medium /// illustration

“ufos, diaries & underdogs”


I don’t know how I did it, but somehow I managed to get American artist Esther Pearl Watson on the podcast. Actually I know exactly how I did it … I asked Martha Rich to ask her for me. Worked like a charm. I have been a huge fan of Esther’s for years, and finally met her a few weeks ago in New York. I was nervous and intimidated… until she opened her mouth. I quickly realized that she was hilarious, really nice, and actually a little bit shy herself. Esther’s story is amazing… she had a very unique childhood, to say the least, and it fuels much of her current work. Anyway, I’ll stop typing so you can start listening. Hit play right up there under “Looking for the Swimming Hole at Dinosaur State Park”, or you can subscribe on iTunes. First up, a few of my favorite pieces from her painting portfolio. Esther refers to them as memory paintings, and I called them “postcards from childhood”:


Amazing. Instead of sunny, perfect childhood memories, Esther illustrates the darker side… you know, things like “Before the Landlord Finds Us” {you’ll have to listen to find out why there are so many UFOs in her paintings}. Part of the reason I think she’s such a creative genius is because of the way she recognizes / embraces her experiences, good and bad, and turns them into creative projects. Speaking of which, she found an old diary in a dirty roadside gas station bathroom… and yep, she turned THAT into art too. Enter “Tammy Pierce”:


Creative. Genius. Since that day, years ago in a gas station bathroom, Tammy Pierce has become her own woman. {ps. the real owner of the diary was not named Tammy Pierce… it’s a name that Esther made up from various names found in her husband’s high school year book… and btw, her husband is Mark Todd – another insanely talented artist / illustrator / teacher}. Here’s a little taste of Tammy’s world today:


Oh Tammy. So many bad decisions. And there you have it… I beat the art history books and got Esther’s story now! It was such a thrill to meet her in person, and I’m over the moon that she said yes to the podcast. I hope you loved it as much as I did! Thanks to Esther for sharing her hilarious, creative stories; thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode; and of course, thanks to you for listening {AND thanks to everyone that’s given a rating on iTunes… ART FOR YOUR EAR is slowly moving up, row by row, in the “What’s Hot in Art” section because of you guys!}

Other people/things we talked about:

Mark Todd  /  Ashley Mistriel  /  Martha Rich  /  Alice Neel  /  ArtCenter College of Design, LA  

ps. I mentioned my brother, playing a hand mirror as a guitar in my “bossy older sister” air band… and should have mentioned that he wrote, played, and recorded the music for this podcast! Another creative genius. Thanks Cam, you’re the best  xo. 

mr. dog’s christmas at the hollow tree inn… and a GIVE-AWAY!

Thank you to everyone that entered the draw for this lovely, heart-warming, made with love storybook! I could only draw one name, and that name is… MEGAN CARTY! If your name isn’t Megan Carty, you can still buy this beauty directly from the Cordes family. Visit their site, right here.

*Stay tuned because I’ll be giving away a little something, via my Facebook page, every Friday between now and Christmas!


I don’t know about you, but I am in desperate need of a happy, feel-good story… this is it! All of this started with a decades long holiday family tradition, reading a story that is over 100 years old. This tale, titled “Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn”, was written by Albert Bigelow Paine in 1898. The Cordes family has been reading it on Christmas Eve for generations. Such a shame that it has long been out of print… and so they decided to take it upon themselves to change that! Betsy Cordes, an art director with ideas, business savvy, licensing expertise, and a love of working with artists reached out to American illustrator Adam McCauley {really interesting video here with Adam talking about his traditional “crow quill” ink drawings}. With a lot of love, a truckload of hard work, and a very successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, they brought Mr.Dog and his friends at the Hollow Tree Inn back to life! Take a look at this video of Betsy and her dad, Jim, talking about the sweet story behind this sweet story. ps. This was their Kickstarter video from 2014, which they finished with flying colors… so no need to pledge. Since this video they’ve printed a second, limited edition, run. Ok, now you can watch it…

Ah, Mr. Dog’s Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn … I just got a copy when I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago, and it’s absolutely gorgeous! Red linen, gold foil, Adam’s illustrations! Want one? Of course you do! Leave a comment below and I will draw one name on Monday November 30, at noon PST…. and if you don’t win this give-away, you can still order one right here. But be quick… Betsy and her family were only able to print a limited number for this holiday season.

