Monday, March 8, 2010

An Artist Interview: Alisa Burke

I recently interviewed artist Alisa Burke and
I am thrilled to share with you what I found out about this
highly creative, edgy and authentic artist.
   
Alma:
What is your story, how did you become an artist?

Alisa:
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    I 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 childhood 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. 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 this last year and have never looked back! For the first time I feel like I am doing exactly what I was meant to do!
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Alma:
    Is there a word that best describes the work you do?

Alisa:
messy, wild and free!
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Alma:
    There seems to be a touch of graffiti in your work,
Are you inspired by it?
    How did your style evolve?

Alisa:
 I have always been attracted to color, line, layers and the use of text. All through college painting classes, I often started my formal assignments with lots of abstraction, messy swipes of color, texture and layers and I would paint my assignment over the top- this process has just evolved over time.  While I appreciate a more refined approach to drawing and painting, I love abstraction, expression through color and the idea of layers. I am definitely inspired by the 80's urban art movement! More than anything I love the concept of graffiti and try to pull this inspiration into my own work- freedom, expression, layers.
IMG_3355
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Alma:
    Your book, Canvas Remix has been a wonderful success.
How did it come about?

Alisa:
I was going to a wedding and I wanted a funky purse to go with a black dress- I couldn't find anything so I cut up one of my canvas paintings and sewed it into a clutch!  While I was already working with canvas in different ways, I was really inspired to push it even further and thought that this concept would make a great how to book for artists looking for new ways to redefine their art. I proposed the book concept to F&W publications, it was approved and the rest is history!
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Alma:
    Who is your favorite artist? Why?
Alisa:
 I am a HUGE fan of Picasso! Often we think of him just for cubism but his career was so full of change, growth and taking risks.  I have great admiration for artists who continue to learn and grow- Picasso was well versed in realism, drawing, abstraction, painting, color theory, lithography, pottery and even set design!
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IMG_2973
Alma:
    Which is your favorite art period? Why?

Alisa:
This will probably surprise people but I love the Baroque period- specifically the Dutch Golden Age painting.  I became a little obsessed with this time while taking art history classes. To this day, I love this moment in history and artists like Vermeer, Frans Hals and Rembrandt who so perfectly captured the changing time, everyday subjects, color and light.
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Alma:
    Your Etsy shop is wonderfully stocked with a luscious variety of your original work, from rubber stamps to handmade accessories. Lucky is the art lover whom acquires it.  Do you ever find it difficult to let go of your original pieces?

Alisa:
I always am sad to see things go. 
Because everything I make is hand crafted,
 I get attached and often have a hard time saying goodbye!
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IMG_2838
    Alma:   
Is there an art supply you simple love? why?
Alisa:
I am pretty simple with my supplies-
my favorite ‘must have’ is black paint and a brush-
it is a staple in everything that I create.
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Alma:
    What are some of the challenges you face as an artist?
    acceptance, recognition, understanding.

Alisa:
I think the biggest challenge for me is staying true to myself while somehow building a creative business. Creativity and business often don't go together and it is hard to make decisions that may be good for business but not very inspiring for art!  Since this is now my source of income I find myself saying yes to things that I wouldn't have done in the past and I question whether I am making the right decisions.
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Alma:
    What are some of your short term and long term goals?

Alisa:
Honestly, right now I am just trying to get through my first year as a full time artist. While I have lots of little goals and things I want for the future, I am giving myself this time of learning, growth and experimentation.  In May, it will be one year that I have been working for myself and this will be the time that I set some bigger more defined goals for what comes next! Overall, I just want to continue to build a creative business, challenge and inspire others, and continue to learn and push myself with different mediums.
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Alma:
    What else can we see from you this year?
    Any new projects, collaborations, plans...

Alisa:
    I will be writing another book, teaching new and different classes, growing my wholesale purse business and continue to figure out this creative life!
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Thank you Alisa

8 comments:

Jenny Doh said...

Great interview.
Alisa, those jeans! Those jeans are hot.
Jenny

iHanna said...

Great interview, Alma! Alisa is such an inspiration, I adore her art and blog.

jane lafazio said...

fascinating interview! thanks Alma and Alisa.

lyric Kinard said...

Yes - I think I will wear jeans next time I'm painting and have a few purposeful accidents!
I highly recommend Alisa's on-line classes as well. They are invigorating and well produced.
Thanks for introducing her to your readers.

Judy Merrill-Smith said...

Alma, thanks for doing this interview. I love Alisa's style -- her work inspired me to do a lot more fabric painting. In fact, I painted some fabric last week, and I'm thinking about doing some free-motion sewing on it before I sew it up into a bag. (And I have YOU to thank for my plunge into free-motion sewing...!)

Melly said...

Great review. I really am amazed. Love the flower graffiti peice, thanks for making it em-big-able.

Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...

GREAT INTERVIEW!!! Thanks for sharing Alma! and Alisa!

kass said...

Alisa is such an inspiration Alma, as you are - thankyou for a great interview!