Liza Kaplan has painted a series of portraits, “a snapshot of Sydney DIY right now”

By Damian Sawyers
Unbelievably Bad Contributor


Liza Kaplan is a Sydney-based artist that has been making a name by creating some amazing hand-painted posters for gigs in Sydney and Newcastle over the past couple of years.

Liza has an exhibition coming up with a series of portraits of friends and it features a few musicians from the local scene.

Unbelievably Bad asked a few questions to promote the show and get a bit of a backstory on Liza’s art.



Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming show and the inspiration behind your work?
My upcoming show is a series of portraits painted from live sittings of friends of mine who are musicians, artists and fixtures of the DIY Sydney scene. Spending all this time with these distinctive and creative people has inspired me to capture their likeness as a kind of snapshot of the Sydney DIY scene right now.

I recently read an article about your street art, can you give us a bit of a backstory on what you were doing ?
My street is fuelled by insomnia and alcohol to be honest. The medium is paste up, stickers ’n’ quick Sharpie doodles. It is something I still do on occasion but nowhere near as much as I used to a couple of years back. I have always been attracted to the look of urban decay, which is now sadly being replaced by gentrified cleaness but if you go into the backstreets of Marrickville and Newtown the fantastic filth is still there and that is where I would do my paste-ups. Kinda ironically two photographs of my paste-ups have ended up on that cool, hip street art photography wall at The Vic.


Do you have any artists that inspired you that you would like to mention and describe what about them influenced your work?
My biggest artistic influences are Frida Kahlo, Otto Dix, Robert Crumb and Egon Schiele. They are all artists whose majority of work was all figurative and portraiture and all these artists made regular appearances in their own work, sort of writing their life narrative through painting and illustration and I guess that’s how I approach my practice too.


What musicians are in the upcoming show?
There’s Lincoln Brown (Housewives, Ghastly Spats, Delivery Boys, etc), Laura Hunt (Ghastly Spats and WDK), you [Damo] and Mert in the Warm Feelings, Agrocalm, Black Turtles. Amaya Lang and Nev [Matt Neville] are in Mope City and snotty babies. Nev is also in Day Ravies and Shrapnel. Colin Thompson is also in Ghastly Spats, God K, Burra Burra and Angie band. Everyone else is either writers, photographers and a costume designer.


In an age where gig posters are usually done on computers it is refreshing to see hand painted art on posters, Can you tell us about some of the band posters you have done?
I love doing posters, to me it’s a lot more leisurely to do it by hand rather than sitting in front of the computer. I tend to do posters for friends’ bands when they ask, or shows I put on myself. If you’d like to commission me for an original poster, album art, whatever swing us an email at




Portraits by Liza will be exhibited tomorrow, Thursday, May 26, at Buzzbar Café, 349 King St, Newtown from 6pm.

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