“defiance is my favorite motivator”


When I emailed Toronto based artist/designer Amanda Happé to ask if she’d do the podcast, she wrote me back and said “Oooh, sounds scary – so yes!”  You gotta love that. Amanda does work that speaks to the designer in me. Perfect lines, beautiful text, gorgeous palettes… sort of not surprising to learn that she’s a graphic designer by day. She has such a refreshing/smart way of looking at creativity so I was thrilled to finally talk to her. You can listen right up there under all of that GRATITUDE, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

The first thing we talked about was, of course, her text-based paintings that I love oh so much:


Ah! I already loved them but then to find out that she doesn’t plan them on the computer first {kinda what you’d expect a graphic designer to do}, it’s all done with old school tools like pencils, erasers, and compasses! Love. Oh, speaking of love, I forgot to mention that the piece directly above, “YOU ARE LOVED”, was a custom piece that Amanda made for one of my Land of Nod collections. Love. Again.

Alright, next… yes, Amanda was the artist that I chose to paint the cover of my first book, Creative Block! And what I didn’t realize for the longest time, until I held the book in my hands and really looked at it, she hand painted the “Creative Block” letters!? Look:


So good! What a steady hand she must have. That’s me at the opening of my show at the Bedford Gallery in late 2014. This is when I saw the original painting {that she later gave me as gift!?} for the first time. And yes, I cried a tiny bit. Oh, and I had to show visual proof of this… the Korean version of Creative Block:


Ha! I’m going to send one to Amanda, and I’m going to give one away today too… leave a comment below and I’ll draw one name before the next podcast goes up. Good luck!

Now, these are the “doodles” she mentioned. Her marker drawings that she does just to stay loose and to keep making when the big ideas are simmering in the background. Yeah, except that now Chronicle has asked her to make a book with these!? Hello amazing surprise project!


See, just goes to show that doing a little something every day really can get you somewhere! Ok, I also had to show you this too… so the building her studio is in was going to be sold and all 5 artists working there would be kicked out… so Amanda bought the building and now manages it. Um, ah-mazing! Here’s a little peek at “Three of Wands” {a tarot card reference}:


This is going to be my first stop for a visit next time I’m in Toronto! And finally, I had to include Amanda’s bio photo… her amazing pink/yellow door in her old apartment:


Let’s hope whoever lives there now kept it that way. Thank you so much to Amanda for doing this with me, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode, and thank YOU for listening… there will be more art for your ear next weekend {and don’t forget to leave a comment if you want a chance at that Korean version of CB!}

Other links:

  1. Bruce Mau Design
  2. TAXI Advertising & Design
  3. Martha Rich
  4. “Home Movies” TV show

comments (22)

  1. Christa David /// 04.30.2016 /// 8:39am

    Love this morning’s podcast! Yay to DEFIANCE….I plan to paint, cut and paste no matter what.

  2. Rachel Linnemeier /// 04.30.2016 /// 11:40am

    I always love listening to the podcast as I paint every Saturday morning! So many good thoughts in this interview:) I need to get Creative Block and I can’t wait for your newest book to come out!!!

  3. Julie /// 04.30.2016 /// 1:31pm

    Until listening today I also thought the white letters were printed!!
    Happy work!

  4. Michelle Heslop /// 04.30.2016 /// 10:18pm

    Wow, love listening to this today, thanks Danielle! So inspiring Amanda Happé, love your work!

  5. Danielle Lopez /// 04.30.2016 /// 10:59pm

    LOVE love love her work and this podcast! Makes me want to grab all my paints and go create! Thank you both for the words of encouragement and inspiration! <3

  6. Julie Lorenz /// 05.01.2016 /// 7:20am

    I just checked out your book from the library, and the cover is beee-autiful! Thank you for this podcast!

  7. Lorrie /// 05.01.2016 /// 8:16am

    Another fun podcast while I attempt making cactus ceramics. Korean book. Yes!

  8. Ryan Riggs /// 05.01.2016 /// 1:27pm

    Love your podcast, thanks for sharing!

