Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men artist Lisa Ridgers on "surreal" TV stardom

By Ben Miller | 11 September 2013

Ever wondered how the artworks for primetime television shows are chosen? Lisa Ridgers, a Sussex-born, largely self-taught painter who spent 20 years in the US before recently moving back to England, found her richly-coloured, desert-inspired works providing the backdrop to sitcom hits The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men.

A photo of a colourful painting showing a sea and a coast
Lisa Ridgers has donated Beach Side to a fundraiser at gallery Art at Five© Lisa Ridgers
“Ok, here is how that situation came about,” she says.

“I have been represented in Los Angeles by Arts Etc LA for about 13 years now, and my guy is well connected with the studios out there.

“He advised me that five of my original pieces had been picked by The Big Bang Theory for their Cheesecake Factory set, where the character Penny [one of the show's stars, played by Kaley Cuoco] works.

“Usually the studios only rent artwork, but because this set was a permanent feature of the show, and the art was going to be featured for several seasons, they decided to purchase instead.”

A photo of a woman wearing a baseball cap holding up an art canvas inside a studio
The artist spent much of her time in Arizona during 20 years in the US© Lisa Ridgers
Ridgers’ multimedia canvases – inspired by “my passion for the diversity found in nature” and a “personal quest for balance and serenity”, she says – are up for grabs at a fundraising event back on the south coast next month, held in aid of water charity Drop4Drop as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of Brighton gallery Art at Five.

By buying a £10 raffle ticket the public can win paintings worth up to £1,000, with contributors including LS Lowry student Philippe Aird, who founded Manchester’s Phoenix Gallery, and leading South African artist Natasha Barnes.

Ridgers is proud to be a part of it, having been used to seeing her art among illustrious company. “Two and Half Men is also a Warner Bros production, so they used a piece for a temporary set on that show, too,” she explains.

“In addition, my publisher, Third and Wall, based in Seattle, has placed work with Walmart for a past television Christmas campaign, Febreze for a TV commercial and, among others, a soap opera called All My Children for a permanent spot in their hospital waiting room set.”

All this small screen stardom sounds somewhat disorientating.

“I used to find it quite surreal to be watching television and suddenly catch one of my pieces going by,” admits Ridgers.

“The odd thing is that sometimes they can look quite different with the lighting and cameras.

"I occasionally have to double-check to be sure.”


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