On Love

06/02/15

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Yesterday, in celebration of the 2nd anniversary of my marriage to my wife Clay, I posted the image above from our wedding day & the following caption on Instagram:

“Two years ago on June 1, 2013 I married @clay_walsh // this was the best day of my life! // three weeks later gay marriage became legal in the state of California and we made it official // I spent much of my 20’s & 30’s feeling very dubious (and somewhat bitter) about whether I’d ever meet someone as amazing as Clay (and she is a truly stellar human) or ever have a loving & legal partnership with someone // my 40’s have been the happiest, most affirming time of my life // here’s to love, marriage & marriage equality! //  (photo by the ever talented @bonnietsang)”

At the time of this blog post, the image has 2879 likes and 195 comments. 99% of them are filled with love and support. One commenter, who has since deleted her comment, wrote the following in response (and this is an exact, unedited quote; the grammar errors are hers, not mine), which set off a small firestorm on my feed:

“I am a Christian Artist. I suppose my love for others is key. However one man to one woman is in my heart the purest since of equality if the understanding of is revealed in light of a God who loves us so much. He would lay down His life for us (his friends), so we are set free from the grip of sin and through His amazing love and sacred sacrifice we become adopted as His children. An experience that when happens causes one to evaluate and draw closer to other of the same like mindedness to understand what has happened that the whatever makes me happy is no longer my slogan, but “what can I do in light of your grace and mercy to become and be made more into your likeness and image, Lord.” I am challenged here to speak with love as I do not even know you but your lifestyle and the pit of lies in which you have fallen is a tragedy & will most likely lead others into the destruction of their souls as well. Praying that the eyes of your hearts be opened, and you find the road that really leads to true love and life.”

I get homophobic comments on occasion, but this was the longest and most blatant to date. I decided not to delete it (and sometimes I do remove mean or thoughtless comments). I also chose not to respond. However, as you might imagine, other people (including other Christians) did respond, mostly in defense of love and equality. It was an powerful thing to watch unfold over the course of the day.

I want to be clear that the woman who posted these comments is not an anonymous troll. She is a real person using her actual name (a fellow artist) who has followed my work for some time and has commented positively before on other Instagram photos (my feed is mostly images of my artwork, dog and two cats). So she, while apparently very disapproving of my “lifestyle,” has admired my work enough to keep following, even though I have never, ever hidden my sexuality or relationship online (in fact, I have been very out & open about my gayness since I started my first blog in 2005).

I also want to be clear that this post today is in no way meant to humiliate or shame the commenter. I have no doubt that she truly believes what she said, and, as such, felt compelled to express her beliefs (I imagine she’s been waiting for the right moment for some time). I also believe that no matter how misguided her own opinions about homosexuals are, she is a human being who deserves to be treated with love. As Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Interestingly, to her credit, as hateful as the language in her comment was, she acted quite humanely in the end. Initially she also posted her beliefs about me/my marriage on her Facebook fan page. However, after the barrage of responses, she not only removed her comment, but removed the post on her fan page, and attempted apologetic amends for offending other followers (and a mild apology directed at me, not for her beliefs, but for making people angry). While I am quite certain her beliefs have not changed, she seems to have learned a thing or two about making blatant homophobic comments with deeply sanctimonious religious overtones on the Instagram feed of a lesbian artist with 54,000 followers.

I have decided to respond to her words here — again, not to shame her, but rather to be clear — both to her and to others who might wonder — about where I stand on what she had to say, about my sexuality, and about love.

1) I was born this way. There is no religion that can “heal” me (or anyone) from homosexuality. To those of us who are gay, the idea that we could ever be different or change by altering our religious beliefs (or anything else) is preposterous. This is how I am wired. This is how millions of other humans on this planet are wired, just like millions of other humans are wired to be heterosexual. That is a fact.

2) I wouldn’t trade my life or my sexuality for anything. I can’t imagine being any other way. It’s not a pit of lies. It’s who I am at my core. It’s my own beautiful truth, just like who you are is your own beautiful truth.

