Making art as a full-time career isn’t a far-fetched dream. Artists like Ashley Longshore wisely use Instagram to garner interested clients (and snag up to $30K for a piece of art), and there are tons of amazing women artists who have made a creative way of life a reality. In this week’s How to Quit Your Day Job series, we chat with Lisa Hunt, whose Art Deco-inspired folk art style has been featured in DesignSponge, Lonny Magazine, and Grace Bonney’s In the Company of Women (you can find Hunt on the cover!). Hunt shares how she successfully made the transition from her career as a graphic designer for magazines into a full-time home decor creator in Brooklyn, NY.
Meet the Artist Pro: lisa hunt
Prior to branching out on her own, Hunt worked full time as the creative director for Essence magazine and previously as a graphic designer for New York magazine, among many other jobs in publishing. The impetus to make a change happened when she hit a point in her magazine career where she didn’t enjoy it anymore. Instead of working on a computer all day, Hunt longed to make things with her hands again. She made the transition while still working as a freelance consultant for magazines.
Hunt’s artwork is a beautiful mixture of Art Deco, screen printing, and gold leaf patterns. Her love of patterns stems from her childhood. As a shy kid, she spent a lot of time observing her surroundings. “I would isolate shapes in my environment and reorder and repeat them in my mind. It was like a game, and I found it soothing and it’s something that I still do to this day,” says Hunt.
Studying graphic design at the Pratt Institute and her subsequent career as a graphic designer still influence who she is as an artist. “I have predominately been working from my personal catalog of vector-based shapes I have gathered over the years. Some of which come from working with fonts. It’s a natural source for some of my patterns because of my appreciation of letter forms,” says Hunt.
In 2016, Hunt was one of the 100 makers, artists, and entrepreneurs to be featured in In the Company of Women, a curated collection of inspiring women by Grace Bonney, the founder of Design*Sponge. When Hunt launched her first collection of prints in 2015, she submitted them to Design*Sponge for coverage, and her “What’s in Your Tool Box” feature on the website kept her on Bonney’s radar. Says Hunt of the book: “It’s the book I wish I had when I was a young girl in need of confirmation that women that looked like me were out there in the world living fearless and creative lives. That I can be a unique and imperfect individual and my creative voice will be valued and is needed in the world.” Yes!
Her best advice for women who want to pursue a fulfilling, creative life is to be resilient. “Focus on what you love and celebrate the small and large milestones. Don’t be afraid to reassess your goals as you move forward,” says Hunt.
What’s your dream career? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know, and we could feature it in the next column!
(Hunt portrait via Kelly Marshall; additional photos via Lisa Hunt)