Exposure to the arts came early for Lisa Candela, born in La Jolla, CA in 1971. She would make annual solo trips to New York City, beginning at the age of 4, to spend the summers with her Grandmother Jeanne Thayer- a Life Trustee of the Museum of Modern Art. Lisa was also deeply inspired through the legacy created by her Great Grandfather, Rosario Candela, one of New York City’s greatest architects. Though it wasn’t until 1992 when her uncle gave her an old Nikon camera that her love for photography and career began. At night she studied photography at UCLA, and during the day, she developed hands on experience by working in a photo lab and documenting her friends- aspiring actors, musicians, models and dancers.
She began traveling into Mexico regularly,
“Mexico has so much to offer in the way of a spiritual journey. Such loyalty, emotion, pride and pain, produce a deep wisdom that reflects the natural rhythm of the Earth”, she moved to Sayulita, Mexico in 2005. Resisting the digital movement, she insisted on shooting her collections with film, for her, in order to express the depths of the moment and richness of the mood she feels the emotion is best translated through the granular and organic nature of film.
Lisa’s portraiture work defined her as an artist with a unique style and a talent for capturing the true essence and eternal beauty of her subjects conveying intense emotion. She is best known for her vibrant, colorful, and vivid sensual imagery, documenting the Latin culture- Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras and Peru. All of which she has exhibited throughout California, Mexico and New York.
With her love for adventure and compassion for people all over the world, her connection with Dan Eldon was inevitable. In the summer of 2006 she left her paradise in Sayulita for the pace of New York City. Lisa gained prominence for her curatorial debut by hand selecting a fine art collection of the late artist and photographer Dan Eldon, whose vast collection of photographs and collages captured a visual legacy of war-torn Africa until his death at the age of 22. Dan Eldon’s photographs and journals document his personal experiences and travels, which speak to larger themes about fearlessness, humanity and the passion of the African people. The success of the one night show led to the creation of her own gallery in SoHo, New York (2007-2009).
The hustle and bustle of New York City combined with her desire to follow her own evolving artistic journey led Lisa to close the gallery and move upstate to the Catskill Mountains. The respite she sought and found fueled the inspiration and creation of the legendary Bohemia Bungalow in Bovina, NY, Lisa’s home and gallery in the quaint mountain town. The Bungalow was a frequent getaway for friends and muses from all over America, functioning almost as a hotel, giving birth to an expansive four-year documentation.
“While living in the Catskills (2009-2013) I learned that the abandoned Gerry Estate, also known as “Broadlands”, had been acquired by the Aman Hotel Group, so I felt it important to document before the rebuild began and there would be no more access to the mansion and its 2000 plus acre grounds. I was friends with the caretaker of the Estate and I was allowed to come and go with my muses as we pleased.”
Lisa was drawn to the Broadlands Estate for its history, abandonment and rich patina,
“As soon as one would step onto the grounds you couldn’t help but imagine what life was like in the turn of the century, when it was pioneered… a life that should be painted. This was my mission for this collection but to paint with the lens.” Lisa’s exhibition Broadlands, was heralded by critics for its exquisite photographs printed on lush watercolor paper depicting Lisa’s muses in the famed Gerry Estate, capturing its timeless glory.
Lisa’s current traveling exhibition HEARTLANDS is a body of work that would not be, if it were not for love. Lisa left the Catskills to photograph the wedding of her dear friends on the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary of western South Dakota, a wedding ceremony that would later earn the honorific title “The Cosmic healing Ceremony of Love”.
It was there that Lisa not only experienced a deep and profound connection with the Sacred Lakota lands but also fell in love herself, which led to her moving to South Dakota in the fall of 2013.
Journeying back to where her and her love met, the two visited the Black Hills frequently compiling what would eventually become the Heartlands collection.
A body of work that captivates the viewer by transporting us back in time prior to the European colonization of North America.
The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary is an 11,000-acre wild mustang preserve, the home to nearly 800 wild mustangs. Also seated on the sanctuary is sacred Lakota ceremonial grounds where their Sundance Ceremony is performed every summer.
“I believe the land remembers the truth and Justice is now left to karma and the cycle of life.”
This collection marks a notable evolution in Lisa’s photographic style, capturing the healing medicines of various native animals in their original habitat, the birthplace of Lakota history- Wind Cave.
A portion of all proceeds from the sales of the Heartlands collection will be given back to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, a privately owned non-profit organization. For more information please visit www.wildmustangs.com
2002 October- First Exhibit in Los Angeles (Private venue)
2003 June- Exhibit for Jagriti Foundation (Private estate)
2004 Contributor for Santa Barbara Magazine (ongoing)
2005 Lived in Sayulita Mexico documenting a Gypsy tribe
2005 Exhibit in San Pancho, Mexico
2006 January - Appointed curator of Dan Eldon Collection
2006 October - First one night show for Dan Eldon NYC
2007 October- Candela/Decker Gallery opens NYC
2008 June- August - "Sayulita" exhibition NYC
2009 Hotel Griffou Exhibit NYC
2009 October/ November- India documentation
2010 Curators choice Exhibit at Chace Randall Gallery in Andes, NY Catskills
2010 November- April "Women" exhibition in Montecito, California at Susan Pitcher
2011 April- Exhibit of "Women" at Lotta Stensson in Los Angeles
2011 November - December at Chace Randall Gallery "Broadlands" (a documentation at the abandoned Gerry mansion)
2014 February – Present MOTUMBA Gallery opens in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
2013- 2014 Heartlands documentation Black Hills, South Dakota
2015 April & May Heartlands Exhibit at Merchant Modern, Los Angeles, California
2015 April- Hearlands Exhibit at Clic Gallery, NYC