Through the Looking Glass

Lia Burke Libaire’s take on botanicals goes beyond the expected. “Combining colorful mushrooms with different animals, stars and plants in a surreal and light-hearted fashion,” she says, “is an idea I’ve had in my mind for a while.” Lia’s unique and quirky way of portraying traditional flora and fauna can be found in glossies like Vogue and Garden and Gun, as well as through brand collaborations. “I hope my art brings a sense of nature, beauty, calm, and joy,” she says.


 Lia Burke Libaire



Charleston, South Carolina


Calligraphy pen, ink dip, ink drawing, watercolor & saturated colored inks



Where do you live?

I live in Charleston, SC, with my husband and two children, Brier, 4, and Henry 1.5. I moved here 5 years ago from NYC bc my husband was living here. 

What is your day-to-day like?

Every day is different depending on current deadlines and projects. I try to start my day with emails, billing, etc to get it off my plate and then try to square away at least a couple of hours for actual painting and art. I think it’s really important to ‘play’ or experiment with new mediums and ideas when the schedule allows. 

What is your medium?

I draw with a calligraphy pen and dip ink, which is a bit unusual, and then I use watercolor and saturated colored inks once the initial ink underlay has dried.  

Where do you find your inspiration? 

Nature is my biggest inspiration- Flora and fauna, animals, the sea, astrology. Interior design and art books, scientific drawings, the list goes on and on… 

I try to create artwork that feels timeless and classic in a fresh, new, maybe even familiar way.. and for it to evoke a sense of beauty, peace, fun, and nature.  

Do you have a signature color or palette? 

I would probably have to say green! 

A lot of what I paint is botanical so there is typically a fair amount of green happening. It’s not a color or palette but I’d also say that stripes are also a signature design aspect in a lot of my work. 

How did you get started making art?

I have always been fascinated by drawing, painting, and art in general. I went to a boarding school where the art program was very intensive, standing and looking while drawing/painting for 3 or 4 hours at a time, several times a week. I veered away from visual art in college and then worked for a furniture company for over a decade! 

About 10 years ago, I went through a big life change and realized how crucial it was for me to be creating… I began painting again for myself and slowly started sharing and then selling my work. 





Tell us about your new work on ArtStar.  

The idea for the mushroom series is something that I’ve had in my mind for a while.. Combining my colorful mushrooms with different animals, stars, and plants in a surreal and light-hearted fashion. A fun new take on more traditional botanical pieces.  

The animals on stripes combine two of my favorite subjects that often appear in my work. The striped backgrounds bring a unique graphic element to the animals. 

I intentionally created two of them to have vertical stripes, with the third having horizontal stripes. As a set of three, I think it makes the set more unexpected/unique, and then any two (either both vertical or one vertical and one horizontal) will also work well together. In the bigger formats, they could certainly stand alone as well.

Most rewarding — or surprising! — part of the job?

I’d say seeing my artwork hang in people’s personal spaces is the most rewarding aspect of my job. It is a true honor when people select my art as part of their sacred personal environments. 

How do you want people to feel when they experience your art?

I hope my art brings a sense of nature, beauty, calm, and joy to both onlookers and their surroundings. 

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