This Art Crush entry has truly been a long time coming. I first came across Lisa Congdon by way of Meighan O’Toole’s former art blog and podcast, My Love For You (which is post-worthy in its own right–it was an enormous source of inspiration for me during my college years). While I definitely gravitated to Lisa’s work on a visual level, it was her personal story that drew me in. Freelance illustration had been her second career. She didn’t start painting or making art until she was 31, and here she was, participating in museum-level shows, working with clients like Chronicle Books, and just being a genuine, successful badass. Lisa is not only someone I look up to artistically–she’s also a prime example of a human being.
Lisa’s art career was secondary, after she accumulated over a decade of experience in the education and nonprofit industries. By pure chance, she stumbled into a painting class and began making art of all kinds from that day forward–fueled by pure joy instead of the desire to succeed quickly. Having always been an avid collector, her random ephemera would find their way into countless collages as well as a series of photos, drawings and paintings that would eventually make up her A Collection A Day project. As she continued to develop her craft and share it with the ever-expanding Internet, people began to catch on. Today, she is an accomplished and prolific working artist, blogger, illustrator, public speaker and writer. Some of her most notable clients to date include The Land of Nod, The Museum of Modern Art, Harper Collins, 826 Valencia and Martha Stewart Living Magazine.
Lisa unabashedly tackles the subjects she is most passionate about, and that fearlessness is expressed effortlessly in the execution of her work. She describes herself as a “visual junkie,” and is deeply inspired by patterns, travel, architecture and vintage packaging, just to name a few. A faithful blogger, Lisa writes about her own process in addition to other artists whom she admires, as well as her life “outside the studio,” which includes swimming, biking, sewing, and traveling. In other words, she’s just making all of us look bad! (I only kid.)
One of the reasons I relate to Lisa’s work is due to the versatility and ever-evolving nature of her aesthetic. Certain characteristics like neon hues and her penchant for all things Scandinavian are mainstays, but she continues to branch out and explore all kinds of mediums (block printing and calligraphy, to name a few). These explorations fuel her work and expand her direction, which is most recently geared towards abstract painting. She’s a wonderful example of why you don’t need to narrow yourself down to one specific style (something I often grapple with).
Lisa is quite a unique artist in that she is not only a creator, but a mentor as well. Breaking into freelance illustration can be a challenging and solitary undertaking, and she continues to give her generous time to those who wish to pursue and learn more about the field through classes, speaking engagements and conferences around the country. I first met Lisa at her first Freelance Illustration class at Makeshift Society back in December 2012, and it was one of my most pivotal learning experiences to date.
Lisa recently released her new book, “Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist,” which is a revolutionary and timely answer to the starving artist stereotype. It covers all areas of the freelance artist’s domain, such as photographing fine art, finding printing services, copyright, and diversifying income. It sits on the shelf above my working desk (I like to call it my “VIP” shelf) as I reference it constantly.
On that same note, I’m very excited to be taking Lisa’s “Become A Working Artist” class through CreativeLive next week! You can follow along with the class virtually by RSVPing here.
Follow along with Lisa below:
Purchase Lisa’s books below:
Posted by Rachel Frankel on 09/28/14 under abstract,apparel / products,artists,children's art,children's illustrators,creativity,design,digital,freelance,Lettering,master of the month,pattern,pen/brush and ink,typography
Salvador Dali was a Spanish artist and an icon of Surrealism. Surrealism was an art movement known for dreamlike imagery. His most famous work is The Persistence of Memory, a painting of melting clocks.
Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech was born in1904, in Figueres, Spain. The young Dali was intelligent and advanced for his age, but he got angry easily and was punished for that. His father was a lawyer and very strict. His mother though forgave his occasionally odd behavior. At an early age, Salvador was created sophisticated drawings. His parents built him an art studio, organized his first exhibition, and sent Dali to drawing school. He was an oddball a daydreamer. By the time he was fourteen years old though, he earned a public exhibition at the Municipal Theatre.