3) There is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay (or bisexual or transgender). Let me repeat: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING GAY OR BISEXUAL OR TRANSGENDER. Period.

4) I’ll tell you what is wrong: hatred, intolerance, judgment, proclamations of superiority and closed-mindedness about what it takes to be loved, “saved,” real or worthy.

5) I’ll tell you what is right: love between humans, including but not limited to — embracing the beautiful differences in others, kindness, compassion, empathy, hugs, kisses, laughter, true mercy & grace, humility & tenderness.

And so I will say again! To love, marriage, and marriage equality! May we all be who we are, without apology. May we all live with a sense of dignity. And may we all live each day in the spirit of loving kindness.

Thank you to everyone who has showered me and Clay with so much love since yesterday (and to those of you who shower us with love every day of the year). You can read more about how I feel about the gift of marriage in this post I wrote one year ago on our first anniversary.

Have a good Tuesday, friends! <3

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New Book: Art For All Seasons

06/01/15

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Back in 2005 I met Susan Schwake online. Susan is a fellow artist (one of her gorgeous pieces is pictured above), gallery owner, art teacher and author. I’ve had the great fortune to work with Susan in many capacities over the past 10 years, including in shows as a fellow artist and numerous time exhibiting in her spacious gallery in New Hampshire.

It’s really clear when you meet and get to know Susan that despite her own talent as an artist, her greatest passion is introducing the world of art-making to children. Susan began by teaching art classes to kids in the back of her gallery (she also teaches adults), and then over the past few years began publishing books with engaging and thoughtful art projects for kids. She started with Art Lab For Kids, then published Art Lab for Little Kids, and then 3-D Art Lab for Kids.

Most recently, she’s published Art For All Seasons: 40 Creative Mixed Media Adventures for Children Inspired by Nature and Contemporary Artists. I am so honored to be one of the artists whose work is featured in the book — one of the project is inspired by my hand lettered work!

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Art for All Seasons is a handbook of mostly nature inspired art projects that can be explored with kids. This book is great for parents, teachers, grandparents or anyone wanting to make art with kids.  The book includes over 400 full-color photographs of projects and additional inspirational images of contemporary artists’ work.

You can watch a little video about this wonderful book below and purchase it here or wherever books are sold!

Have a great Monday, friends!

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Sakura Pen & Scoutbook Giveaway!

05/29/15

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Friends, if you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I am a Sakura Pen fanatic (they have a brand new website!). Sakura and I have collaborated on a lot of projects over the past two years, and I am super excited to let you know that we are c0llaborating again, this time on another giveaway. This giveaway celebrates the launch of their newest product:  the Pigma Professional Brush. These rich, inky, durable brush pens are quickly becoming a favorite for thick lettering, freeform calligraphy and fill-in. We’re also giving away some of my FAVORITE blank notebooks from Scout Books.

As part of this giveaway, I’m giving away TWO sets of the following:
+ a 3 pack of Pigma Professional Brush pens: fine, medium and bold nibs (pictured above)
+ a 3 pack of Pigma Micron pens: sizes 01, 03 and 05  (some of my favorite widths!)
+ 3 blank Scout Book notebooks (1 large, 2 small)
+1 Scout Book notebook with my design (pictured above but without my lettering on it!)

Here are the rules & details for entering:

+No purchase necessary to enter!
+This promotion is open to residents of the United States and Canada ONLY.
+You must be over 13 years of age to submit an entry.
+To enter, you must sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter here OR leave a comment on my Facebook Fan Page in the post associated with this giveaway (should be near the top of my page) about why you’d like to win! Extra credit if you do both 😉
+The giveaway entry period ends on Monday, June 1 at 5 pm PST & we’ll contact the two winners by Tuesday, June 2 (either by email or tagging the commenter in Facebook).
+I’ll put Sakura in touch with the winners and they’ll send the prizes!

Have a happy weekend, friends and don’t forget to enter!

