In the Studio: Lisa Congdon


In the Studio, presented by 20x200 and Jen Bekman Projects, is a series of interviews spotlighting some of our crazy-talented 20x200 artists. Each Q+A takes us inside an artist’s work space and gives a behind-the-scenes look at their artistic process, peculiarities, and preferences. View the entire series and get to know your favorite artists here.

Artist Lisa Congdon is awesome. In fact, she’s so awesome that her blog is named Today is Going to Be Awesome. We’re always in awe of Lisa’s bright, whimsical studio pics — we have so many of them to share with you! Take a peek at these, and then read on to hear about Lisa’s tips and tricks to her busy and bountiful studio practice.


Studio Speak

Where is your studio?
In a warehouse in Oakland.

What’s the first thing you do when you arrive in the studio?
Fill my water buckets.

Congdon reaches for a brush at her work desk

What’s your favorite “tool” in the studio?
One of my fat paint brushes.

What’s on your studio playlist?
Audiobooks, mostly! And lately I have been sucked into the new “Serial” podcast by This American Life producer Sarah Koenig.

What do you wear as you work?
Pretty much whatever I feel like, except that I always wear an apron.

What’s your favorite way to sweat it out?
Spin class.

A few of Congdon’s trusted art tools

Don’t lie…what’s your favorite way to procrastinate?
Instagram.

Which artist’s collections from 20x200 do you covet?
I absolutely love Helena Wurzel’s work. [Editor’s note: Check out Ms. Wurzel’s “In the Studio” interview from two weeks ago!]


Whens, Hows & Whys

When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
I didn’t start painting or drawing until I was 31 years old. By the time I was about 38 I realized I wanted to do this for a living. There was no magical moment. It was all just a series of mostly fortunate events and a lot of hard work.

How did you get there?
I am self-taught. I painted for a long time in the privacy of my own home before I ever sold anything. Around 2005 I began sharing my work on the internet. And in 2006 I had my first show. In 2007 I left my other job to pursue art full-time.

How did you get connected with 20x200?
Jen Bekman began shopping at a store I owned in San Francisco back in around 2007 and we became acquainted that way. Then shortly thereafter she contacted me about becoming a 20x200 artist. I was pretty excited, obviously. I was still pretty new on the scene and it was a great opportunity for me.

Her fondness for bright colors is evident everywhere

How do you get over creative blocks?
Determination. I do just have days where I feel completely rotten about my work, and feel really paralyzed. But most of the time I have to push through it because I have something that is due to a gallery or an illustration client. I take breaks, obviously, and that helps. But mostly I don’t cave in to the voices in my head or feelings of irritation with my work. I push through them — and some of my best work comes after I have pushed through a creative block. Knowing that makes it easier each time it happens.


The 411 on Lisa Congdon

Lisa Congdon is a San Francisco-based illustrator and fine artist. Raised in both Upstate New York and Northern California, she grew to love the trees and animals that surrounded her. That love is now expressed through her colorful paintings and drawings. Her clients include Chronicle Books, Running Press, Harper Collins Publishing, Target, Pottery Barn Teen, Urban Outfitters, Land of Nod and Random House Publishing. She’s an avid cyclist, swimmer and vegan. Lisa’s 20x200 editions are well-loved — check them out here!

Professional Site: Lisa Congdon
Blog: Today Is Going To Be Awesome
Twitter: @lisacongdon
Instagram: @lisacongdon

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