Lisa Congdon's talk at Camp Mighty was excellent and full of great advice. I admire her artwork, as well as her story about how she became an artist. She radically changed her career path, transforming herself into a successful commercial artist in just five years. She is a prolific collector, which I totally identify with, and she started a project in 2010 called A Collection a Day in which she photographed, on a grid, a few items from her collection every single day. It has since become a book.
Lisa's remarkable life change began, as some good things do, with a traumatic event. The relationship that she had been in fell apart and part of recovering from that was resolving to start fresh in every aspect of her life. She had grown up in a family of artists and had always made things, but she finally decided to pursue a career making art. It took her two years of simultaneously working at her job at a non-profit and making, showing and selling art before she was able to quit her job and dedicate herself to her art.
In examining her path to a successful artist, she identified seven critical things that have helped her to succeed:
1. BE A NERD. Nerds are defined by passion and love for what they do, they often live thier lives to the fullest and are not afraid to make a fool of themselves.
2. DAYDREAM OFTEN. Imagine being magnificent and map out your hopes and dreams for yourself.
3. TAKE RISKS. What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? Failing is also ok though, we learn from our failures, risks always pay off because every effort is valuable.
4. PRACTISE & HONE. Just practise, perfect and experiment. Repeat. Then ask for feedback about what you are doing. It will make it better if you can listen to what people think about what you are doing.
5. EMBRACE THE SUCK. You must work through the ugly stage and take it to the next level.
6. SHOW UP. Supporting others in the community is invaluable, be there for the people in your tribe.
7. STAY TRUE. This is the most challenging, but it is the most important.
Lisa is an inspiration to us all, to live the life we dream of and to be successful at it. She just began a new daily project on her blog called 365 Days of Hand Lettering, in which she will hand letter something every day. She's starting with the letters of the alphabet and will do sayings and words as well. I look forward to this project, as I've become interested in hand lettering myself while drawing these Camp Mighty Talk summaries. (As an aside, the letter R is very hard for me to draw!) I also just bought a 1950's book on lettering (inscribed to someone named Wolfie!) so perhaps you will see something about this topic from me too. Hand lettering is the perfect blend of art and design.
This is the last Camp Mighty Talk! I hope you have enjoyed them. If you would like to watch the complete lectures for yourself, you can visit the Camp Mighty Vimeo Channel. Or check out my other illustrated Camp Mighty Talks for Brian Piotrowicz, Evany Thomas, Buster Benson and Kenna.