As Published in
The story of Lisa Fittipaldi with Al James
In 1993, Lisa Fittipaldi was the typical corporate executive. A CPA and financial analyst already on the high rungs of the ladder to success. One morning on her way to work, she realized she could not see the road signs or the traffic around her. Within six months, she experienced the most devastating thing that most people fear, she could no longer see. She sought out medical opinions and under went eye surgery, but it was determined that her blindness would be permanent!
For almost two years, she underwent the stress and depression that came with having to relearn the most basic activities of daily living. During this same two year period her husband required emergency bypass surgery and suffered a stroke. Her life was in total chaos. She lost her job. She discovered that the stereotypes directed at the disabled, and especially the blind, were the major limiters of her life. Lisa Fittipaldi was determined to regain her independence, ignore the stereotypes and substantiate her abilities.
She enrolled in a sculpture class in the spring of 1995, only to have the class canceled. Her depression increased, until one day, her husband purchased her a child's watercolor set. To the amazement of everyone, she began to paint. She had no prior experience with watercolors or art, and no formal artistic training. People said to her, "Blind" people cannot paint. Lisa Fittipaldi remembers: "I had not only lost my sight, but my independence. Every time I wanted to pick myself up and dust myself off, someone said 'blind people cannot....'." She recalls, "Just because I cannot see anything significant (she has lost her ability to see such basics as distance, print, color or dimension) should not disqualify me from exploring life."
She began to sample a variety of realistic subjects, from flowers and animals, to landscapes and still life's. As her reputation as an artist grew, people would seek her out to paint a commission or to purchase a painting. The majority of her patrons did not realize that Lisa Fittipaldi has never seen her own artwork.
Artists and critics said to her that the mark of a true artist is one that paints the figure, the street scene, the vignette of life. This is a subject you will never be capable of doing. Lisa Fittipaldi is in the infancy of her career in exploring the figure and since 1998 has added the street scene that depict vignettes of life to her repertoire. She is discovering that this genre permits her to tell the viewer what is in her "minds eye." Each painting is unique and tells a story. Her abstracts, street scenes and other figurative works are in high demand.
Since 1998, her works are now seen in various galleries and private collections throughout the world. She has received continuous accolades from the press, in both Television and print media. Outside the United States Lisa's artwork has been featured on international satellite TV and on 'Telemundo.' In the US, she has been featured on NBC's 'On The Porch' & 'Rod Starne's Journal,' FOX 'Positively Texas', ABC's 'Texas Country Reporter' & 'Good Morning Texas', in addition, her gallery opening in Dallas was filmed by NBC's Today Show.' The Austin American Statesman' probably expressed her remarkable ability the best. "Lisa Fittipaldi lost her vision but not her determination to express herself artistically. How she paints, however, may remain a mystery. It's the question everybody asks and one that confounds even her."
In April of 1999, Lisa Fittipaldi
began a non profit, tax exempt charity called THE MINDS EYE
as a response to educating the public about blindness and as an advocate
for the approximately 1,000,000 visually impaired, blind and hearing
impaired children in the United States. THE MINDS EYE FOUNDATION
provides educational technology to blind, visually and hearing impaired
children mainstreamed in the educational environment. A portion of
the proceeds from the sale of Lisa Fittipaldi's paintings is donated to
her charity. Lisa Fittipaldi is available to organizations as a
speaker on behalf of these children.
2. Aswan - Lisa has captured the feelings and emotions of a typical Egyptian market in this painting "Aswan Afternoon."
3. Ranjapur - Lisa's interpretive painting of the nonexistent city of "Ranjapur" in India. Inspiration came from listening to the B&W movie, 'The Rains of Ranjapur.'
4. Snowbirds - While staying in Florida one summer, Lisa took early morning walks past the same bench. She said, "It's like the people never moved and they were always there." On returning to her studio, she painted "Snow Birds"
5. Streetdreams - While traveling through South America, Lisa attempted to capture the poverty, yet richly fulfilled and tranquil lives of the people in "Street Dreams."
--By Al James and Lisa Fittipaldi
--Visit Lisa's Web Site