“a nod to creativity”


Michelle Kohanzo is a huge lover of art, which works out quite well because she also happens to be the Managing Director at The Land of Nod in Chicago. Yes, she has an amazing eye and is ALWAYS on the hunt for talented artists to bring into the Nod family {hint hint}. Listen right up there under the red canoe, or subscribe on iTunes. As you’re listening, take a look at the things we talked about in the order that we talked about them. The first thing Michelle and I have in common… our love of weaving, and the work of Maryanne Moodie {ps. how gorgeous is this piece?}


Whoa. So good. Boy, I wish I could do that… one day! Next up, an amazingly gorgeous shoot that Michelle arranged with LA based photographer Stephanie Vovas for The Land of Nod. Here is a peek at the work that came out of that magical weekend at Camp Wandawega:


Gorgeous! And yes, those few final shots were a little bit special… it’s Michelle and her daughter Emily! They got all glammed up, hopped in a canoe, and Stephanie shot these beauties {including the lead image in the post… which might be my favorite}. In fact I even included the image of Emily in the camper in a show that I curated at the Bedford Gallery in 2014. Up next, I asked Michelle about a few of her favorite artists:


Soft sculpture by Tamar Mogendorff / Ashley Goldberg / Emily Jeffords / Me. Yep, those jars are two of my hand-cut collages that Nod commissioned for the Spring 2016 collection?! If you want to get your work in front of Michelle, listen to her tips on the podcast, and then send your submission straight to her inbox {for real}.  … good luck!

And finally, she told me about her trip to Laos and the work of this amazing woman, Carol Cassidy {the link she mentioned was wrong, but the link here is right.} Here’s her studio, and some silk weaving in action:


Such a great story… empowering women through art/craft. So inspiring. So, I could stop right there, but I feel like I should cap the post off with a few more of Stephanie’s Wes Anderson-esque shots of Michelle and Emily:


Love! But wait, there’s more… speaking of Wes Anderson, look what I found on Michelle’s Instagram feed. This is Michelle, her husband, and their kids. Beyond fantastic:


Ha! So good! Alright, NOW I’ll say thanks to Michelle, to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode, and of course to you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend. Bye!

“make piles of crap”


Obsessive consumption, rule-based projects, impostor syndrome, telling our inner a**hole where to go, and “making piles of crap” because that’s the only way you get better. Oh. This woman. So smart, so funny, so talented. I’m talking to Portland based illustrator/educator Kate Bingaman-Burt … she always has a ton of cool things on the go, so I am slightly stunned that I was able to get her for the podcast. She tucked herself away in a quiet corner of her office at school, and we talked and talked and talked {we went a little longer than normal!}. Maybe it’s because she’s a teacher, but wow, she had so much great advice to share. Listen right up there under the swirly IKEA cone, or subscribe on iTunes. As you’re listening, take a look at the things we talked about in the order that we talked about them. First up, one of Kate’s credit card statements… hand-drawn as self-imposed punishment:


Yep, she drew {and shared} all of her credit card statements until her debt was paid off. This is where her rule-based projects really took off. They of course led to her daily drawings… she drew everything she bought, every day, for YEARS. There are zillions of them, but here are just a few of my favorites:


Gah! So good… and what I might love even more is her hilarious commentary on each purchase! Clearly when obsessive behavior is involved, you have to organize your zillions of drawings somehow. Enter Kate’s monthly zine, “Obsessive Consumption” where she catalogued all of these hand-drawn purchases… which then became a big, beautiful book by the same title:


