I started drawing because I didn't like drawing. Now, six years later, I draw every day and I love it.
Kate Bingaman Burt is an illustrator, an Assistant Professor and the co-program coordinator of graphic Design at Portland State University. She is an ambassador for indie-craft culture, and we’ve heard she’s really fun to be around.
Her daily drawing project, Obsessive Consumption, has been going strong for the past seven years. When Kate started the project she didn’t have any aspirations other than to understand her relationships to objects. She certainly didn’t plan to monetize them, in fact, she didn’t even like to draw. Kate said, “I started drawing because I didn’t like drawing. Now, six years later, I draw every day and I love it.” What started as a side project to better understand herself led to a contract with Princeton Architectural Press. In 2010, her illustrations were curated into a book, Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today? Kate’s success is another great example of a designer who followed her instincts for a personal project and had surprising results. We asked her how she prepares and encourages her students to push self-initiated work.
She said, “From my experience, working on personal projects helps you figure out what you want to say as a designer. I am a huge champion of entrepreneurialism and try to cultivate it in my design students. Coming up with ideas and products and helping students figure out how to execute them is like a sport to me. I get all competitive and sweaty just thinking about it.”
Many of our contributors share Kate’s energy and excitement. Her optimism was evident in her interview and she considers herself lucky to do what she loves. She told us, “I work with amazing students. I draw fun stuff for fun people. I talk about zines, then help people make them, and I am able to travel because of all of the previously mentioned things. I make dumb stuff. I sometimes make smart stuff. I hang out with my husband and my dog and eat hot dogs and chips. I explore, make, share, and experiment. I feel so very fortunate.”
We feel fortunate that Kate shared her wisdom and experience with us. Here’s to the hustle, making fun stuff for fun people, and getting sweaty with side projects!
To see Kate in action, watch the video of her CreativeMornings Portland talk.