Breathing new life into old photos

Lisa Kokin

Discarded books and portraits are the starting point for the work of American artist Lisa Kokin, who uses cutting, collage and textile techniques to breathe new life into these objects.

“For me, art is a way to record my thoughts and feelings,” says American artist Lisa Kokin. “My art expresses a lot about my interest in the human condition: social injustice, the finite nature of life, empathy with the underdog, a love for old and beat-up objects, and a humorous view of the world and all its absurdities. Take the found photos that surface regularly in my work, for example. Sometimes there are inscriptions on the back (‘Susie, 7 years old’), but more often they come to me stripped of all identity. I sit in my studio and speculate about these peoples’ lives.”Lisa Kokin

“I will, of course, never know the truth, so I feel it is my job to give them a new life so that they won’t be forgotten. Naturally, these works are ultimately more about me than the hundreds of anonymous individuals appearing in them.” When summarizing her work, Lisa says it is “one giant and varied visual autobiography”. The variety certainly cannot be denied, and she seems to keep inventing new art forms to express herself.

  • You can find the full story ‘A stitch in time’ in Issue 23.
  • Want to see more of Lisa Kokin? Take a look at her website and Instagram.

Text Chris Muyres Photography Lisa Kokin