Artist Lisa Karen Ward was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Shortly after her birth, her father took a job that moved the family to Matthews, North Carolina, just outside the financial town of Charlotte. They stayed there for the greater part of a decade, and a significant portion of Lisa’s childhood was spent running around in the woods behind their house and playing with nature. Her family did a lot of camping, hiking and other outdoor activities, which further nurtured her love of wildlife and their habitats. Finally, the Wards returned to their Tampa home. Her mother’s family originally arrived there in the 1800s from Spain by way of Cuba and opened a cigar factory and a grocery store in Ybor City, the historic Latin quarter of Tampa.
Lisa showed an interest in the visual arts at a very young age, and her parents encouraged this by enrolling her in various coursework in art technique throughout her life. An equally important love in Lisa’s young life was zoology. She would sit for hours in the yard observing insects. She attended Florida State University, later transferred to Florida Atlantic University where she earned her degree in biology. Since then, she has worked as a wildlife biologist, reptile keeper, animal registrar, recorded chimpanzee behavior as part of a project set up by The Jane Goodall Institute, and worked with sawgrass on an Everglades restoration project. During the same time period, she painted masterpiece reproductions, by such popular artists as Miro, Picasso and Matisse, for an art reproduction company.
Lisa’s work appears in private collections internationally. She is published in Coastal Living magazine, and her artwork was chosen to decorate their Apollo Beach, Florida, Idea House. She served on the board of Gala Corina, a non-profit arts organization in Tampa, Florida, and produced an annual art show with a roster of more than 100 artists. She was a top 3 finalist in the category of Best Local Visual Artist for Creative Loafing magazine’s 2008 Best of the Bay awards. One of her pieces was chosen by the Westshore Alliance Public Art Committee in Tampa, Florida for their 2007 banner program and was on display in the Westshore district of Tampa during the Spring of 2007. Her artwork is also featured in a video commissioned by the Tampa Chamber of Commerce to promote the city nationally called Creative City. She earned the nickname “the bug lady” because she created an entire art exhibit, including a functioning 6 foot tall can of Raid, on the conservation of beneficial insects.
Lisa recently “retired” from the Department of Biological Operations at The Florida Aquarium as the Animal Registrar. While working there, she was chosen and fully sponsored by AZA, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, to attend a workshop in Rotterdam as one of 40 subject matter experts from all over the world. Their purpose was to build a global database that promotes sharing of standardized and scientifically collected animal data.
Most recently, three of Lisa’s pieces from her bug series were featured on Seasons 3 and 4 of the NBC television show, Parenthood.
She donates a percentage of her sales to various animal shelters, rescue and wildlife organizations.
Lisa is married to her first love from junior high school, whom she got back in touch with via social media after their 20th high school reunion, and has two awesome daughters, Adelaide and Hazel, a huge Golden Retriever/Bernese mountain dog named Hank the Tank, an elderly, dainty but loud, white cat named Abby and a feisty black kitten named Coby. Lisa and her family live in a couple of tiny houses in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can follow their journey to an off grid, sustainable tiny house life through their blog at The Bumbleshack.. Lisa’s favorite activities, besides making art, are spending time out in nature with her family, “creekin'”, hiking, kayaking, animal watching, organic gardening and learning new and better ways to live without harming the earth.
Read more about the artist in a feature article written by Jenny Carey in Flair magazine and in the St. Petersburg Times article, Front Porch: Making Art to Fit the Furniture, by Elizabeth Bettendorf. See her artwork in the pages of Coastal Living magazine’s Apollo Beach Idea House issue.
For more media coverage and to read the articles listed above, please visit Lisa’s Media page.