Lisa Congdon and I met a few years ago at a small creative conference here in Portland, OR. Lisa is an artist, illustrator, and author, and I’ve been a fan of her art and positive messages for a while. Upon meeting we realized we had some dear mutual friends one of whom, Christopher Dibble, has taken several gorgeous photos for The Mom Edit, too.
Since then, Lisa and my gregarious, sassy 7-year-old daughter have become pals. Sienna and I love visiting her shop here in Portland to say hey and buy awesome gifts. Lisa sells a wide array of fantastic art, creative supplies, kits and gifts featuring her bright, positive work and messages. If you aren’t local to Portland, check them out on her website, lisacongdon.com
If you follow Lisa on Instagram, you know that not only is her art bright, inspiring, positive and fun, but her style is just that, too. She seemed like the perfect candidate for a style and life interview. It was also fortuitous timing because her latest book, You Will Leave A Trail of Stars: Words of Inspiration for Blazing Your Own Path, dropped this week!
Lisa Congdon On Her Work, Art, Style & Family
1. Please give our readers a little run-down of what you do, your hobbies, your fam, etc.,
My name is Lisa Congdon. I am an artist and writer. I spend most of my time illustrating everything from books to fabric to packaging to apparel and more! I also teach Creative Entrepreneurship in the Master’s program at Pacific Northwest College of Art. I split my time between Portland, Oregon and Manzanita, Oregon (on the coast) with my wife Clay and our two dogs, Wilfredo and Milkshake. My hobbies include distance road cycling and gravel cycling, perusing flea markets and antique malls for vintage treasures, and reading books. (Side note: You must check out her adorable dogs on her IG)
2. Describe your personal style in three words. Who are your style icons?
My personal style in three words: funky edgy prep
Style icons: Linda Rodin, Brigitta Reuter, Jenna Lyons
3. How does your art influence your personal style?
It’s funny, people say I dress like my art! I have favorite colors for sure, and two ways that those colors emerge in my life are through my art and my personal style. I wear a lot of the same colors I use in my work, and similarly blend earth tones like ochre and rich browns with pinks and reds. Color play is my favorite! I also love big, bold, simple, graphic patterns and motifs – and you’ll see that both in my dress and my work. I think there is a sensibility about my dress that is classically preppy (I came of age in the ’80s when the Preppy Handbook came out) but I love pushing the boundaries of that look with accessories, glasses, and my everyday art, my many tattoos! My work is similar –- very restrained and organized on one level, and also very playful.
4. What’s your go-to outfit?
Lately it’s bootcut jeans and a light sweater with wingtip oxfords.
5. What does your daily (or weekly) (dream?) schedule look like?
Well, my dream schedule would be getting up at 7, going for a long bike ride (where it’s always sunny), getting dressed (the best part of the day!), and working for a good 7-hour stretch with some breaks to walk the dogs (especially when I’m at the coast, where I live ½ a block from the beach!). In reality, however, I get up at 5:45, ride my bike 4-5 days a week, work 8-9 hour days and break for dinner around 6. I have a full and wonderful career, but it does mean I work a lot!
6. Who are some of your favorite designers/brands/artists in the fashion world?
Marimekko, Clare V, Alex Mill, Muji, Madewell and J.Crew for denim. I also buy a lot of vintage, and vintage shopping is one of my favorite activities! I’m also in workout or cycling clothes literally about 40% of my life, and my go-tos for that are Athleta and adidas for gym and athleisure wear, and Velocio and Rapha for cycling.
7. Is your closet as organized as your work process and please share your tips?
My work process is not as organized as you might think! But I am told “for an artist” I’m pretty organized. Just this past summer I got a new custom closet installed in my bedroom. And since that was installed, I’d say my closet is pretty organized for the first time ever! When I had it built I thought a lot about how I’d ideally organize my clothes, and then designed around that. So shelves and hanging spaces have very specific purposes for the kinds of clothes I wear. I also switch winter and summer clothes out so they don’t take up space in my closet when I am not wearing them. Lastly, I think it’s important to let go of clothes you don’t wear or haven’t worn in the past year or more. Make space for the stuff you DO wear. It makes decision making much easier in the morning!
8. As someone who is often in front of audiences, how do you choose what you’ll wear?
I like to present myself as playful and fun but also put together. Honestly, I think that’s what kind of person I am. I am not afraid of color, but I also love wearing all black. Accessories are often my statement when my outfit is simpler. I am not afraid of mixing colors and patterns, but I do also appreciate matching colors in an outfit. I feel like how I dress is part of my creative expression, and I love clothes!
9. What do you do that lifts up others?/How can we, as women, lift each other up?
I try to share my own experience as a woman and as an artist. Not just the good, happy stuff, but the hard stuff too: the pain, the insecurities, the fear. It’s important to me that others know they are not alone in whatever they are going through. We all struggle. Part of lifting each other up requires putting our egos aside, sharing our humanity, and being there for each other. Striving for “perfection” is damaging and futile. It’s in our humanity that we connect and support each other.
Thank you so so much to Lisa for taking time to share her style tips and life with us. You can follow her on Instagram @lisacongdon and find all of her amazing art and wares at her site LisaCongdon.com And be sure not to miss her newest book mentioned above, You Will Leave A Trail of Stars: Words of Inspiration for Blazing Your Own Path. And if you need some new art for your space? This tiger is my current favorite…and you can find it on some rad Method hand soap bottles at Target right now, too! So cool.
Hey hey…would love you to follow all my daily style musings, donut pics and dance parties overon Instagram @laurajansenstyle. I try to keep it real over there, with a side of fun and a good dose of social justice…coming at you live, from sunny Portland, Oregon. 😉
Photos by our talented friend Christopher Dibble