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Danny Gregory

05/28/15

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A few years ago, I discovered the work of Danny Gregory, artist, author and teacher of amazing talent and energy.  If you aren’t familiar with Danny or his fantastic array of words and pictures, you can find his website/blog here. He as written many best-selling books on art and creativity, is an avid sketchbook keeper, and runs an online art school. Before becoming a full time artist & author, Danny worked in advertising as a creative director.

I am continually impressed by Danny’s enthusiasm & commitment to encouraging us (all of us) to find the creative potential that lurks in every corner of our beings. I absolutely love his latest work, Art Before Breakfast, a funny & easy to access book designed for aspiring artists who want to draw but are struggling to find the time or inspiration. In the book, he offers 5– to 10–minute exercises to into any schedule, even at the breakfast table!

This week I present to you the ever-inspiring Danny Gregory in my Interview with People I Admire Series!

 

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Lisa: Danny, when did you start making art and how long have you been at it? When did you start writing books about making art?

Danny: Well, I have had two stretches of being an artist.  The first started when I was about 18 months old.  I was very productive — worked in many media, drew, painted, sculpted, danced, sang, composed, wrote books, plays, poems, had a major retrospective on my grandmother’s fridge. Then, when I was, oh, about eleven, I retired. When I was in my mid-thirties, I started again, but for very different reasons. My son had just been born when my wife was in a terrible accident and was left paralyzed. In a desperate search for meaning in a world that suddenly seemed pointless, I found an urge to draw. I began by drawing the things around me — cups, bagels, toilets — and soon discovered they were all beautiful. I haven’t stopped drawing since.

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Lisa: What an amazing story! Danny, one of the things I love most about your new book is that you address the elephant in the room right off the bat – and that is the fact that most people feel like they don’t have time to be creative or make art. But what you argue is that spending what little time you have being creative (even if it’s in line at the doctor’s office) will make your life richer, more interesting and you’ll be more present with yourself and the world around you. Talk about why it really matters that we spend time being creative, even though we are busy people.

Danny: The world is chaotic. It’s an endless barrage of experiences and input that can be overwhelming. Art gives it order. Making stuff makes it make sense. By putting a frame around our experiences, by choosing things to highlight, by writing down stories, we carve a path through the chaos. We explore and define what matters to us. We share that perspective with others, giving them a way of looking the world, and joining us all together.  How can we be too busy to do that for a few minutes a day? What’s more important? Your Facebook update? Real Housewives? The halftime score?

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Lisa: Tell us about the idea of making art before breakfast.

Danny: My life is as jam-packed as anyone’s. I have career, a family, New York City, two small dogs with small bladders, and very little time to call my own.  So I thought I’d try setting my alarm a half hour earlier, just to see if I could use that time as Me Time. Sure, I was cranky at first when the alarm went off, but I discovered that this half hour, when the world is still at bay, impacted all the hours that followed. I would listen to music, look through old yearbooks, study my son’s turtle, let my dogs wander wherever they wanted in the park and just try to see the morning as they did. And I opened my journal, recording these special moments in words and pictures as they unfolded.

This idea, of making art before breakfast, was a revelation to me. Not that you have literally to wake up early, but that taking a few minutes here or there that would otherwise be taken up by the demands of others, was really important to me. In my latest book, I suggest to people that they take a few of these moments between moments— while they wait for the kettle to boil or the spin cycle to conclude or the commercials to end or the elevator to arrive — and pull out a sketchbook and draw for a minute or two, instead of drumming their fingers, picking their noses, or checking their email.

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Lisa: One think you and I have in common is that we tell people NOT to follow the rules in art-making. Why, in your opinion, is it important not to pay attention to the rules?

Danny: There are a number of reasons.  First, creative people question assumptions. That’s how we cause change. And change is vital, now more than ever, because the world is full of new problems and we have to find better ways. That’s another reason art and creativity matter so much and why we can’t limit ourselves with what has been.

