Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Artist Inspiration Interview: RE-Mixed!

I had hoped to post this INCREDIBLE
bit of creative inspiration before the last
day of May. Unfortunately, due to the near
constant threat of thunderstorms and down-
pours, and a laundry list of outside chores to
accomplish, I spent my entire Memorial Day
weekend dashing about at some frantic pace
trying to chip away at a pressing yard-work
to-do list.

So, although today is the first of
June, I am still VERY EXCITED to
share this interview with Artist/Author
Extraordinaire...ALISA BURKE!

1. Alisa can you share with us a career
background or history. Schools attended,
jobs held pertaining to art. Kind of an
evolution of how you arrived to where
you are today.

I pretty much always knew I wanted to
be an artist! My parents are potters and
have worked at home for themselves my
whole life, so I had a very creative child-
hood where my art was fostered and
encouraged. Growing up I took drawing
classes, participated in art shows, contests
and sold things at craft fairs. It wasn't until
I graduated from high school that the concept
of being an artist became real for me. While I
had always loved the creative process and
identified myself as an artist, I fell in love
with it in college and studied painting and
printmaking. From that point on I knew I
would do whatever it took to pursue a career
in the arts! Like most, I worked lots of "day
jobs" while working on my portfolio, showing
my art and taking on freelance jobs. I landed
a really great job in marketing that allowed me
to be creative but it never satisfied my craving
to make art on my terms. I set out to quit my
job- a 5 year process that started with setting
a lot of little goals to work towards that would
get me to the point of making money and
supporting myself with my art full time-
After time spent working long days, lots
of rejection, research, tears, persistence
and never giving up, I was able to get to
the point (financially and creatively) to quit
my job last year and have never looked back!
For the first time I feel like I am doing exactly
what I was meant to do.

2. You are very prolific in your art making.
How do you find time for it all? Do you keep
a certain schedule? How do you plan your day,
your week, your month?

I am blessed (and cursed) to have LOTS
of creative energy and I love having a full
schedule with a many different projects
going on at once. I tend to work and
create very fast- I don't have a lot of
patience for taking my time on making
art- when I have an idea I have to make
it come to life immediatly! I know it sounds
crazy but my inspiration and creativity seem
to flourish when there is a lot to be done! I
am dreamy and scatter brained by nature
but over the years and working for someone
else really instilled an understanding of
organization and planning that I have applied
to my creative life. Working in marketing you
always have to be way ahead of the game,
there are production schedules, specific goals,
details and intention behind every projects. I
have taken all those concepts and skills and
put them to use in my career as an artist. I
schedule EVERYTHING- typically 1-2 weeks
out on a calendar- from every single one of
my daily tasks to the topics for my blog posts
to projects and goals for next two years. While
things can slip through the cracks or I have
moments of overwhelm and knowing I have
taken on too much- I learn and try to do it
different the next time.

3.What suggestions/advise would you give
other artists for creating a career in art?

My experience has been a long, slow and
steady journey so all the advice that I give
tends to be based in this philosophy.
Because I grew up with parents who are self
employed artists, I've known since I was a
child what it takes to run a successful,
evolving creative business and while wonderful,
it can be challenging, full of ups and downs
and sometimes scary. While I have always known
I would work for myself, I also wanted things to
be right before making the leap. For ten years
I worked a "normal jobs" and then pursued my
art on the side and this really worked for my life
and while I never felt completely satisfied, I was
able to have a steady paycheck while taking on
creative opportunities and risks with my art
without my finances suffering. It wasn't until
my creative opportunities began to outweigh
(and out pay!) my day job and I had to make
the decision to LEAP but it wasn't that much
a of risk anymore- I was already making money,
I had been working in the arts in some way since
high school and I knew what to expect. The best
advice I have is to NEVER EVER give up and if you
have true passion for your art- you will find a way
to make it fit into your life. Its ok to take baby
steps- go back to school, get training, take time
to do research, try and identify a realistic vision
what your life would look like, make time every
day for creative projects and tasks, set goals for
yourself and your art (and meet them), take on
3-4 creative jobs all at once and seen how it
feels- the idea of being an artist is romantic and
whimsical (and often it is!) but working day in and
day out as an artist can be challenging- educate
and prepare yourself!

4. How do you motivate yourself when you are
not feeling particularly inspired to create?

Often my problem is not lack motivation or
inspiration- I tend to have TOO may ideas
that send me spinning- I call it creative A.D.D-
and it is usually my biggest challenge! My brain
never seems to shut off when it comes to ideas
so I have to really practice slowing down and
taking one thing at a time and writing down all
of my other ideas to pursue at a better time.
While I have not come to a place of lacking
motivation and inspiration- I still struggle
with spinning my wheels and being productive
because I am bouncing around with too many
projects! I have discovered since working full
time for myself that I am addicted to constant
work, inspiration and energy that comes with
being an artist and running a business so with
my husband's urging I have been scheduling
time to step away and not be inspired, motivated
or planning- totally backwards I know but it has
helped me be a more balanced artist.

