create relevant and engaging educational experiences for all involved. Recently she launched Watershed Collective, an adult learning community, to gather knowledge and encourage passion for our watershed.
Evanston’s location on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes in the Great Lakes Watershed, means that we are some of the major beneficiaries and caretakers of the largest system of freshwater on the surface of Earth.

Learn more about LakeDance at


 "The Lisa D Show" is a podcast celebrating creatives, featuring 20-minute, unedited conversations that mimic the live-radio vibe, very low tech on purpose. Reach out to host Lisa Degliantoni at thelisadshow[at]