I also think it’s ridiculous to worry about rules when you’re making art.  The “Law” of perspective is open to interpretation. You can paint with your fingers, you can draw in books, you can write with a chocolate bar, you can draw the President with a mullet or a machete or a six-foot-prehensile trunk if you want.
I meet a lot of people who are terrified of being creative. Terrified by something stupid a second grade teacher once said, by wasting expensive blank paper, by drawing a wonky line or singing off-key. Who cares? No one is watching. Break the rules.  The art police are too busy guarding the billion dollar auction at Sothebys to care if you screw up a drawing of your cat.

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Lisa: Okay, yet another thing I love about your new book is that your activities get people to look at the world in ways they wouldn’t normally and then draw the unexpected – for example, looking at & drawing the details in a piece of toast, at shadows & reflections, etc. You must have had so much fun coming up with these activities! Which of the activities in your book is your favorite and why?

Danny: I love drawing toast. I did it this morning. It reminds me of when I drew maps as a kid and I pretend I’m in a spacesuit wandering through a vast, uncharted terrain of sourdough. I also loved painting with condiments.  Recording my ten favorite breakfast foods. Drawing on a treadmill at the gym. And copying a six-year-old’s painting of a monster as if were a master drawing.

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Lisa: So often people say, “I want to draw, but I don’t know what to draw” and your book is also chock full of ideas for things to draw. What do you hope your book shows the average person who wants to be more creative but isn’t sure where to start?

Danny: Start now.  You don’t need to take a weekend watercolor workshop or sign up for sketching at the Y on Tuesday evenings or buy another bulging bagful of markers at Dick Blick. Just pick up a damned pen and draw whatever is in front of you, even your computer as you read this blog post! Go on. Yes, I’m talking to you.

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Lisa: Tell us where people can find you online if they want to learn more from you?

Danny: They can visit my website. I’m usually there after breakfast.

Lisa: And you can get Danny’s latest book here or wherever books are sold! Thank you Danny! Always a pleasure.

Have a great Thursday, friends!

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I ♥ mahabis

05/27/15

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{a tribute to my mahabis in pencil and paint}

As many of you know, I moved from Oakland, California to Portland, Oregon two months ago. Since we had yet to purchase our permanent residence, we put most of our belongings in storage and loaded up two small cars with everything we needed to work and live for two months and drove the 630 miles to our new home. When we got to Portland I was, being a long-time California girl, totally unprepared for the chilly April air lingering in Oregon. I was used to daily 70+ degree days and packed as if I was heading to the same climate. All of my sweaters and coats and heavier shoes were in storage. Two days in, I was freezing, even inside our apartment.

As luck would have it, the next day I was on Facebook reading through my feed and saw an ad for mahabis slippers on the side bar of my personal page. True story: I’ve been on Facebook since 2007, and I have never clicked on one of those ads before, but something about this one intrigued me. I don’t remember exactly what the ad looked like — it may have been the Scandinavian look of the slippers or the super-cool logo that drew me in (I am a sucker for good design). Or maybe I was just tuned in that day to anything warm and cozy looking. Regardless, I clicked.

I was led to the mahabis website and fell instantly in love with what I saw. They sell one product: slippers, all in the same design. Your only option? Colors. And the rubber soles can be taken on or off (you can also purchase the slippers without the rubber sole).

Since moving to Portland, I work from home, and I realized these comfy looking slippers might be the answer to my cold toes. The hardest part was deciding which color sole to get. I chose the “ryjuken red” (which is actually pink) but was very close to ordering the “borgen blue.” I also have a soft spot for the “skane yellow” (pictured below).  These slippers are not cheap, and I expected the quality to be high, and so I was very excited when the slippers arrived less than a week later from London and were simply beautiful in every way. To boot, they serve the purpose I was looking for: warm feet.

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The next day I posted a picture of my feet wearing my new slippers on Instagram and mahabis emailed to thank me. I don’t write about products that often, but I really love these slippers and wanted to share them with you.

You can visit the mahabis site here to view the slippers and learn more about the company.

Have a great Wednesday, friends!

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New Original Paintings at Uprise Art!