5. I am very influenced by my surroundings...
does living in California have a great influence
on your art and what about your surroundings
inspires you the most?
Are there other inspirations (like family, home)
that fuel those creative fires?

Hmmm...good question and I am actually
not sure! I can really find inspiration just
about anywhere. Regardless of where I
am (traveling or living) I tend to really
seek out things that are colorful, beautiful,
make me smile and take my breath away.
I find sometimes these things are elements
of nature, while other times they are people
and moments and then other times they are
urban and grungy. I have found that if I
creatively adapt to my surrounding and keep
my eyes open for inspiration, it is usually right
in front of me waiting to be discovered.

6. What is your mediums of choice?
Have worked with these mediums your
entire career or did you evolve from
previous mediums to what you use now?
Why do you like these particular mediums?
What's your favorite product or products?

Painting is definetly my favorite medium and
I have worked in it since junior high, through
high school and declared it as my major in
college. But really I LOVE just about any medium.
In college I took so many different classes to try
everything- sculpture, drawings, assemblage,
graphic design, etc. even back then I had a case
of the creative A.D.D!! These days I am loving
sewing just much as I love painting- which is
actually a big surprise for me- I cannot get
enough of sewing projects.

When it comes to products, I am a simple gal-
I am always on the hunt for the cheapest way
to make something really beautiful. My favorites-
a black sharpie pen, red and turquoise acrylic
paint (any brand) white muslin and my Bernina
sewing machine

7. What is your favorite artwork that is not your
own? What is your favorite artwork that you created?

Guernica by Picasso has always been one
of my all time favorite paintings.

And my own would be this large (huge)
painting that was a commission for a friend.

8. Tell us about your studio... where it is
located, how is it decorated. How does
your home compare to your studio? Has
this always been your studio space or did
your studio evolve from a closet, perhaps
a bedroom to where you are now? How
and when did you decide to expand?

The space I work in is our garage that we
converted into my studio and I LOVE IT!
I have literally worked everywhere from
the bathtub in my tiny studio apartment
while in college to spare bedrooms, to
the kitchen floor to finally the space I
am currently in. When we bought our
home we knew that the garage would
be my space and while it is not as big
as I would like it is a wonderful and I
am able to paint and sew and have lots
of room to spread out.

9. I love listening to music and burning
candles while in my studio... what is your
favorite rituals when you are in your studio
working? If you listening to music, what are
your favorite artists? and/or share with us
some specifics about other favorite rituals

Lately I have been so busy filling orders
and doing a lot of repatative work that
is boring so all of my rituals have been
thrown out the window and I watch
movies and tv reruns to keep myself
entertained. If I am working on paintings
or art I blast my music and just paint! Muse,
Silversun Pickups, Vampire Weekend, Thievery
Corporation, are a few of my favorites. I really
just loose myself in the energy of creating
quickly and expressively.

10. What sort of books/magazines are you
currently reading? What about them inspires you?

Oh gosh I wish I had a really great answer for
this one and while in the past I have read all
kinds of amazing literature- I am going to
be honest- lately I have been reading an
adult (not Twilight) vampire mystery series
(that is actually a little trashy!) and there nothing
inspiring about them but I am able to just let my
brain escape from thinking about creating, running
a business and being an artist. I do love magazines
and will read anything from Vogue, Lucky and Elle
for fashion inspiration (I love fashion!) to just about
any home decorating magazine but my most favorite
magazine Juxtapoz.

11. Share with us a dream, desire, or goal
you want to see fulfilled.

I have lots of dreams and goals but currently
the biggest and most important is finding
BALANCE in my day in/out routine! With the
amount of projects that I have taken on, I
often feel like my head is spinning, like I am
always working on something and while I
wouldn't change a thing and am so thankful
to be working as an artist, it is clear that it
is time to bring balance back into my life! I
need to make time for self care, relaxation,
new hobbies, volunteering and just being
lazy once in a while. After 1 year under
my belt of working for myself, I am ready
to take a good hard look at things and start
making some positive changes with the hope
to achieve that balance.

Stay Tuned for more RE-MIX Goodness.
I'll be posting details for an Alisa
Burke GIVEAWAY on Thursday!!!!!!

And be sure to check out my interview
over on Alisa's Blog.

1 comment:

Diana Trout {Nan.DT@verizon.net} said...

Oooo! Great interview! I love what you two are doing with this format!