So. Good. Speaking of good, have you seen Handmade Nation? It’s a fantastic film by Faythe Levine. I love it so much, but until this podcast I had no idea that Kate did all of the illustrations for it! Who knew?


ps. If you haven’t seen this movie, you totally should{Note to self: Invite Faythe Levine to be on the podcast}. And finally, in the speed round, I asked Kate about her favorite place to shop. I thought she might say IKEA or thrift shops, but nope… office supply stores! Apparently when Kate’s feeling creatively blocked, she wanders the label aisle to get unstuck {pun absolutely intended}. Here are a few of her purchases from the shelves that get her creative fires burning:


Post-its. Kate loves post-its, as I’m sure you can see from the number of pads she buys at one time. Ok, I’m off to set up some rule-based projects for myself so that I can make piles of crap, and you should too … because that’s how you get to the good stuff! Thanks so much to Kate for taking the time to do this with me, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode, and thanks to YOU for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

ps. I hate to ask, but if you like my podcast, could you rate it on iTunes? It helps spread the word! xo

lea maupetit


Ooh la la! I love these paintings by Paris based artist/illustrator Lea Maupetit… and that first one would have come in really handy when I was trying to meet my book deadline this summer. I was tempted to buy it, but the original is SOLD {wahn wahn}. Maybe that vase of yellow flowers would make me feel better.

andrea d’aquino (and a book give-away!)

Oh my goodness! Thanks to all of you that entered to win this gorgeous book {if you didn’t win, I still think you should pick one up… Christmas is just around the corner, after all!}. I am very happy to announce that the winner is: KRISTIN LIU! 



Gasp! Stunning! Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, made new again by New York based mixed media artist Andrea D’Aquino. I cannot get over how beautiful this book is, and I’m so excited to read it to my son. I love Andrea’s work {I featured her in my book, Collage}. Not only is Andrea insanely talented, she also happens to be one of the nicest people around! She sent me two copies of this beautiful new book {that just hit shelves two days ago} … one for my family, and one for YOU! Just leave a comment below and I’ll draw one name on Monday September 21, 2015 … anyone can enter : )

{This gorgeous book is published by Quarto, and is available to buy in all sorts of bookstores… find them all right here!}

“a pitch on a silver platter”


*photo by  Liz Daly

Have you ever wanted to write an art book? Well then you’re going to want to listen to this episode of Art for Your Ear! I’m talking to San Francisco based book editor and literary agent, Kate Woodrow. She was my editor on Creative Block, and she’s working on my new book now {and has talked me off a few creative ledges along the way!}. She’s got four important ingredients that should go into every pitch, so grab a pen because you’re going to want to take notes. Listen right up there, or subscribe on iTunes. As you’re listening, take a look at the things we talked about in the order that we talked about them. First up, a few of my favorite books that Kate worked on during her decade at Chronicle Books:


Um, yes, I put my book on that list! And of course Art, Inc and Blog, Inc … and there’s Mom, Inc and Creative Inc on that list too! Here is the link to the blog post she wrote after speaking at Alt Summit 2012 {where we met}, titled “From Blog to Book: How to Turn Your Ideas into Reality”. Next I totally put her on the spot and asked her to list a few of her favorite illustrators. It was hard for her to only name a few, but here is who she mentioned/the projects she worked on them with:






So many fantastic projects! Then of course there were her answers to the speed round… two of her favorite novels that she’s read this year: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and Purity by Jonathan Franzen. And clearly I had to include a link to this answer: The first slow song she ever danced to… In Your Eyes. Sigh. The light, the heat.

So… if you have an idea that you want to pitch, Kate is ready to hear it! You can find her at her new company {so excited for her and this whole new chapter… pardon the pun}, Present Perfect Dept., and she’s on Instagram and Twitter too. Oh, and if you’d like to sign up for the webinar she’s doing with Modern Thrive on September 21, 22, 23 you can find more information right here. Thanks so much to Kate for sharing all of these behind the scene secrets, and thanks to you for listening. There will be a new episode up next week!