05/22/15

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I am excited to let you know that I have four brand new original abstract paintings for sale through Uprise Art, my gallery in New York City. They can be purchased online via their website, and free framing (by me!) is available for any painting once you purchase. Shipping is also included.

You can see the entire selection of my work here on their site (note: all paintings in the selection except the four above are already sold). Note also that sizes vary, but all pieces are made with acrylic paints on hard “cradled” panels which are easy to hang and look striking in any room.

Thanks for looking and have a great weekend, friends!

CATEGORIES: For Sale | Paintings
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New TRAIL OF STARS Poster Release!

05/21/15

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Friends, I am so excited to release a new limited edition poster! This new piece is 12.5×19 inches, hand screen-printed in metallic gold ink on high quality blue French Paper Company stock.

This is an edition of 50 only. Once they are sold, these gold on blue posters are gone forever, so grab yours now!

All posters are signed and numbered and are $35 each.

This poster makes a great gift for the super stars in your life, including graduates, newlyweds and newborn babies!

You can grab one here in my Etsy Shop.

UPDATE: SOLD OUT! I’ll release the poster in a new color soon. Stay tuned!

Enjoy!

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Jessica Roux

05/18/15

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I first met Jessica Roux sitting outside PNCA this past summer on the first night of ICON8. My friend Tuesday (who I interviewed here last week) introduced me to Jessica as we stood around waiting to go to dinner. Tuesday raved about Jessica’s talent, and so when I got back to where I was staying that night, I Googled Jessica’s name and found her website. I was instantly blown away by her work, and have since become a super-fan. I am over and over again amazed by her technical drawing skill and attention to detail. I sat down with Jessica to ask her about how she got started, her inspiration and her process. Without further ado, illustrator Jessica Roux!

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Lisa: Tell us about your childhood. Where did you grow up and what was it like? When did you start drawing and painting?

Jessica: My childhood has so much influence on my work today! I grew up in North Carolina surrounded by nature – there’s the beach on one side and the mountains on the other, and lots of pine trees in between, so it’s a beautiful place to explore. I have lots of great memories of picking cicada shells of off trees with my sister and gardening with my mom and dad. My parents set up an easel in the backyard for my sister and I to paint when we were really young. Ever since then, I’ve loved drawing outside and drawing the things I find outside!

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Lisa: Your drawings and paintings are incredibly detailed and meticulous. Did you study art? If so, where? Have you always drawn in the style you are now known for? If not, how did that style evolve?

Jessica: Thank you! I studied illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where I graduated from in 2013. The development of my style was really difficult for me when I first arrived in college because it was my first opportunity to explore so many different mediums. I remember calling my parents crying because I couldn’t figure out my style, and it seemed to be coming really easily to my peers. When I started working in watercolors, I found a color palette that really resonated with me, but I didn’t like the lack of control. I always thought my pencil drawings would look so much better than the final product, so I started layering pencil on top of watercolors. That still didn’t really give me a lot of details or control, so I eventually abandoned watercolors for making a detailed graphite drawing and coloring it digitally. I don’t think I was really working in my current style until late in my senior year, but I produced a lot of work during that time period to make up for it. My work has gotten more detailed and stylized since then, too!

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Lisa: Your work has a timelessness about it, and so I imagine that you are influenced by history and historical imagery. Say more about your influences and where you go for inspiration for your work.

Jessica: One of my favorite parts of starting an illustration is doing (an insane amount of) research. I can’t get enough of history – old lithographs and studies by early naturalists are some of my favorite things. I love medieval bestiaries and the early Northern Renaissance. I’m also really inspired by nature. There are just so many strange plants and animals out there that I want to know more about! Sitting down to draw, it’s kind of like I’m trying to pack everything I researched into my work – maybe that’s why my work is so meticulously detailed!

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Lisa: What materials do you use primarily in your work and what is your process (in a few steps) from start to finish of a piece? How long do your pieces take (I know this depends, but I am sure people will be curious since your work is so detailed so any insight on this would be great).