In school, Dali was influenced by numerous artists and art movements, especially Cubism, Dadaism, and the work of classical painters like Raphael and Velasquez. After school, he travelled to Paris where he met influential painters like Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, and Rene Magritte who introduced Dali to Surrealism. His first experiments were oil paintings, small collages of dream images. His classical, detailed technique created a fantastical realism in these dreamscapes. Dali’s biggest contribution to Surrealism was a mental exercise (that he called the “paranoiac-critical method”) that helped him access his subconscious to enhance his creativity. It became a way of life for Dali, and he became a living symbol of the Surrealist movement. His most famous painting, The Persistence of Memory, is also one of the best-known pieces of Surrealist art. Also called Soft Watches, the painting shows pocket watched melting in a landscape. It suggests many ideas including one that time is not rigid and that everything is destructible.
Over time, Dali became infamous for his odd behavior. He grew a famously long mustache, wore capes, and attended parties in strange clothing like wetsuits or women’s clothes. Critics said that his eccentricity overshadowed his art work. His peers organized a “trial” to expel him from the Surrealist Movement. They claimed that it was because Dali refused to take a stand against Fascism, but Dali was been famously apolitical. It is more likely that the other Surrealists were simple embarrassed by Dali’s weirdness.
During World War II, Dali and his wife lived in the United States. While he was there, the Metropolitan Musem of Art hosted a retrospective of his work. Dali wrote an autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dali. He moved away from Surrealism to create scientific, historical, and religious paintings. He called this period “Nuclear Mysticism.” Those paintings were famous for their technical brilliance. They incorporated geometry, optical illusions, and holography.
When he moved back to Spain, he purchased the remains of the Municipal Theatre that hosted his first show. He train formed the property into the Teatro-Museo Dali or the Dali Theatre Museum. The museum opened in 1974. It was based on Dali’s designs, and is considered the largest Surrealist structures. Right now, it contains the broadest range of work by the artist from his earliest experiments to artwork that he created in the last years of his life.
I saw an exhibit of Dali’s work when I was pretty young, and I was disappointed to see it in person for some reason. The images I’d seen in books were so interesting and weird. The actual paintings were meticulous and more carefully created than I imagined. Now though as an artist and a teacher, I appreciate the skill and patience that went into these amazing flights of imagination.
I am in the process of teaching my students about Dali right now. Besides being an incredible inspiration to them creatively, his traditional approach to painting gives me an opportunity to teach fundamental skills. In the past month, I have used his example to teach form, depth, perspective, juxtaposition, composition, and more. They’re also pretty tickled by his sense of humor and incredible quotes.
Portrait of Dali drawn by yours truly, Rama Hughes
Post by James
Jessica Roux is a Brooklyn based illustrator and designer. She is originally from the woodlands of North Carolina, where she grew up surrounded by an abundance of nature. Using subdued colors and rhythmic shapes, she renders flora and fauna with intricate detail reminiscent of old world beauty.
You can see more of Jessica’s work on her website.
Julia Gfrörer studied illustration at Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts before graduating with a double major in printmaking and painting. She was encouraged to get into making comics by her good friend, the late comics historian, publisher & cartoonist ,Dylan Williams. She started off making a few hand made zines like Ariadne auf Naxos, and Stupid Tales of Wolverine, but then found great critical success with her comic Flesh and Bone, published by Sparkplug Books. Tonally, her work is deeply rooted in Victorian gothic horror, and classic Medieval romances. I see a lot of David Lynch rubbing off in her stories, and a little Larry Clark in her raw approach to sex.
Her graphic novel, Black is the Color, was published by Fantagraphics in 2013. Her work has also appeared in The Thickness comics anthology, Arthur Magazine, Study Group Magazine, Black Eye, and The Best American Comics collection.
Julia Gfrörer also writes a regular comics analysis column for the Comics Journal called Symbol Reader. You can follow that here.
