Lisa is leaving Whipup – thank you Lisa for your informative and interesting posts and for being such a great inspiration to us all.
see my posts in my author archive
My name is Lisa Congdon, and I live in the heart of the Mission District in San Francisco, California. I am an almost totally self-taught craftsperson and artist, although my mother did have a hand in teaching me how to sew at a very young age. Making time in my studio can be a challenge; I have a demanding full time job as the Director of Program Development at an education non-profit organization. I love my work, and it pays the rent, but I cannot imagine a life without art or without creating. Both parts of my life feed each other and give me a sense of purpose. I am very
Creatively, I work in many mediums: paper collage, fabric, embroidery, paint, transfer, screen-printing, latch-hook, illustration and photography. I make both handmade goods like pillows and stuffed birds of my own design, as well as fine art like collage, illustration, textile art and photography, which I show in galleries. I am most inspired by natureâ€”and am completely taken with tree/wood imagery and bird imagery, which I incorporate into much of my work. I am also highly influenced by mid-century and contemporary design, typography, street art and graffiti and childrenâ€™s book illustrations from the 50â€™s through the 70â€™s.
I have been both inspired (and to a certain degree influenced (though it is not always visible) by a number of contemporary artists, including my favorites Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgallen, The Clayton Brothers, Thomas Campbell, Rex Ray, and Jim Hauser. And I also have a great deal of admiration and affection for the work of late artists and designers Alexander Calder, Ray and Charles Eames, Evaline Ness and Alexander Girard, and photographer, William Eggleston.
Part of why I love living and working in San Francisco is because art and emerging artists are such a rich part of the fabric of this city. Right outside my door are amazing displays of street art, and galleries and art resources abound. I get lots of my supplies at weekly trips to the many thrift stores in my neighborhood. I scrounge for fabric and ephemera, along with clothes for myself and other cool finds for my personal collections of odd things. My favorite independent art and design stores in San Francisco include Flax (www.flaxart.com) and Arch (www.archsupplies.com). The best place to find out about local art shows at the hundreds of small galleries around San Francisco (and some of the bigger ones) is www.fecalface.com.
I like to make something everyday, even if it is a small drawing in my notebook as I sit in a meeting at work. My advice to anyone wanting to be an artist or craftsperson is to write down every idea you have and take lots of risks, even if you are not sure you have the skill to execute your idea. Some of your greatest creations will be born from experiments.