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7 Questions: Lisa Mam

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Lisa Mam is an amazing talent - dentistry student and celebrated artist/fashion designer. Photograph: supplied

Pursuing a degree in dentistry, 23-year-old Lisa Mam has also embraced her passion for art. The young artist’s works were highly regarded and purchased for a Cellcard XG commercial and for decoration in the Libiz Hotel. She has also contributed her work to the Loy9 programme and Phnom Penh in 2058 at the French Cultural Center.

Since her works have become known, she is regarded as one of the city`s most notable street artists. Now the young artist has furthered her passion and moved into clothing design.

1. What is your fashion label called? And what kind of designs have you used on the clothes?
I have been working on various art projects including some art commissions for buyers from overseas.

Recently, I have been working on a clothing line with my friend Peap Tarr under a label called ‘REPTILE’ which is our premiere street clothing label launched in Phnom Penh.

Both Peap and I also have some exciting future art jobs happening later this year, but we will keep it a secret until the time is right. The artwork I have designed for the clothes is a combination of graffiti/street art and traditional Khmer art elements.

2. Graffiti/street art is quite a new thing for a Cambodian, let alone designing clothes using art.  Where do you get the inspiration from?
Art is what I love to do. It is something that is naturally in my blood, I believe.

I can’t stop painting everyday in my free time. I started to take my painting career more serious last year when I begun to paint with Peap and saw how passionately he did his art.

I also get inspiration from my own culture. I love Cambodian traditional art and want to express my own love of my culture through my art.

3. How do you keep up with the fashion trends in Cambodia?
It is quite different from the artwork I have been doing when it comes to clothing.

I just create what I like seeing and what I would want to wear myself. I love shoes and dresses.

Every day I look at the latest releases on the Internet or in magazines, but at the same time I don’t like to copy what I see. I like to have my own idea of how I can create my own fashion and style.

4. Was earning money your ultimate goal when you first started to work in art? Did you even think of turning your artwork into a business?
I do art not just for business.

When I started painting, I never thought that it would lead to many business opportunities; I just did painting because it is what I love.

But many opportunities happened so I have been lucky to find a way to earn a living from my art. It’s all about having the motivation and passion and belief in yourself that will make anything you do in life a success.

5. Studying to be a dentist is so different from what you are working on now. How are you going to balance your interest in art and a career in dentistry?
I am in my fifth year as a Dentist at the University of Health and Science.

It can be a lot of hard work because I have to stay focused on my studies, but at the same time I have to think about my artworks.

But nothing is impossible in life.  It is also about me that I love to stay busy and I’m just thankful I have found a way to balance both disciplines.

6. Where have you shown and marketed your products?
At the moment, you find my products either when I have a new art shows like the one Peap has now or like the one I had in Thailand with Lotus Arts De Vivre.

People also can contact me through my Facebook fan page or email me directly to lisaman27{at}gmail.com where they can order my shirts or commission me to do paintings. To see more of my work, just go to my personal tumblr site.

7. How do you expect your work will develop in the future? And how are you planning to expand the business?
Over time, my work will grow into something new, but as an artist, Everyday is like a new adventure.

It is the way we as artist create ...it is not just to paint a pretty picture, but also to explore ideas of our imagination.

The ways that I plan to expand my work are by having more future art shows and also starting to produce more installation art works. I really want to see my paintings of girls become more 3D-like that you can actually see them as sculpture. Anyway, only time will tell.

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