  9. Kelley Fewer /// 05.02.2016 /// 5:08am

    I was listening to your podcast on my run yesterday, and gave a little skip when Amanda chose my little corner of the world as the place she’d like to visit (again). Too cool! Both you and Amanda are welcome to doss down at my place if you ever need a home base when you visit Newfoundland!

    I’d love to have a physical copy of this book-the digital edition is great, but there’s nothing like holding the thing in your hands, and being able to pepper it with sticky notes!!

    Shine on!

  10. the jealous curator /// 05.02.2016 /// 9:06am

    oh that’s great! be careful though, both of us might show up at your front door ; )

  11. Melissa McCobb Hubbell /// 05.02.2016 /// 1:59pm

    Hi Danielle! So yes, I’m leaving a comment for a chance to win your Korean book but honestly that’s just an excuse for me to actually sit down and write you a comment. I think I discovered your podcast – a year ago? By now I’m sure I’ve heard them all and have several comments on every one — but they stay in my head! You’d probably have agreed or said “I know…..!”

    Not to be an obnoxious fan, and I’m sure you hear this a lot, but JEEZ! we should be friends! My website is not “up” at the moment but when it is I’d so love you to take a look at it – and I think you might want to be my friend too! …maybe…

    Not that you need more friends….

    So, that was scarey to actually say but I’m pretty sure you can relate…


  12. Michael Joyal /// 05.02.2016 /// 2:49pm

    As always, an inspiring and inspiring podcast. If I wasn’t so excited about m y new painting on the easel, I’d certainly be after this one.

  13. the jealous curator /// 05.02.2016 /// 4:09pm

    ah, that’s so great michael! (and melissa – let me know when your site is up so we can get this whole friend thing underway 😉 )

  14. Michelle Heslop /// 05.04.2016 /// 11:06am

    I have transitioned from listening to music while running to listening to your podcast – so thank-you – I always feel so inspired after! It is so apropos that Amanda includes text in her art because wow, the woman has a way with words. Yes, those quotes you read are super spot on, but most of her answers are also incredibly concise. She has this ability to gather and collect what would be a jumble of thoughts and feelings in my
    head and sum them up in one beautiful succinct sentence. AND on the fly! Bravo!

  15. the jealous curator /// 05.04.2016 /// 4:38pm

    i know, right?! she is wise beyond her years

  16. warren /// 05.04.2016 /// 10:57pm

    Wow some time you step back and say that was something I hope to never forget. I just wanted to say the idea of the postcard is great, but another idea that was just explained to me is that you can make a small book with one sheet of paper. here is the link to make a 8 page zine http://www.fimp.net/makeabook.html the person that told me about this also thought that this is a good way of working out emotions when you are on the extremes because sometimes that whole sheet of paper stares you down and also because most people do not get into journaling, in one way you could keep these small books or throw them out the promise is that when you express your feelings in this way it is a very good way to channel negative emotions and sometimes create something good along the way. Thanks again

  17. alexis /// 05.05.2016 /// 7:50am

    been listening to this everyday! so inspiring.

  18. the jealous curator /// 05.05.2016 /// 7:17pm

    thank you!

  19. Tische /// 05.09.2016 /// 10:22pm

    So much insight, creativity and wonderful art lovingly showcased on the blog… to make me jealous, also. Podcasts are the icing at the end of the week. My favorite art site by far. Thanks to all the artists and Danielle.

  20. Hilda /// 05.15.2016 /// 8:09pm

    Just today was able to listen to this wonderful interview – thank you, Danielle! I’m right in there with the defiance of picking up the pencil and the paintbrush.

  21. Berta /// 07.02.2016 /// 7:06pm

    Great interview. I loved your favorite quotes, they were wonderful and inspiring.

  22. Danielle Krysa The Jealous Curator - Creative Habits Podcast /// 08.21.2016 /// 9:34am

    […] Amanda Happe one of the people she interviewed said, “The great thing about negative criticism is you don’t have to care. No one can wrestle the pencil out of your hand, you get to keep going in absolute defiance” (check out the podcast episode on The Jealous Curator). […]

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