During the day, Lizz Lopez might be found in the operating room working with surgeons as an anesthesiologist at a major L.A.-area hospital. During the night, she is still surrounded by anatomy and body parts, but in her art studio as a professional artist and painter. “I have degrees in both fine art and anesthesia,” Lopez says. “I work three days a week at the hospital, and four days a week I make art.”
Lopez’s special talents are in dark yet beautiful paintings and intricate drawings of skulls and other body parts; a common theme is human anatomy. Lopez mostly uses graphite in these custom-crafted, exquisitely detailed paintings that stir up morose and tragic emotions of melancholy and an obsession with death in her macabre, biologically based conceptual art.
Lopez uses her expertise in the medical field and anatomy in her art, a feature that sets her apart from other artists. “I’ve spent a good amount of my life obsessed with anatomy and biology,” she says. “I spend a lot of time in operating rooms, and when I am exposed to anatomy it definitely influences my art. I am lucky to be able to work with some great surgeons in a hospital setting.”
Though Lopez essentially has two careers, she finds harmony in her time between work at the hospital and creating art in her studio. “It balances in my life, because I don’t have to be at the hospital all the time,” she said. Despite having more than half of her schedule dedicated to creating art, Lopez admits it is not enough. “I have four to five days a week for art, but I wish I could do it full-time seven days a week. The most challenging thing is time for me,” she said.
“Muerte” — Lopez’s debut showing of her art in the flesh, so to speak — happened at L.A.’s Lethal Amounts art gallery downtown on Saturday, Aug. 25, and was well received by the crowd. “I’ve been going to events at Lethal Amounts a few years now. I am well aware of the vibe and I knew it was the perfect place for my first show,” Lopez says. “I knew I didn’t have to worry about conservative crowds. I had a lot of fun — we had a great turnout!”
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Lopez, originally from Texas, was raised in a religious family, and was obsessed with horror stories and darker art from a young age. “My artwork and paintings, they are kind of like stories,” she said. “They aren’t totally horrifying but they are allegorical stories in pencil and graphite.”
As is the case with many artists, Lopez finds the creative process is cathartic and spiritual. “When you are drawing and closest to this process, you tap into an energy that is greater than yourself,” she says. “It’s meditative — it’s like a possession; you get lost in your work and are a vehicle or medium for the work you are creating.”
Follow Lizz Lopez on Instagram @Onemorefix.
Lethal Amounts, 1226 W. Seventh St., downtown; (213) 265-7452, lethalamounts.com; Sat.-Sun., noon-8 p.m.; free.