Jessica: I make a detailed graphite drawing using a really sharp pencil on a cotton rag printmaking paper. Then I scan that in and color it in Photoshop, and a new illustration is born! The graphite drawing is what takes the longest – I can spend anywhere from five to twenty hours on that part. By the end of it I’m pretty much covered in pencil dust. Coloring goes by really quickly, but I enjoy it a lot more; it usually takes about two to five hours. So, a finished illustration is anywhere from five to twenty-five hours, but I usually take a lot of email-answering, dog walking, eating and sleeping breaks.

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Lisa: What do you like most about being an illustrator and do you have a favorite project that you have done for a client?

Jessica: I think the best part about being an illustrator is all the other amazing illustrators and art directors I’ve gotten to meet, or at least talk to online. It’s a really welcoming community of people lifting each other up, and I think that’s such a special thing. And, at the end of the day, I draw pretty things I like, so that is a pretty amazing job! Earlier this year I got to do a full page illustration for Smithsonian Magazine’s Collectors Edition of the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. As a history fan, I was thrilled to illustrate for them, and I’m so happy with how the illustration came out.

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Lisa: What are you working on right now?

Jessica: I’m working on some food illustrations, custom wedding invitations for a really sweet couple, and an illustration for a friend’s zine. I’m also working on more stationery cards and a few personal projects that I’m excited to share soon.

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Lisa: You live in Brooklyn, yes? What other hobbies do you have besides drawing and painting? How do you spend some of your time outside of work?

Jessica: I currently live in Brooklyn, but I’m looking to move in the near future – hopefully somewhere really naturey! I like going hiking and exploring upstate, taking my dog for walks in the park, and watching lots of tv with my husband.

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Lisa: Where can people buy your work or find your work out in the world?

Jessica: I sell prints and illustrated goodies here.

I also have a line of cards with Postable and wall decor with Walls Need Love.

Lisa: Where can people find you on the internets & social media?

Jessica: My website here. I’m on Instagram (my favorite!) and Twitter: @jessicasroux. And my blog and Facebook.

Lisa: Thank you, Jessica!

Have a great Monday, friends!

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Words for the Day // No. 66

05/14/15

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Another favorite: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Hope everyone is having a fearless Thursday!

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SURTEX & Stationery Show // NYC

05/13/15

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Friends! I’m so excited to announce that I am speaking at Surtex this year.

My session is called Art Business Boot Camp Review: One on One with Art Inc. author and artist, Lisa Congdon, and it’s being held Tuesday, May 19, 11:30- 1:00pm. If you are attending Surtex this year, you are welcome to attend my session and ask any questions you have about making a living as an artist.

Each year Clay and I attend Surtex and the Stationery Show, which happen simultaneously at the Javits Center in Manhattan. This year I am not exhibiting at either, but I will be walking both shows for inspiration and to meet people at companies we are interested in building working relationships with. Walking Surtex and/or the Stationery Show is a great way to get to know the licensing and stationery industries & to meet contacts. I highly recommend attending! Here is more about registering. To boot, a pass to Surtex gets you into Stationery Show and vice versa. You also have access to ICFF, which is a fantastic show of contemporary furniture. These shows happen every year, so if this year doesn’t work for you, there is always next year!

Here I am with my dear friend Claudia Pearson last year at her booth at the Stationery Show. Can’t wait to see all my friends at this year’s show!

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Have a great Wednesday, friends! And hope to see you this coming week in New York!

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PRINT Magazine // 75th Anniversary

05/12/15

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{Piece I designed for the 75th Anniversary Edition of Print Magazine}

Every now and again I have to pinch myself, and this past week was one of those times. I finally got my hands on the 75th Anniversary Edition of PRINT Magazine (a bimonthly American magazine about visual culture and design). A few months back, design luminary Debbie Millman, on behalf of PRINT Magazine, asked 75 “of the best creatives working today” (their words) to design the word “print.” All of the pieces were exhibited at the recent HOW Conference and just 34 were chosen to appear in the magazine. Mine was one of the pieces chosen. To boot, I’m sitting on a spread with two friends (Jessica Hische and Kate Bingaman-Burt) and two design heroines Maira Kalman and Jennifer Morla.

