Lisa Swerling

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Lisa Swerling
Lisa swerling wiki.jpg
Lisa Swerling in her studio
Born 1972 (age 42–43)
Cape Town, South Africa
Occupation Artist, Author, Illustrator
Nationality British, South African
Period 1999–present
Genre Art, Illustration
Notable works Glass Cathedrals, Harold's Planet
Notable awards Parents' Choice Awards
2006, 2009

Lisa Swerling (born 1972) is a South African/British artist. She is best known for her Glass Cathedrals dioramas.[1] She is also known as co-creator of the illustrated characters Happiness Is, Harold's Planet, Vimrod and The Brainwaves.


Lisa Swerling was born in Cape Town in 1972, the third of three children (born 30 seconds after her twin sister). She attended Herzlia High School in Cape Town and JFS in London. She was awarded the Shell Prize in 1991 for the second highest A-level score in Economics in the UK. She studied Philosophy and Politics at Oxford University (New College) and Art at Central St. Martins (London), after which she worked, amongst other jobs, as a painting assistant to Damien Hirst. She ran her own graphic design business Swerlybird for two years before setting up the illustration licensing company Last Lemon with her husband, Ralph Lazar.

She currently lives in San Anselmo (San Francisco Bay Area) with her family.

Glass Cathedrals[edit]

Glass Cathedrals, first introduced at an art exhibition at Spitalfields in London's East End in 2008, are glass-fronted boxes that feature scenes with hand-painted and customized miniature figures. They are showcased worldwide through art shows and galleries. Gallery representation includes MLIA at the Affordable Art Fair London (Battersea, Hampstead) and Quantum Contemporary Art. Primary markets are the US, UK and Europe.

The Los Angeles Times did a feature on Swerling's Art, showcased at the Unique LA Show in May 2011, describing it as "stealing the show".[2]


Swerling is co-creator (partnering with her husband Ralph Lazar) of the cartoon characters Happiness Is, Harold's Planet, Vimrod and The Brainwaves.

Harold's Planet and Vimrod sell as greetings cards in the millions,[3] and have been published by Penguin Books, Harper Collins and Andrews McMeel. The Brainwaves are cartoon characters that populate Dorling Kindersley's children's reference titles, published in over a dozen languages. Their artwork appeared weekly in The Financial Times and The Scotsman from 2006 to 2009. Happiness Is (cartoon) is published by Chronicle Books of San Francisco.

Awards and nominations include The Royal Society Prizes for Science Books (shortlist - 2008), Annecy International Animated Film Festival Grand Prix winner 1998 (International Project Competition), The Royal Society Prizes for Science Books (shortlist - 2007 [4]), The Washington Post Book of the Week (April 2007[5]) and The US Parents' Choice Award 2006[6] and 2009 .[7]


  1. ^ "San Anselmo woman's artworks address life's big questions in tiny boxes". Marin IJ. 2012-11-20. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  2. ^ "At Unique L.A., miniature worlds steal the craft show". LA Times. 2011-05-10. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  3. ^ "Company Profiles". Licensing Biz. 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  4. ^ "Happiness wins science book prize". BBC. 2007-05-15. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  5. ^ "How Nearly Everything Was Invented". The Washington Post. 2007-04-15. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  6. ^ "How Nearly Everything Was Invented". Parents' Choice Foundation. 2007-04-04. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  7. ^ "The Most Explosive Science Book in the Universe... by the Brainwaves". Parents' Choice Foundation. 2009-06-06. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 

External links[edit]