Interview #2 Lisa Cameron: Painter

lisa cameronAre you an artist full time?

Yes, this is my day job. I do try and get graphic jobs to supplement my fine art work. I am also working on a job right now of illustrating a children’s book.

Will that involve a lot of illustrations?

Yes. I have to do character development and then the illustrations for the book. But the challenge is it will take about six months to do. So right now I am trying to crank out as much art as I can to keep the galleries supplied while I am working on these other projects.

You seem to be an artist that works in a lot of mediums.

Trying to get jobs basically.

Do any mediums come naturally to you?

Not really. Clay does have more freedom than paint does though.

Why is that?

I am not sure how to explain that. I think it is because I do portraits and things like that so people expect it to come out like the previous ones.

Do you ever get commissions for ceramics?

Well I had one last year but it is mostly the paintings that I get commissioned for.

How much commission work do you get?

Well mostly I am cranking out work for the galleries. I don’t think I’ve had any commissions this year. Mostly it has been “jobs” like graphics and stuff. I used to get like one portrait a year which I was happy to get. Actually I used to do more commissioned work that I do now. And I’ve done projects such as murals.

Do you want more commissions?

Well they’re fun but there are draw backs to them because of the certain amount of expectations to them. Now that I think about it, it is actually more fun not to do commissions. I used to like them and wanted them because it felt like “yeah” I got some jobs. But it turns out they are too much like jobs versus just making something and have someone like it.

So what does your work day look like?

My work day? [laughs] It changes everyday. It’s kinda weird. It freaks my husband out. He like “ what are you doing today?” I have projects I am working on and I am on the board of Arts Alive so there are board meetings to go to and things like that. So it can seem like a chaotic mess of meetings and stuff that I have to fill in time with actually making stuff. Like just the other day I was flipping through my day timer and I had like two weeks with out an appointment. Another artist commented on how I no appointments and I had to laugh because that was my art time. My work time.

lisa cameron 02Do you work everyday?

Yes I do work everyday. Though I did take a trip to the Bahamas a couple of months ago.

When you have an idea for something what do you do with it? Do you keep it in your head, do you sketch it out?

I keep them sitting in here. [pointing to her head] I have sketched out some ideas to keep them straight so I know what was done and what I needed to do. I really don’t have the time to sketch it out. I really just want to crank it out.

Do you have any mentors or role models?

Well my mom is an art teacher. So that helped because I always had access to art materials and things like that. U of W had really excellent professors which would be kinda role models for me. They were really good. I really lucked out I think. But I had one TA that really taught me not to freak about doing it and to just do it.

Ever been blocked or had time when you couldn’t “just do it?”

Well when I was involved with a women’s network it was a time when I was really thinking about how can I make this work. Maybe if I go network with these business women I can learn things about business that will help me. And I got bogged down. That was like 5 years ago. Then I found Toastmasters and Toastmasters really helped me and enormous amount. I didn’t even know what Toastmasters was but it helped me to speak and to speak clearly and confidently. Which was huge for me. Its really a great thing for artists to do.

How do you feel about the business side of art?

It’s stressful and I have to spend a lot of time at it.

Does it help to me around other artists?

Yes it can be invigorating.

Do you ever experience burn out?

No, not yet. The more I do the more I want to do. I do sometimes feel like I am going to kill myself trying to get all this out but I mean life is so short.

lisa cameron 03How do you gauge success?

Well I feel successful because I have all sorts of jobs going on but its not financial. I just really want to be having fun. So that is success for me.

Check out Lisa’s website here.

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