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Dreams do sometimes come true. Have a happy Tuesday, friends!

 

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Maker Mentors Online Conference

05/11/15

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Calling all creative entrepreneurs! I’m super excited to let you know that I am participating this week as a speaker at this year’s Maker Mentors Online Conference. The organizers of this new conference for creative entreprenuers have brought together some of the smartest business experts and best creative business owners together to create a totally unique experience.

The conference is happening this week: May 14th-May 16th. Everyone who signs up gets access to 20+ live sessions with creative business experts, an interactive forum and tons of new resources to help you grow your business. Don’t worry if you can’t make it live—all of the content is recorded so you can access it anytime. Register now with discount code “LISAVIP” and get $50 off of your registration fee.

At this conference, you will learn from creative business mentors and have access to:

  • 20 live-streamed sessions with an amazing lineup of speakers
  • Access to interactive community forums
  • One-on-one access to the mentors
  • Tons of resources to help you grow your creative business

My talk is a Q&A style format with Maker Mentors founder Cassie Boorn and will air on Thursday May 14th at 1pmPT/4pmET.

I hope you will join the event!

Register here with the promo code “LISAVIP” and see you at Maker Mentors!

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Tuesday Bassen

05/08/15

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Friends, I am so excited to share with you my most recent Interview with People I Admire: the amazing Tuesday Bassen. Tuesday is an extremely talented & prolific illustrator, zine maker, ceramics artist and comic maker. She’s also one of my favorite people: earnest, kind and always sporting the best eye shadow and glasses. Tuesday’s clients include such big names as Playboy, The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Snapple, Fiat, Target and American Greetings. I first met Tuesday several years ago on Twitter, and then, as often happens, we became friends IRL (in real life). I sat down with Tuesday last week and got the skinny on her life & work. I really do love her, and I think you will too.

Lisa: TUESDAY BASSEN, I LOVE YOU! Tell my readers about where you grew up and what that was like.

Tuesday: LISA CONGDON, I LOVE YOU TOO! I grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, which is a small middle-class college town. I have very young, entrepreneurial parents—one owns a pottery shop and one is a dog trainer. I definitely lucked out in the early life lottery, because Lincoln Public Schools has an arts focus program that set me on the path to becoming an illustrator. It changed my life.

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Lisa: When did you begin drawing? Did you always imagine that you would grow up to be an artist? Or did you have other plans for yourself at one point? Where did you study art?

Tuesday: Art was always my favorite recreational activity, but I didn’t realize it could be a career before attending the aforementioned high school program. Before that, I wanted to pursue foreign policy and had already studied abroad in Russia at age 13! I ended up at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where I got my BFA in 2011.

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Lisa: Ah, yes, I remember you telling me about your time in Russia as an adolescent. I still think you should write and illustrate a book about that experience. Anyhow, you do so many things: illustration, comics, zines, ceramics, Ugly Girl Gang, etc, etc! Your work is in demand, and you have lots of client work, but I notice you are always doing your own thing — your own personal projects and collaborations. What drives your decisions about how you spend your time? Obviously you have to pay the rent (we all do), but what else matters to you?

Tuesday: I’ve always been of the mindset that you should create the opportunities you want to have, I’m not interested in waiting around for other people to give them to me. Client work is (of course) integral to my practice, but my personal work dictates what kind of people hire me and for what. Lately, I’ve been pushing the boundaries of what I imagined to be commercially successful in favor of what I find personally appealing and it’s been awesome to see that other people are into it too.

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Lisa: Tell us about your new puppy.

Tuesday: GUS! Gus is a dachshund that was rescued by Lauren, a wonderful friend of mine that cares for lots of rescued dachshunds and a brood of other animals. His age is anyone’s guess, but he looks like an adorable combination of a puppy and an old man.

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Lisa: What are the major influences on your work? Are there artists you look up to? Or movements?

