Fox Hollow Vineyards is a New Jersey winery that reached out to me in 2016 after coming across one of my fox portraits online. I designed the label for their premier red and white wines, including the fox portrait and the fox-hunt pattern used in the background, which was also used for tablecloths and napkins for the winery’s launch party. In 2018, I created the artwork for their new line of rosé wines featuring the Great Gatsby Fox and accompanying Art Deco fan pattern-intending to convey the feeling of a Jazz Age lawn party.
The Writer's Chronicle
The Writer's Chronicle has given me some of my most challenging, and rewarding, assignments. The editor generally gives me total freedom, sending me the manuscripts and asking me to come up a concept. These assignments always allow me to stretch my imagination, and so I always look forward to my next collaboration with them.
The Rabbit Coffee Roasting Co.
The Rabbit Coffee Roasting Co. purchased my “White Rabbit” portrait to be their brand spokesperson, using the image in all of their product branding and advertising. They also commissioned an enormous hand-painted reproduction of the original painting to grace the walls of their new Palm Beach, Florida, café.
Nick & Nora
For 20 years, I created original hand-painted designs for apparel brand Nick & Nora, most of which were used for pajamas. Some were specialty designs for companies such as Planters Peanuts, Oreo Cookies, Animal Crackers, and Milk Bone, and many were licensed by Sleepyheads and Target. Below are some of my favorite from my long and fulfilling collaboration with Nick & Nora.
I have worked with Publix supermarkets on a handful of projects for their house-brand products and special events, and each one has brought its own set of delicious challenges. Their line of specialty teas was a particularly enjoyable project, as I had a chance to use my love of surface design to create different patterns on the china cups and background.
I have been enchanted by whimsical animal characters for as long as I can remember. Inspired by fairy tales, cartoons, and Disney films from my childhood, I delve into the soul of each animal to create an imaginary personality. I love researching clothing from different eras to place them not only in an alternate world but also a historic time period to imbue the portraits with the sense of nostalgia that I feel when painting them.
These more eccentric portraits are a nostalgic depiction of a lifelong passion for the odd and quirky. Victorian Gothic characters exist alongside Retro food icons and 1950’s Sci-Fi creatures, all of which hold a special place in my heart.
Puppet in the Pantry
I designed and painted the images for the retro puppet theater Puppet in the Pantry. Founders Brian and Hanson envisioned a puppet theater with a vintage sideshow. The first thing we did was decide to put their dog Daisy and my dog Bingo's portraits dressed as clowns on the antique doors for the front. The space was tall and narrow, so I designed a scroll pattern to frame the portraits and painted it in gold metallic. We used this gold ornamentation on the other pieces to tie it all together.
They worked with a carpenter, who created a wooden die cut for the front of the theater. Brian and Hanson sell vintage toys and wanted me to add some toy soldiers, and since Brian used to be a Broadway dancer he wanted a comedy and tragedy mask as well. The basic shape of the curtains and footlights were already die cut, so I came up with some dramatic drapery to give it depth.
For the sides of the theater, they wanted to use my Mr. Peanut and Mr. Softee portraits as old theater posters. I gave the portraits yellowed, ragged edges and faded them a bit in Photoshop to age them. Then I added in old-fashioned hand-shaped arrows pointing to the stage door and the ticket booth.
I have always been an avid reader with a particular interest in Victorian mysteries, detective novels, and early science fiction. I began this series of literary portraits with three of my favorite authors: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, and Edgar Allan Poe. These paintings gave me the chance to portray the elements of some of my favorite stories and led to a series of accompanying literary posters. I am presently hopping into the 20th century to explore some of my favorite female mystery writers, beginning with none other than the grande dame of detective fiction, Agatha Christie herself.
In this project, done on spec for a cheese company in NJ, we wanted to represent 3 major types of cheese from each type of dairy animal. I wanted the animals faces to be bold and convey a bit of their character. Framing them in a laurel wreath gave the sense that they are looking through a window and coming into our own space.
Mostly Dogs, Some Cats
I hail from a long line of ardent dog lovers, so it is no surprise that I love painting our canine and sometimes our feline companions. Aside from my commissioned portraits, my own dogs frequently appear in my paintings. My dog Bingo’s spooky adventure portraits have become a Halloween-card tradition. I thoroughly enjoy portraying a client’s pet as they imagine them, and no request is too unusual. I work from a series of photographs they provide and use my imagination to transform the pet, perhaps into a member of the Medici family or as a pair of turn-of-the-century New York gang ruffians!
Some years ago, I had the pleasure of doing this series of fanciful spot food illustrations for Shoprite condiments, and they’re still in use today. They bring a smile to my face each time I pass them in my local grocery store.
I can trace my love of repeating pattern all the way back to the rose trellis wallpaper that hung in the bedroom of our summer house in Wildwood, NJ. I used to stare at it endlessly from the lower bunk bed I shared with my sister and delight in finding the point at which the pattern would repeat across the wall. These hand-painted damasks, florals, and conversational prints have been applied to apparel, bedding, tabletop, and wallpaper. Over the years, I’ve created designs for Nick & Nora, Town & Country Living, the Gap, Limited Express, Springs, and Echo scarves.
In 2002, I collaborated with writer James Waller on two books published by Harry N. Abrams: The Well-Bred Dog: Lisa Zador's Cabinet of Curious Canines and The Well-Bred Cat: Lisa Zador's Folio of Fabulous Felines.