Lisa Barcy

The Ephemeral Orphanage (still-image)
719K; mixed media, analog and digital techniques; 15:00 minutes; 2020

Lisa Barcy

Chicago, Illinois, USA


I work in a variety of media including collage, digital media, and animation, but one thing my different bodies of work have in common is that they begin with images I find, and a willingness to engage with these materials on a highly tactile level. There is a sense of discovery and delight that comes with piecing together ideas from found objects and images. Depending on the source, the results may be more narrative in nature and other times abstract experiments in composition and color. I find paying a lot of attention to intricate details allows for a mindset bent on discovery as I dissect patterns, and weave images and colors without preconceived notions of the end result. Coming from a background in animation, I find it impossible to avoid humor and absurdity, both qualities that can act as a conduit to darker emotions and biting commentary. With that in mind, I’m not interested in exacting interpretations of my work, but more a shared experience that is not always easy for viewers to articulate. The final pieces vary from the ridiculous to the formal, and sometimes a combination of both.


Lisa Barcy is a filmmaker and artist whose films include The Ephemeral Orphanage, Mermaid, Fôret, and The Guilt Trip, or the Vaticans Take a Holiday. Her work has been screened internationally at festivals such as Chicago International Film Festival, The Ottawa International Animation Festival, The Artist’s Forum, Slamdance, and many more.

She has been awarded the Director’s Citation three times at The Black Maria (now Thomas Edison) Film Festival, and Best Animation at both the Chicago Underground Film Festival and The Ann Arbor Film Festival.

In a previous life, she’s created puppets for Chicago experimental theater companies including Redmoon Theater, Blair Thomas and Co., and Cabinet of Curiosity Events. More recently she’s created music videos, and animated projections for local dance company The Seldoms.

She’s also curated animation screenings and conducted collage animation workshops for Kolaj Fest New Orleans. She has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an MA from Columbia College’s Interdisciplinary Arts program and teaches animation at DePaul University.



Examples of Collage in Motion

The Ephemeral Orphanage

The Ephemeral Orphanage (still-image)
1.74 GB (film) 44mb (trailer); mixed media, analog and digital techniques; 15:00 minutes; 2020

A group of tattered paper dolls daydream alternate realities and surreptitiously explore the hidden lives of their strict and secretive caregivers. Hijinks ensue and discoveries are made as the characters live out their childhood fantasies. Created with found paper dolls cut from a 1920’s newspaper and found in an attic, the film explores the adults attempt to dictate what girls learn, and the children’s talent for discovering forbidden knowledge.



Forêt (still-image)
7.2GB; paper, ink, digital techniques; 03:48 minutes; 2019

Animated iterations and recursions made 64 with 2″x3″ collages form a hypnotic bombardment of color and shapes, accompanied by music from Malian artist Luka Productions.