Welcome to the premiere of #inspirations4aspirations. My first guest is letterer and illustrator @artsyalisondesigns
Alison Evans’s lettering pieces cover motivational messages, TV shows (The Office, Schitts Creek, etc.), movies (Mean Girls, The Breakfast Club, etc.), music (Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift), podcasts (My Favorite Murder), Celebrities (Tina Fey, Mae West), Southern phrases, puns about llamas and much more. She is extremely nice and has repeatedly called me an Instagram friend. I’m honored she agreed to do this interview.
Alisons Evans: in her own words
I grew up all over the place. I was born in Victorville, CA and then moved to Tuscon, AZ. My dad was discharged from the Air Force and then we moved to Indianapolis, IN to be near my extended family. We moved from there Decatur, IL while I was in elementary school and then to Warrenton, VA in 8th grade. So that was about it for my formative years – sorry, that’s a long answer, but I feel like I can call most of those places “home.” I live in Sacramento, CA right now and have been here since 2018, by way of Salt Lake City, UT.
I have been creative my whole life, whether it be through painting, writing or, what my husband affectionately calls it, “doodling.” I didn’t dabble into lettering until May of 2018, when I graduated and then moved to Sacramento. I needed something to do in my spare time while looking for work and it intrigued me. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I got serious about learning more about illustration.
I aspire to create art that is empowering, positive, and fun with elements of femininity in terms of color, design and subject matter.
1 Why do you create?
I initially started creating out of boredom. I wanted to learn a new skill (lettering) and got an iPad for a graduation present, so I started using Procreate and got seriously addicted!
Fast forward to today, and I mainly create to vent my feelings, and try to conjure up that inner bad ass that I know is somewhere inside myself. I like to create pieces on emotional and mental well-being because I have struggled with that in my own life and I want to try to make a positive impact on others that might have gone through the same things. It helps me to vent and can also help others and that’s a win/win to me!
2 When life gets you down what inspires you to get back up?
Seeing powerful images of women or reading self-help books helps me get out of a funk. Being outdoors and active also helps. I feel like if I’m bettering myself in some way (reading, creating, being physical), then I can’t possibly feel bad about myself.
3 Pop culture is a big part of your work. Your most frequent subjects as of this interview are Parks and Recreation (with 23 posts) and New Girl (with 18). What inspires you about these and other sources?
Pop culture inspires a lot of my work because it’s something I’m immersed in all of the time. It’s not a great habit to have, but I will have Netflix on when I’m doing everyday chores and working and it’s something that’s always on my mind. The reason I focus so much on Parks and Rec and New Girl is because they both have excellent writing and they never cease to put me in a good mood.
And, both have great female leads! Leslie Knope is the woman we all aspire to be (also, the Leslie / Ann relationship is the friendship we all would love to have), and Jessica Day is quirky, fun and always has something positive to say. I just can’t help but be drawn to those shows.
4 When not doing pop culture tributes, you share motivational messages. Since your first Instagram post in May 2018, you have lettered messages like “You are a badass”, “It’s ok to be proud of yourself”, “Be authentic not perfect” and “Your feelings are valid”. What message would you give your past self?
This is a hard one… “Don’t doubt yourself – you can do this.”
Many thanks to my Inspiration and Aspiration Alison Evans.
I’m John Lhotka wishing you a nice day, and all that jazz.