Liesel Rabussay is the eponymous art photography shop of one up-and-coming D.C.-born, Brooklyn-bred Etsyian.
“School was never my thing,” Liesel says, and the way her attention quickly wavers when my headphone wires slip out of my pocket and dangle before her, I can see how a traditional three-Rs education might not have been her thing. “The only thing that kept me from dropping out were the art classes. I was headed down a dark path. Who knows where I would've ended up if I hadn't discovered visual art." Her eyes wander once more, and I assume she is lost in reminiscence until I see her eyes have locked on a little tumbleweed of fluff and dust that has collected under a chair leg.
A quick snap of my fingers and she's back to the conversation at hand.
"I find inspiration all over the place. Every little corner of the house changes every single day. Sometimes the corner will not have a beam of sunlight in it and it's completely boring, but then other times - all of a sudden the corner will be soaked in sunlight, warm sunlight that makes me want to curl up and sleep and sleep until the sunlight goes away again and then I move on, inspired to create."
"I settled on photography because I like to really be in this moment right now, and of all the visual art I've worked in photography best captures that. Also, I don't have opposable thumbs, and with my camera on a tripod I just have to push one button."
"I've struggled with addiction," her eyes go a bit glassy, and though she does not say it I know she lost at least one year of artistic production due to her catnip dependency. "And again, art was my way out. It really has been my salvation."
I ask if this relationship with art inspired her shop's unique payment terms - Liesel does not accept cash for her art, but insists on being paid in fish. She responds a bit testily, "I'm a little tired of being asked about that. NEXT QUESTION."
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A can of salmon. An open can! That is on the floor!
2. What is your greatest fear?
3. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
4. Which living person do you most admire?
Dalton Rooney, who feeds me several times a day and sometimes gives me anti-hairball treats.
5. Do you have a theme song, and what is it?
"Tradition," from "Fiddler on the Roof."
6. What is the trait you most like in yourself?
7. What is the trait you most like in others?
8. What is your greatest extravagance?
I live extremely frugally.
9. When and where were you happiest?
When I am eating fish.
10. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I am perfect. I would change nothing.
11. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Surviving in a world run by idiots.
I have already achieved the highest state of being. I should hope to repeat it.
13. What is your most treasured possession?
My little red mousie.
14. Which talent or skill would you most like to have?
I have all the skills I require: excellent balance, a great voice, and incredible flexibility. There really is no improving me.
15. Who are your heroes in real life?
I am my own hero. For I am the most fantastic.
16. What is it the one thing you dislike the most?
When I am being petted the wrong way.
17. What is your motto?
"Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow."
18. Who are your favorite artists?
I admit to loving House of Mouse. Also Cézanne was pretty good.
19. Is there any invention you wish you had thought of?
The can opener.
20. What's the first thing you remember making?
When I was still finding my medium I dabbled in loomless weaving. It just got too distracting.
MaryAnne, Wabisabi Brooklyn