WEEK ONE: Flow Magazine has asked me to blog for them on Wednesdays all month. We thought it would be fun to share these posts over here too!
I was born in Lansing, Michigan, and I was a very creative child. I was always interested in sewing or painting, or anything that involved colors. I studied printmaking at Minneapolis College of Art & Design.
After college I just wanted to travel the U.S. so I funded my trip by sewing hand made dresses, and selling them at music concerts, It was a great way to see my country. It also started me into a business printing, sewing and later manufacturing my own clothing.
I made clothes and sold under the label Makool for many years. When I gave birth to my son 5 years ago, my love for travel and adventure won again and we decided to move from Portland, Oregon to Amsterdam, NL.
While living in Amsterdam I fell in love with the canal houses and the bicycles and I began painting and drawing. I started taking classes in illustration, and before I knew it I had a new career.
Last year we moved back from Amsterdam, to Portland. Portland is on the West Coast of the U.S. right above California. It's in a temperate rain forest. It rains a lot here, but the rain makes it very green.
The city is covered in moss, ferns, fog and old growth trees. It feels good to live here, the city seems to glow green, it’s very healing. I missed this living in Amsterdam.
Enjoy! - Anisa
WEEK TWO: I thought today it would be nice if I gave you a tour of my new studio. Part of the incentive for me to move to Portland from Amsterdam was that I would have a new house. Our house was finished last June and we were able to move in after a long wait. My favorite room is my studio, it’s open with concrete floors and floor to ceiling windows facing the south. It’s a L shape so it’s hard to photograph, also on the day I took these picture we had some unexpected sunshine in Portland, it’s very rare.
You can see my cat “Happy Kids T.V.”, showing you the butterflies I did for this month’s issue of Flow. She’s a Devon Rex cat and she likes to come to my studio and find things she can attack.
This is where I spend the majority of my time. I like to draw with pencils or calligraphy pens, and paint with gouache, ink, or acrylic. I mostly don’t keep sketch books unless I’m traveling. I prefer to make a bunch of drawings, and tape them to the wall. I work with my drawings in photoshop and I find that having them taped to the wall, lets me see everything I have without toggling through folders.
Thanks for stopping by my studio. Next week I’m going to introduce you to some of my friends. - Anisa
This week I wanted to show you how I stay creative and social. Having creative social outlets helps me to stay inspired, by thinking about making art in different ways.
Portland is a very creative city, I feel fortunate to be a part of the art community. Last year a group of women artists started an event called “Ladies Drawing Night”, it a private group, when I was asked to join I was very excited. The group meets once a month, we get together to sit around a table, drink wine, share snacks, and make art. This has connected me with some amazingly talented local women, whom I admire, and it’s been a great resource. Last month I brought my camera along to share a picture with you.
Another project I do with friends is “Stamp Art Club”, once a month we each make a postage stamp based on a theme. There are four of us, and we make these images to share on Instagram. We have a hashtag #stampartclub if you’d like to view the whole project.
The artists are Tara Lilly from Portland, Oregon, Monika Forsberg from London, and Kate Mason from Australia.
One great thing about stamp art club is that it keeps me in touch with friends who live far away. We are doing a project together so we can’t fall out of touch, also it insures that I have one playful assignment every month that’s just for myself. So much of what you do as an illustrator is making work for clients, constantly thinking about what the client wants can get tiresome.
I hope to encourage other creatives out there to begin some sort of “creative playground”, someplace where there’s no pressure just connecting with other artists in fun ways. It can help to get you out of your own head, and the connections you'll make are priceless. - Anisa
WEEK 4: I used to think I couldn’t draw, but now I think drawing is like a muscle if you don’t use it’s not very strong and the more you use it the better it works.
When I was in college, I always got C’s in drawing no matter how much energy I put into the class. This was discouraging for me and I only took the required amount of drawing to graduate art school. I ended up studying photography and printmaking.
After college I went on to teach myself how to sew and design patterns for clothing. I did some screen printing on the clothing, but not very much. I spent the next 10 years building up a business, selling hand made clothing designs. Meanwhile I always felt something was missing. I noticed myself spending time on the internet admiring the work of artists and illustrators.
It was when I moved from Portland to Amsterdam that I stopped the clothing business it just wasn’t possible to move it. I had a lot of time to be alone with my creativity which was really nagging me. I felt lost not having a creative outlet. One day when I was on Amazon shopping for books a suggestion caught my eye. It was Lilla Rogers “I just like to make things”, the title alone spoke to me and I ordered the book. Shortly after, I began taking her classes, and things just snowballed from there. Today I couldn’t imagine not drawing and painting every day, it feels like I’ve been doing this my whole life.
Here’s a suggestion to get into drawing. Give yourself an assignment. I used to tell myself I’m just going to draw an object 50 times. I discovered if you draw a chicken 50 times it’s not possible to have 50 bad drawings of a chicken a few of them will be interesting and pretty good. It’s a great way to get yourself into drawing and to discover your style.
Thanks you for spending the month with me, I loved blogging every week. - Anisa