Celebrate Austin design through a week of free workshops, talks, studio tours and events this November as the city celebrates its creative community in the third annual Austin Design Week.

Morphing Dreams Into Reality with Liza Fishbone

Last week, I enjoyed a cup of coffee and the, unfortunately temporary, nice and cool weather at Cenote with local street artist Liza Fishbone. Liza, originally from St, Louis, has recently found her home here in the colorful city of Austin— locals, don’t kick this one out, she’s really cool, I promise.

Read on to discover what fuels Liza’s inspiration, artistic talent, and capability of morphing dreams into art.

Where do you find inspiration? How do you integrate inspiration into your art?

“A lot of my art has to do with motion, nature, and dreams. Not necessarily my dreams, just the ideas of dreams—kind of like creating alternate realities that exist in my head. I'm really inspired by the dream state.I also look at a lot of nature and shapes and how you can transform and interpret them. I'm working on how to convey motions and time warps in my chalk art.

“Because the mediums I use are so different, the various art I create is also very different. I use chalk, spray paint, and acrylic paint. I also have a performance troop called The Moon Puppies and it's a psychedelic wonderland where we build installations and immersive experiences.”

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I'm really inspired by the dream state.

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What are some of your favorite local street art or artists that inspire you?

“A lot of my friends—I hang out with a lot of street artists. There are local people that I don't personally know, like Lucas Aoki. My friends have this thing called Fever Dream, and they're projection and video production artists. They create crazy psychedelic animations that are played at concerts. Basically, these local artists, whether I know them are not give me inspiration. Other artists that aren’t local are Salvador Dali, Dr. Suess, and Yayoi Kusama.”

What are some of your favorite places you’ve been?

“Japan is my favorite place that I've ever been. I backpacked there for two and a half months, and I’ve been to Tokyo, which is a wonderland. There are three cities I've been to in my life where I feel that I belong there: Austin, Tokyo, and Berlin. Berlin has a gritty art scene—I love places where people make stuff.”

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There are three cities I've been to in my life where I feel that I belong there: Austin, Tokyo, and Berlin.

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What is the best advice you have received?

“I have two—one from high school and one from college. My high school studio art teacher gave me this advice: say no to no’. He got me to understand that when you're making art, you have to make it for yourself—not to please anyone else, like your teacher. Students would say stuff like ‘I think our teacher will like this, so I'm gonna draw it this way.’ And my teacher told me to make art for myself.

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Best advice I've received: 'Say no to no'.

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“I am a fashion design major, and in college at Syracuse, I had a fashion professor there who told me to make things familiar, yet irritating.”

How would you define art?

“Define art, whoa, I don't know, that’s a good question. Design is solving a problem. Art is self-expression.”

What sets Austin apart from anywhere else?

“The support surrounding art and public art is stronger in Austin. People are more collaborative and open to art. St. Louis, where I’m from, has an underground art scene. In Austin, there's a public art organization who oversees art in public places. There are also murals and art everywhere, and it's just not that way back home.”

What do you see as the future of street art?

“I can tell you about the future of Chalk Riot, which is our company of 5 artists. We are a gritty professional chalk street art company, and we get hired by corporate clients to do marketing and activations at events—like making art for photo operations and call-to-actions. We do chalk murals, like at Washington University in St. Louis and couple different other colleges. In DC, we were hired by Greenpeace to do an anamorphic piece. It basically looked like a pipe coming out of the ground.

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“We're starting to brand into 4D art and branch out in the tech world, which will deal with light space around the piece. We will be integrating augmented reality (AR) and sound into the 4D art, and collaborating with Art St. Louis and Heavy Projects (an AR company in San Francisco) and we’re launching in 2018! We're looking to create an environment where you step into the artwork. We’re figuring out: How can we play with sound and introducing other elements so it's not only on the ground? Basically, you'll be able to hold your phone up to the chalk and AR stuff will happen in your phone.”

What’s the last great book you read? Any other resources?

Name of the Wind is a series sort of like if Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter had a baby. It's amazing! I am also really big on Instagram, that's like all I look at. I look at all of the street art accounts, like:

  • @friendswithyou
  • @leonkeer
  • @fanakapan
  • @wd_wilddrawing
  • @lolo.ys
  • @julia.zipporah (my friend)
  • @lurissu (my friend)

What can attendees expect during your workshop with Chalk Riot?

“We're going to be exploring the history of chalk, which is pretty interesting, because it goes back a really long time. We'll be talking about where chalk art is at today and looking at the future with the 4D and tech stuff. We're also going to get our hands kind of dirty and practice with some chalk.”

After meeting with Liza, I discovered something crazy!! Art is literally EVERYWHERE in Austin. For real, guys. You may be thinking duh, but next time on your way to work or the grocery store, just look around and pay attention to your surroundings (don’t crash), and I guarantee you will be surprised by the infinite snippets of art. Thank you, Liza for opening me up to this.

The Past, Present, and Future of Chalk


You can catch her and her team, Chalk Riot on Nov. 9th in a workshop during Austin Design Week! Be there or be ⬛ .


The Austin Design Week Blog is curated and produced in partnership with Left Right Media. Left Right Media is a creative agency in Austin, specializing in branding, web design, app design and digital strategy. Their success is a result of both an analytical (left) and creative (right) approach to design.