Tuesday: I’ve always been really into underground comics and artists like Julie Doucet, Daniel Clowes, and Dame Darcy have influenced my use of medium. There are lots of current artists that I find inspiring and relatable, but I’ve been getting the most inspiration lately from 70’s magazines like Easy Rider. I’m not into the misogynistic overtones, but I am interested in the explicit sexual freedom and under-done raw aesthetic of women at motorcycle festivals. Easy Rider culture reminds me of my childhood and therefor find it pleasantly nostalgic, but I draw, in part, to subvert the messages I’m not interested in perpetuating. I create my own reality, and I think to a degree, I shape other people’s reality by putting it out into the world.

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Lisa: You draw this world where girls are tough, smoking, tattooed, take-no-prisoner bad ass types. They are members of the Ugly Girl Gang. And while I know you, too, are a bad ass, I also know you as a very tender-hearted person, and I’ve never seen you with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth. Talk about that.

Tuesday: Though I feel conscious about how other people perceive me, I try not to let it dictate my content in art or social media presentation. We’ve talked about this before, but one thing I love about you, Lisa, is that you are warm, but firm. I also strive to achieve that balance with everything I do and hope that comes across in my work, in my conversations, and in my actions. I think that’s a very powerful and nuanced message to send to the world: I am kind, but I know what I want and you will not deter me, regardless of how you may perceive my appearance, gender, class, race, anything.

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Lisa: You just moved from NYC to LA last year. Tell us about that & how it’s going.

Tuesday: I landed solidly in LA at the beginning of 2015, which seems arbitrary, but was a conscious shift for me. I felt depressed for a good portion of 2014, so moving to me was taking control and making a decision to pursue happiness. I sold anything that wouldn’t fit in my tiny car and moved in with my friends/collaborators, Tiny Splendor Press, to a little craftsman style home in the middle of LA. It’s perfect.

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Lisa: Where can people find your work out in the world?

Tuesday: Products can be found at lots of places, including Palace in PDX, Pygmy Hippo in LA, MOCA Gift Shop in LA, Hello Holiday in Omaha, soon in Aeropostale, and in Urban Outfitters for limited edition collaborations.

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Lisa: Where can people find you on the internets and social media?

Tuesday: TuesdayBassen.com and @tuesdaybassen on Instagram.

Lisa: Thank you, Tuesday!

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Pattern Camp with Jessica Swift is Back!

05/06/15

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Have you ever wanted to learn to create gorgeous repeat patterns with your artwork or drawings, either just for fun or for illustration and licensing opportunities? If the answer is yes, then Jessica Swift’s Pattern Camp is for you!

Pattern Camp is an intensive, 2-day online workshop that will teach you how to create your own repeat patterns in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop in just 2 days. Live participation is not required — all the lessons are video-based and written, so you can work through the material at your own pace. Access to the course and all the lessons will be available for one month after the end of the weekend. A private Facebook group is a fun and important community component of the course, and participation in that is encouraged.

Jessica Swift is an experienced and successful pattern designer and a wonderful teacher (I’ve taken her class myself & loved it).

When: Saturday and Sunday June 6-7, 2015  //  8am – 4pm PST each day

(note: participants can also work through the course at their own pace; participation in the intensive weekend portion is not mandatory)

Where: the course takes place online in a private classroom area of the Pattern Camp website

Price: $239 USD // Register here.

Have a great Wednesday, friends!

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New Podcast: Brand New Ways

05/05/15

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I had a really great time chatting with the esteemed Jen Leonard on her podcast Brand New Ways. You can listen to me rattle on as she asks me about life as an artist, my work, how I play and one of my weird musical obsessions (among many other things).

More about the amazing Jen Leonard: for the past eight years, Jen has been a Design Lead at global innovation consultancy IDEO, where her projects have run the gamut from service and brand to products and spaces, and her clients have included big-hitters like Nike, Marriott, Visa, Equinox, and Renault. Jen is passionate about seizing (and helping others see) the magic of life as we’re living it. To boot, she’s a great interviewer.

Take a listen here.

 

CATEGORIES: Podcasts
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