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Meet Lisa Gizara, a nationally-acclaimed Westford artist


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WESTFORD — Expressive, sensitive, and liberating are a few words to describe Lisa Gizara’s work.

With a focus on abstract paintings and black and white film photography, Gizara has caught the eye of several celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence and Bruce Dern. 

Today, she works out of her studio in Santa Monica, California it all began in the heart of Westford.

Finding inspiration 

Her inspiration started when her family moved from Illinois to their new home in Westford. At 13, she recalls laying in a field, looking at the sky, and immediately started seeing images being formed by the clouds.

 “I was always visually attuned and always wanted to seek adventure and Westford was good for that,” Gizara told WestfordCAT.

Gizara’s parents supported their daughter through outdoor painting lessons and introducing her to photography. Gizara’s first introduction to oil painting was during her work as a babysitter for Westford resident Anne Pyra, who Gizara notes taught her to mix colors. 

During her time at Westford Academy, Gizara became acquainted with her late art teacher Charles MacGregor, who taught Gizara effective image composition for her pieces. She credits McGregor for teaching her high-level composition, where he channeled her “wild” side into her work. 

After graduating from Westford Academy in 1978, Gizara attended the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in 1982. 

Gizara’s studio was, and always has been, a safe haven for her.  Despite this, she believes art comes from inspiration.

“You don’t need a studio to be an artist, she said.”

Gizara prefers to paint her work, but her photography fills in the gaps.. 

“When I can’t paint, I shoot. When I can’t shoot, I paint”, Gizara said.

She has since moved to California and has not returned to Westford since. “It feels like anything is possible [in California],” Gizara said.

Featuring her artwork 

Gizara’s work is featured in film and television like Mad Men, Inventing Anna, Modern Family, The Kaminsky Method, Captain Marvel, and countless others. A number of her works have been displayed in shows from California to Portugal.

Her photographs, exhibited in the San Francisco Airport, the Annenberg Space for Photography and the G2 Gallery in Venice, California. Her work has been featured in Variety, People, and Entertainment Weekly magazines. A Portfolio of her work was also put in gift bags in the 2014 Oscar Nominees.

Despite her recent successes, she struggled throughout her career. She landed her first successful job as a real estate photographer in Los Angeles, later landing a new job as a public relations photographer. Through these experiences, she continued work as a photographer for several films and commercials. 

“My entire life has been making less money in short periods of time, leaving space and time for me to paint,” Gizara said. 

Even with her challenges, Gizara remained optimistic that new opportunities would arise. “The universe always puts someone in your path,” Gizara said. 

She noted that during her work as a videographer, Gizara met the late Guy Webster, an La-based rock and roll photographer. Gizara helped him produce “Big Shots”, showcasing his 50 year career shooting the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and many others. 

In Gizara’s interview with WestfordCAT, she pulled out her very first painting: dark green, navy, and orange abstract acrylics, swirled to formulate the oak tree and pond in a Concord farming field- all on a medium sized canvas. 

After sharing, Gizara said she most definitely sees herself coming back to Westford to do a show with prints. 

“There is beauty found in all things,” Gizara told Artist Up Close.


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Aubrey Benoit
Aubrey Benoit
Aubrey is a fourth-year English/Journalism student at the University of New Hampshire and is interning as a staff writer with WestfordCAT. When Aubrey isn’t photographing, she’s writing. When she’s not writing, she’s photographing (or spending time with her siamese cat, Walter– named after her favorite show, Breaking Bad).

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