We first saw Lilo’s work on Instagram when she was doing the mural for Outline at NoHo, new homes being built in North Hollywood. The name Verono Homes chose for their new homes and Lilo’s style are a perfect match.
“I had been admiring Lilo’s work for a long time now. When we started working on this North Hollywood project, I learned she was a local resident and lover of the neighborhood and I knew I wanted to use her for some kind of art installation inside the residences and the mural idea came alive. I just love the way she depicts the emotions and people that make up North Hollywood.” – Christine Ver Raitt, Co-founder Verono Homes and Outline at NoHo
We asked NoHo visual artist Lilo more about her work and background because, afterall, NoHo is only as great as it’s people. (The unofficial NoHo Arts District motto)
How long have you lived in the NoHo Arts District and what made you decide to move to the district?
I moved to NoHo 5 years ago.
A year earlier I had moved from Denmark to LA with my husband. But for many reasons we ended up calling it quits after 15 years together.
So there I was: Heartbroken, alone in a foreign country, unemployed, single, no credit score, no friends, no family, no car and not a dollar to my name.
Very early on in my life I promised myself to live my life the way I wanted and not like anybody expected me to. To always take chances and never let life get so comfortable that I could ever look back and say “what if…”
So even though I was on a crazy emotional rollercoaster I decided to stay in LA, challenge myself and see where life would take me.
I had seen a house for rent in NoHo on Craigslist. It was waaay over my budget, but after looking at 25 houses all over LA I decided to go see it anyway.
As soon as I pulled up in the tree lined street, my landlord opened the gate, and I saw butterflies flying around, the pool lying there glimpsing and glittering in the sun and the bird’s singing drowned the buzz from the traffic – I knew I was home!
I now had an expensive house without friends or money. But the amazing thing about NoHo is the neighbors! They came to my rescue and still do from time to time.
I quickly found really good friends in my street and even though I was living in a house with nothing but my bed I woke up every morning feeling so lucky. Lucky to live in a place where I felt safe, welcomed and myself.
And nothing of that has changed. I still love waking up in the morning hearing the neighborhood buzzing: Birds singing, my neighbors chatting away in the street, wishing each other a wonderful day, playing guitars, partying and dogs barking in excitement.
The only difference now is that I have a bit more furniture and friends and neighbors that I consider family. We help each other with everything from rent, careers and love issues.
What is your history as a TV producer?
Art hasn’t always been my business. It has always been part of me, but never something I thought I would end up earning a living on.
Back in Denmark I was a successful TV producer, show runner and developer of new TV formats.
I have produced shows like “X-factor” and “Topmodel” and I have created at lot of shows, amongst them my pride and joy: The social experiment “Married at First Sight” – a TV format that is now being produced in 26 different countries in multiple seasons. It runs on A&E here in the US.
It is a crazy feeling to think that because of an idiotic idea me and a friend of mine got – people all over the world are getting married to strangers, fall in love and some of them even have babies!
You can see Lilo’s mural at Outline at NoHo at 11324 Victory Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91606
What made you quit the TV industry to become a visual artist?
I always loved telling stories. On every show I have ever worked on I always tried to be true to the people in the show. Whether I produced shows with royals, tattoo artists, doctors, criminals, actors, sports stars or people looking for the one and only, I always made sure to get really close to them to discover the stories and personality trades that would fascinate me and do my best to convert it into stories that were both visual and emotional appealing to others. And hopefully could help change the view, perspective and break down prejudices in the audience.
But as any job you put your heart and hard work into, working on big shows can be stressful and you can easily get lost in telling everybody else’s stories all day.
So almost every night I came home after a 16 hour workday I would go home and doodle: Draw my own stories before I went to bed.
A few would make it on to my own walls, but most of them would end up in the trash. I never considered them anything special. Just my little private doodle outlet. Some of my drawings and paintings ended up in friend’s homes and from them I got offers doing everything from exhibitions to comic books. But I always declined since I never thought of myself as an artist and to be honest I always thought the art world was too posh, uptight and foo foo for me.
A year and a half ago I was redecorating my living room (yes! I have furniture I can move around now!) and needed something on my walls. I looked high and low, but couldn’t really find the right thing. So I decided to make some myself.
After posting it on my private Instagram account with a random hashtag, an art collector from NY contacted me and asked to buy one of my pieces. “Pieces” I thought and laughed it off. To me they were just doodles that made my house look a little more homey. But his message and enthusiasm slowly made me realize that it was time to stop keeping my stories to myself and let them see the light of day on paper.
So long story short: After a lot of hard work I now work on my art full time! And I love telling my stories this way.
I still produce a TV show once in a while when something comes up that I just can’t say no to, but I can feel myself getting more and more comfortable calling myself an artist and I am no longer afraid of the art world. The people I work with are actually not as uptight as I thought. They are really awesome, passionate and inspiring to be around.
Tell us about other art projects that you have worked on in the San Fernando Valley or L.A.?
Last year I was asked to be part of a showcase in South Central. It was the first time I showed my work in public. I had shown my work on Instagram of course. But it is easy to hide behind a post online. It was a totally different experience standing in the room being judged live by the audience.
I was nervousited – nervous and exited at the same time, but one thing that really surprised me was that I got horribly shy when people were standing staring at them and judging my work with a drink in their hand.
What is oneline drawing?
Right now I do oneline drawings in black and white.
It is actually a technique i learned in art class in primary school, which many great artists have experimented with before me.
I love the naive simplicity and the fact that one simple black line can end up expressing something. And then It is a really fun challenge to tell a story in one continuous line and creating my own personal style within the constraints.
I get quite a lot of commission requests. But I haven’t done any so far cause I never draw what I see, I draw feelings and stories.
Every drawing tells a really personal story about me which is probably also why I got so shy at my first art show. It felt like I was butt naked in the room, while somebody was shouting out my deepest secrets and desires from the top of their lungs. I was totally unprepared for that, but it taught me a lot about myself and was a very humbling experience.
When inspiration hits me I always put my favorite playlist on and go to work. Most of the time it happens in the middle of the night.
At times like that I can keep going with little or any sleep. And then there are times of course when all I do is garbage.
So ever so often I cancel plans at the very last minute because I am on a roll. It makes me a horrible friend, but lucky for me I have friends, family and a fantastic ex husband who supports me and puts up with it – and me!
PS! This year my art will be featured in Elle Decor, Bravo TV and in Better Homes and Gardens (YAY!)
Stay tunes for more news on the new Outline at NoHo. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at these new North Hollywood homes.
**** For information on Los Angeles theatre, tickets to theatre in North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts District, theatre reviews, the NoHo Event Calendar, restaurants, news and local businesses in NoHo, or anything and everything about the NoHo Arts Community, bookmark nohoartsdistrict.com. Follow us on Twitter @OfficialNoHo. On Instagram @NoHoArtsDistrict and Facebook @NoHoArtsDistrict.