“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

comments (20)

  1. Molly A /// 10.17.2015 /// 8:38am

    Hi Danielle! I am an avid listener to your podcast. I listen every Saturday while creating my daily embroidery illustration (a project I started after feeling fed up from not continuing to make art after art school!) I have absolutely struggled with “feeling gross”, as Kate mentioned, after not making art due to feeling paralyzed by too many ideas and intimidated by a blank canvas. This episode was so inspiring to me and a great reminder of how helpful it is to set rules for creating.

  2. the jealous curator /// 10.17.2015 /// 8:57am

    oh that makes me so happy! yes, it was so inspiring to me too… kate makes you want to make stuff!

  3. Sridhar Ramasami /// 10.17.2015 /// 11:43am

    I came here wanting to listen to the podcast, but could not find any link to it. Am I missing something?
    LIke your drawings. They drew me in and made reading the text much easier

  4. the jealous curator /// 10.17.2015 /// 2:41pm

    hi sridhar – there is a player right underneath the first image, and also a link in the first paragraph where it says “subscribe on iTunes” 🙂

  5. Christy /// 10.18.2015 /// 1:20pm

    This is the first of your podcasts that I have had time to listen to- and OH BOY do I need to go catch up on all of the others you have done. Very motivational talk and excellent advice! I found myself drawing everything on my desk as I listened to this. Thank You Danielle and Kate!

  6. the jealous curator /// 10.18.2015 /// 1:21pm

    YAY! love that! thanks christy : )

  7. 331 – hibernate then make | Dragonsnlace /// 10.19.2015 /// 6:19am

    […] I’m happy with the rest of the pieces. I listened to Kate Bingaman-Burt talk to the author of The Jealous Curator about her career as a self-taught illustrator. And I’m still taking care of business. I love […]

  8. Katie Lochhead /// 10.20.2015 /// 10:12am

    I do wish you could be paid to watch Chopped! My boyfriend and I watch it competitively – we each pick a chef after the introductions and whoever’s chef makes it further wins. There is nothing better than Ted Allen’s sign when he has to tell you that you’ve been chopped.

    Thanks for such a great interview. It is always good to hear about the different occupations that you can hold as an artist and the different paths to getting there. Kate has such a unique story and a really positive approach!

  9. Ginny /// 10.21.2015 /// 7:32am

    Loved this podcast. I do illustrations, self-taught. I need rules, and yes I feel gross when I don’t create something. I got a lot out of this interview. Thank you for your podcast, love them! I need to go make a pile of crap. 😉

  10. the jealous curator /// 10.21.2015 /// 9:13am

    yay! go do it!!!

  11. Gretchen /// 10.22.2015 /// 10:13am

    I really need rules, too. The blank canvas is too much!! You mentioned trying to find rules on the internet but I think I need rules for how to search for art rules… any ideas on where to find some good rules for new inspiration (besides Creative Block, which I LOVE!)? Thanks. Also love this podcast so so much.

  12. the jealous curator /// 10.22.2015 /// 11:00am

    hi gretchen – i know. blank canvas FREAKS ME OUT. well first of all, look through these 10 jumpstarts (they’re from creative block but i’ve been posting on a month on the site… there are some realllllly good ones on there that have made a huge difference in my work) : https://www.thejealouscurator.com/blog/category/creativeunblock/

  13. the jealous curator /// 10.22.2015 /// 11:04am

    oh just reread that… you already have creative block (thank you!) this is a good list: http://petapixel.com/2015/07/16/13-exercises-for-photographers-that-can-help-jump-start-creativity/ – it’s for photography but you could rework it by taking the photos and then turning them into paintings, drawings, writing… whatever it is you do. if you search for “ideas to jumpstart creativity” or “exercises to jumpstart creativity” you’ll find quite a bit of stuff. ps. my favorite of the unblocking projects that i’ve posted so far is from august (by sidney pink). you can pick any metaphor you like and then just go for it!

  14. Gretchen /// 10.23.2015 /// 5:18am

    Wow, all so good, thank you! Sidney Pink–LOVE!

  15. Elizabeth /// 12.08.2015 /// 1:24pm

    Hi Danielle,
    I came across your podcast via Pinterest and am sooo glad that I did. Just about every topic you discuss rings true for me, which has given me the wonderful feeling of validation. I too had a horrible experience in art school with what I thought were the most mean spirited instructors ever, and so I have spent the last 15 years teaching in a way that I wish they had taught me. However, I’ve recently decided to quit teaching (much to my husbands chagrin) because I never could find time or energy to make art and that has left me angry and depressed. So now I go into my studio everyday and listen to your podcasts. I’ve told one of my former students about your podcast and she loves them too. Thanks for starting this!

  16. the jealous curator /// 12.08.2015 /// 3:24pm

    oh, that’s amazing elizabeth! i’m so happy that i get to be in the studio with you ; )

  17. Unselfconsciousness | Spire /// 01.15.2016 /// 8:57am

    […] of Art+Design at Portland State University. In her recent interview with The Jealous Curator’s podcast “Art for Your Ear”, Bingaman-Burt describes how she urges her students to “make piles of […]

  18. Episode 220: Dabbling in Documentation – oamyoamy (home of the Creative Mom Podcast) /// 02.01.2017 /// 5:26pm

    […] Interview with Bingaman-Burt on The Jealous Curator podcast https://www.thejealouscurator.com/blog/2015/10/16/make-piles-of-crap/ […]

  19. Random thoughts on a Thursday. | cnstntly reinvntng /// 02.28.2018 /// 5:40pm

    […] listening to Kate Bingaman-Burt’s interview over The Jealous Curator’s podcast, I’m thinking about what kind of personal project I […]

  20. Christine Aaron /// 04.06.2021 /// 10:59am

    Okay, so I love picturing you in your pillow and sheet podcasting fort. Do we ever get to see a picture of it?
    This was such a FUN episode.

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