Optical Infusion

An artist fuses her love of photography and nature into fashion.

Sherman Oaks resident Lysa Nalin is elevating the art form of scenic photography to new levels. The photographer takes photos from favorite spots around LA, digitally prints the images onto luxurious silk or cotton, and then creates exquisite scarves. Her colorful, bold creations have caught the eye of buyers for the prestigious museum shop at the Getty as well the Skirball Cultural Center, where they are currently sold, and LACMA, where they’ll be available next year.

Priced between $130 and $160, the voluminous cotton and silk scarves can be worn as sarongs or bathing suit cover-ups. Lysa initially printed onto silk because she found it created a similar aesthetic to her celebrity portraits printed onto glossy photo paper.

A professional photographer for more than a dozen years, she spent much of her time in the entertainment industry capturing stars on the red carpet. She mentored with celebrity photographer Harry Langdon, but shooting things in nature has always been her primary passion.

“My photographs come from me being the local LA girl who has been driving these streets since I was 16 years old, finding hidden places in the canyons in my explorations while looking for interesting subjects to photograph,” she says, sharing that she calls her adventures “Photo Safaris.”

The artist says she first came up with idea the several years ago, but the technology was not available. Then last year she discovered she was able to print onto finer and more wearable fabrics.

The photo-to-fabric transformation is an involved technique that requires a special coating to the fabric before printing. After printing the fabric must be steamed at high temperatures so the ink adheres to the fibers permanently. Formerly restricted to stiff polyesters, Lysa can now use this process to create scarves of soft, washable cotton and very fine silk.

“My inspiration came from being up at my father’s swimming pool on a very hot Encino day and wishing I could take the beautiful blue water with me wherever I went. That’s when I began to see all the possibilities around me,” says Lysa.

Indeed, one of her most dreamy pieces is “Swimming Pool/Encino Hills” that depicts the inviting crisp blues of a sparkling swimming pool, as viewed underwater. The dramatic, long scarf cascades down the body like a refreshing waterfall.

Selling scarves everywhere from the swanky Ron Robinson at Fred Segal to Sara’s Lingerie on the Boulevard, Lysa is living her dream—combining her love of art, fashion and LA to wondrous results.