For most people, the song “Climb Every Mountain” is a classic tune and a solid metaphor for a life of courage in chasing your dreams. For artist Macey Lipman, it’s also rather literal — from his time in the music business as a pioneering independent marketing guru during rock’s golden age, whose client roster featured Barbra Streisand, Cher, Madonna, Lionel Richie, Rod Stewart, Janet Jackson, Neil Diamond, Dolly Parton, Prince and Tina Turner, to his own second act studying classical painting at Florence’s Michelangelo Accademia D’Arte. And now Lipman debuts works from his newly completed Summit Series, in which he paints vibrant, expressive, epic and whimsical landscapes of the tallest peaks in North and South America. The paintings are on view at his West Hollywood studio through February 21.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
MACEY LIPMAN: My mom took me shopping one day, I was about thirteen. It was a department store in downtown Philadelphia, and they actually had an art department. I got my first whiff of oil paint and was immediately hooked. She bought me a starter paint set and I copied a Swiss scene from a postcard.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
I’m poor at technology but good at painting. I love to paint but [am] miserable when using computers. I have infinite patience for painting and none for tech. Painting gives me solace, that I’m accomplishing something. I interpret what I see into a painting. A lot of my paintings deal with reflection, not as in mirrors, but unexpected places, such as puddles, windows, shiny surfaces. They seem to come up, perhaps as a way of looking at oneself through the process of making the work.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I was in the music/record industry for 35 years and decided to paint full time. That was 2000 when I closed my business. Now I have a gallery and studio and all I do is paint. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I’m 98 percent self-taught. In 2010, I went to Florence, Italy, for two months to study Renaissance methods at the Michelangelo Instituto. I’ve gone back for the last seven years, the school lets me paint and rarely teaches me. I’ve become a part of its landscape, they now give me my own space.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
This city a cultural hub, a center to the entertainment industry. It’s wonderful to meet people who love what they do, and as a “company town” it’s easy to meet creative and talented individuals. I’m in L.A. except for the months of September and October, when I go to Florence to paint.
When was your first show?
My first show was in Tiburon, California (across the bay from San Francisco), a solo show. That same year, I sold work at the LACMA sales and rental gallery in December.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show?
In 2018, I showed paintings from my Cuba series at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery in Manhattan. I’m excited to be showing my newest works, “The Summit Series” at my own studio and gallery in West Hollywood at 511 N. La Cienega Blvd. The exhibition will be on view through February 21.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show with?
Claude Monet. David Hockney. Caravaggio.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
Yes I listen to three stations 89.3 (current events), 88.1 (Jazz) and 91.5 (Classical), plus a wealth of CDs.
Website and social media, please!