On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about creativity and drawing and making art with my guest Alisa Burke.
If she’s not making art in her Oregon Coast studio, you can find freelance painter and mixed media artist Alisa Burke blogging, teaching art workshops or crafting her handmade accessories. Whether it’s running her creative business, being a mom or adventuring outdoors, she is always looking for inspiration. From drawing, painting, cooking and even the way she raises her daughter, Alisa seeks to infuse creativity into every part of her life.
Alisa talks about the creative household she grew up in and her own path toward a creative career. She explains how she developed a 5-year plan to quit her day job and pursue art full time. Alisa has an open mind when it comes to trying new avenues to earn money from her art and has tried many avenues including writing books, licensing, selling finished goods on Etsy, teaching online classes and working with brands. In our conversation, she explains what’s worked for her and why.
A few years ago Alisa and her husband had a baby and decided to move from California to the Oregon coast to live a simpler life. Hear about that move and what it’s meant for her creatively. Alisa also talks about her approach to blogging and social media including the importance of giving away good content for free.
And, of course, I ask Alisa to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Alisa recommends:
- smoothie bowls
- podcasts including Startup and Radiolab
- Sakura Koi Watercolor Sketch Box set
Keep up with Alisa on her blog and on Instagram.
This episode is sponsored by Spoonflower. Do you want to learn to design, print and sell your own fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap? Try the Spoonflower Intro to Custom Fabric Design ebook. It’s a free download you can read in about 10 minutes and it takes you through every step from uploading your design and creating a repeat pattern to searching the Spoonflower marketplace. Visit try.spoonflower.com/abby and save 15% off your first order by using the code abby15 at checkout.
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Alisa Burke and her approach to art has been life changing to me. She freed me from all sorts of hang ups about it, which has taken me from my late teens until my middle age to do. She is so incredibly generous with her knowledge and her creativity and ideas are seemingly endless. Her online courses are so much fun with excellent content and although she shows what she does (invaluable) she somehow imparts the knowledge in a way that makes you go feel positive enough to go forward and make art that is your own.
I also wish she had been around when my daughter was small, her artistic journey with her daughter is awe-inspiring. I love the exploring we will go posts. For someone who isn’t a risk taker, she keeps pushing on forward. She certainly inspires me. Thanks for this podcast.
I wholeheartedly agree Sara!
I loved the podcast, as usual, but especially appreciated the segment wheRE you both talked about failure. Hardly anyone talks about that, yet apparently I am not the only one who experiences failure regularly. Blogs and podcasts that share only successes (99.9%) are like glossy magazines with photoshopped images: Beautiful to look at, but they reinforce the “What’s wrong with me?” reproach I give myself after every attempt that is not immediately successful. THANK YOU, ABBY AND ALISA!
I’m so glad to hear that, Nancy. Rejection is a big part of becoming a success and although we might not highlight it very often it’s part of everyone’s story.
I always enjoy your podcasts. This one especially. I appreciate Alisa’s honesty about the challenges and her desire to do lots of things, as long as I am making. I recently had a friend say I am too squirrels and I need to focus. To hear Alisa say she tries lots of things reminded me it is okay to travel this world the way feels most comfortable to me….. Making art and lots of it! Thank you to both of you for sharing.
This was such an interesting podcast, especially listening to the transition Alisa made to earning her salary full time from creative work. I used to make all my money from freelance art workshops when I was in my 20s; and after my daughter was born, I thought I wanted to work full time selling my art work and doing workshops again. Over the last 3 years though, I’ve realised that for me, the best solution is to work part time in a completely different job (mental health and suicide prevention) where I get to use my brain in a very focused way (report writing and policy drafting) and most of all, get to interact with my colleagues – all of which I missed so much when I was self employed. Now I enjoy doing art for arts sake – and if I sell some of it on the way, that’s great, but no pressure. For me, I hated having to do the boring tasks associated with selling my art – listings, packaging, photography, website maintenance etc – and these tasks started to dominate when I was trying to sell more of my art. The rejection Alisa refers to was too much for me – art was such a personal and precious part of my life, that I couldn’t bear the low level of rejection all the time. So, in summary, I think you and Alisa are truly remarkable, determined, resilient people, to be able to make your living from your craft. One other point – from listening to your podcasts, I discovered Instagram (how late am I?) and this is such an encouraging community to be a part of and helps you find your ‘tribe’ – I love it!
Marliese, You really describe well the hard parts of making a business from art or craft – missing the interaction with colleagues, desling with the boring administrative tasks, and the “low level” of rejection that sorta feels ever present no matter how successful you become. It is certainly not the best path for everyone and I’m really glad that this interview with Alisa was helpful and interesting to you! Thank you for such a thoughtful comment.
I’m catching up on podcasts and took yesterday doing collage work while listening to this episode & the one about Wahl, and they were both so great Abby!
Since I’m an artist I really appreciate that you’re also interviewing illustrators & visual artists too now – it’s something I think is missing from the podcast world, so you’re def filling a void with these.
And of course I’ve been a fan of Alisa’s work since the dawn of the Internet, so thank you!
Those are two great episodes to listen to! Thank you so much Hanna.
Thank you for such an interesting listen. I too really liked the discussion on failure. It reminded me of the cv of failures that I read about recently: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/apr/30/cv-of-failures-princeton-professor-publishes-resume-of-his-career-lows
Reading this article today : http://www.artofmanliness.com/2016/06/13/how-to-moonlight-your-way-to-your-dreams-case-studies-from-famous-men/ reminded me of what Alisa said about her side hustle and so I thought I’d share.
You write about such interesting things. Thanks again.