Lisa Iannello


In my early teens I had already considered myself an artist, having painted my first canvas. Significant at that time was a serious illness I developed, which led to a medically-induced coma, long-term hospital stay, and ensuing recovery therapy- the experience forever changed my life; intertwining my interest in art and biology.

Soon after my recovery I began studying biology more, specifically about the brain; and grew to call my interest the “coma” puzzle. In college I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Medical Illustration, which included gross anatomy from University of Rochester School of Medicine, and was employed as a medical artist for many years; as a freelance artist for medical publications; for a hospital creating artwork for research projects and publications; then as an art gallery director; nonprofit executive director, fundraiser, and grant writer; and at the same time working on ideas in my own studio – where I keep sketchbooks full of abstract renderings, illustrations, medical research articles, and thoughts on ways to express the fleeting sensory alertness I felt while in the coma.

For the last 10 years, I have been painting landscapes on location in the open full air (en plein air) and then painting abstracted versions of the same landscapes in my studio. I thought landscapes were about the furthest topic from my “coma” puzzle- until, I realized the tone of these paintings starting to capture the feeling I have been seeking.

Now some 30 years later, I am at the point of solving the puzzle as my coma sketches are beginning to merge with the ideas and feelings I am currently expressing in acrylic paint on canvas and watercolor paint on archival board and paper.

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