You can order Julia Gfrörer’s latest zine, Palm Ash, and get the latest news on her website here.
For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates
Everyone’s creative story is different because we are all unique and completely individual in our own way, meaning nobody’s creative journey is exactly the same. Some of us may know early on that we are destined to be creative and set to pursue our career through college and university, where as there are other people who discover their creative meaning deep down later on like a seed that needed time to grow. Over the years I’ve come across some very talented people, many whom have spent time in art education and some who are purely creatively self taught.
The question that has often come to mind though no doubt for those of you who may have self taught your practice is “does it matter whether you have an art education background or whether you’re self taught?” Many people are going to have mixed opinions on this topic and there are sometimes pros and cons to both, but whether you are self taught or have had the opportunity to study in education here’s my two cents on why I still think you’re creatively amazing whichever path you take.
1. You’ve followed your own creative path in a different way and you should be proud of how far you’ve come and excited of where you’re yet to go.
2. The opportunity for development and learning is endless , there’s no race to the finish in either circumstance so invest in yourself and build on who you are.
3. Don’t think so much that you’ve missed out on opportunities in the past, just look to the future, what you aspire to achieve and have to share.
4. You can draw just as good as the next guy but remeber that like our artwork we’re all works in progress.
5. You’ve got your eye on the end goal and inside have creative idea’s and potential that someone else has yet to imagine.
Image by Artist Fredrik Rattzen you can find out more about their work here .
Claire Scully is a freelance Illustrator and Graphic Designer, Her clients include; New York Times, Random House and The Guardian to name a few. She has also collaborated with furniture maker D.H Painter and illustrator Susie Wright. Her inspiration comes from 50’s 60’s and 70’s architecture and the natural world. Her work often looks at the relationship between the urban enviroment and nature. I think the amount of detail which goes into these illustrations is very stunning and exciting to look at.
Posted by Jessica Holden
After a rough week or so where Illustration Friday was partially broken, we’re thrilled to announce that we’re back and fully operational. Thanks very much for all the positive feedback and support as we worked to keep Illustration Friday alive. You are all awesome.
We’re also excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Cannady Chapman, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of ‘MONEY’. You can also see a gallery of all the other inspiring entries here.
And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:
Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).
Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.
Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).
Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!
Michael Del Mundo is an artist who’s responsible for so many great comic book covers of late, but I didn’t realize, until recently, who he was. The new Marvel Now Elektra series features both cover art, and interiors by Del Mundo, and it’s received a ton of well deserved critical acclaim. In fact, he, and writer William H. Blackman have impressed Marvel so much with their work that they’ve been promised another project once Elektra ends.
Del Mundo has brought the same unconventional, and dynamic style to his interior artwork, that has made his covers so memorable. I’m looking forward to see what comes next for this exciting, young artist!
Michael Del Mundo is from the Philippines, and currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. You can follow his blog here.
For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates
Post by Natalie
Jana Curll is an icon obsessed, color hungry illustrator working from the rainy Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. She loves to create quirky work that engages and delights both the young and the young at heart.
See more of Jana’s work on her website.
Although I have previously blogged about the beautiful work of Jean Haines on my personal blog (see original post here) I really felt that it was necessary to include her work on the Illustration Friday blog, I didn’t want you to miss out on this talented artist!
Haines traveled the world between 1989 and 2006, touring Asia, the Middle East, America and Europe. During this time she found many influences for her art career, in particular China taught her a lot about brush control which is evident in her work today. Currently, Haines resides in England where traveling is still a huge part of her career.
It is easy to be envious of Haines’ talent in watercolour; her style appears loose but we know there is an element of control which creates these vivid, unique pieces of art. The strongest elements in her work appear when the subject is subtly hinted at but we still know it is there. As many artists are aware, watercolour is arguably one of the hardest mediums to use yet Haines makes it look natural and effortless; a rare talent that should be recognised by all.
More of Haines’ work can be found on her website.
Thanks for reading,