Sigh. Sometimes, especially on Friday after a very long and busy week, I love to look at art like this. Ah, the soothing palette and of course the promise of scones, lattes, and general quiet for two whole days… enter the lovely work of Ontario based artist Yuliya. Yes, this is exactly what I need today.

{Prints of her work are available on Society6}

“latte foam, goop, and gumption”


This is probably the craziest story I’ve had on the podcast yet. You have to listen {try not to throw your phone across the room in a jealous rage inspired excitement!} I’m talking to New York based Artist, with a capital A, Rachel Ryle about her crazy amazing Instagram feed that changed her life within a matter of weeks. Literally. You can listen right up there under the paper latte, or subscribe on iTunes. As you’re listening, take a look at her animations… although you might want to watch after we chat because the songs in the animations might play over our talking. Technical glitch! Ok, first up, a few photos from Alt Summit this past June, where Rachel and I met:


Oh, Alt Summit photo booths… the location of so many new friendships. Alright, let’s get on with the animations that go along with her crazy inspiring story! This first one is the project she was working on until 4am, that caused her to sleep in past our recording time {totally worth it}:

I’ve teamed up with @kindsnacks to give away custom pieces of my art that are truly one of a KIND! In celebration of their new & yummy Popped bars, we’re looking for the #MomentThatPopped in your summer! By simply sharing your favorite summer photos, you’ll be entered to win a custom vintage lunchbox featuring a recreation of your special moment hand illustrated by me! Here’s all you have to do: 1. Post a photo of your favorite summer moment on Instagram or Twitter 2. Tag @kindsnacks and use #MomentThatPopped + #giveaway in your post Boom! You’re now entered to win a customized lunchbox of your favorite summer moment, kindly brought to you by @kindsnacks & me! #stopmotion #animation #summer #summertime #art

A video posted by Rachel Ryle (@rachelryle) on

Gah! So cute! And now, stepping back two years, this next piece is the first animation, titled “Make Something & Grow”, that started it all:

Make something & grow. #stopmotion #sketch #art A video posted by Rachel Ryle (@rachelryle) on

Oh, and right around here she mentioned a music video that she had seen years before she ever did any animating, that kind of blew her mind. This is it. Ok, more animations … this is a very early latte animation, just a couple of weeks in, that got her an interview on a morning show in California:

Latte Art #stopmotion #animation #sketch #art #coffee #latte #barista #latteart

A video posted by Rachel Ryle (@rachelryle) on

… the sneaky beer animation that led to one of her first paid animations … clever lady. 

… and now she’s got a huge list of clients including Volkswagen, Goop, Rag & Bone, [lots, lots, lots more], and Starbucks:

Now I want a cake pop. And she’s not only doing client work … she creates so many animations just for the love of making. Here are a bunch of my favorites from her personal collection. These range from early pieces, to more recent. You can actually see her getting more and more creative with each one!

Cotton candy, anyone? #stopmotion #animation #art #sketch #cottoncandy #vintage #yumminess   A video posted by Rachel Ryle (@rachelryle) on

And there are zillions more where these came from! Be prepared to get sucked in when you visit her Instagram feed … they’re like chips … one is just not enough! And with that, her latest personal animation, that just bumped her over 500,000 Instagram followers!?

Well there you have it … one of the craziest stories ever, and a really good lesson in following your gut! Thank you so much to Rachel for doing this with me {note to self: next time ask her about her perfect, colorful manicures!}, to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode, and big thanks to you for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

layla holzer


These feel like a dream… or maybe a beautiful nightmare. This monochrome meets neon work is by UK based artist Layla Holzer. She describes herself as a storyteller, and by the look of these stunning narrative pieces, I’d have to completely agree.