LFC: Introduce yourself to us in an illustration!
LFC: You’re currently working as a web designer as well as creating your own illustrations and working on #100catsdoingthings (which we love, by the way). Can you tell us a bit about both and what you do to balance the two?
BS: Drawing feels like an escape from my day job, and I’m doodling almost every free second I get. I walk laps around the building and keep lists of ideas, so I can draw them during lunch and clean them up after work.
LFC: Your journey into cat illustrations was started in a really unique way – tell us a bit more about your work with the municipal shelter in Memphis (for all of our readers who love cats – listen up!).
BS: When I began volunteering at the high-kill shelter, I was appalled at the number dogs and cats being killed and mistreated. After a barrage of protests, letters, and appearances on the local news, I knew I had to take down the mayor and get someone elected who would make our shelter a priority.
So I started Turn OFF the A C, a grassroots campaign to educate folks about the Mayor A C Wharton's gross negligence toward a number of issues in Memphis. I had NO idea what I was doing, but knew I needed to make crazy illustrations depicting our city mayor to grab attention and make change happen. It started with a Facebook cover photo, that turned into bumper stickers, then yard signs, t-shirts and an explosion of support from the community.
For nearly 6 months, I created illustration after illustration to encourage people to vote this guy out. Looking back, it wasn't my best work, but they got the point across in a creative way. I passed out stickers, yard signs and shirts. It was the hardest I've ever worked in my life, but the joyful tears that filled my eyes as he was giving his concession speech made it all worth it. A year has passed I'm amazed and grateful for the improvements and ongoing progress at the shelter.
LFC: We love it - you put your talents to good use to work on something you cared about. In the spirit of that notion, you were able to combine what you love with what you do – what advice do you have for someone looking to do the same?
BS: My best advice is create personal projects that you're passionate about. Those help you establish your personal style, fill your portfolio with meaningful work and sometimes even make a positive difference in the world.
Do some recreational doodling, take a walk to think about ideas for new work, meet a friend for lunch and ask what they think of your work and ideas. Post everything on social media and don't take feedback personal. You have to create a lot of bad material before you get to the good stuff, but that's a part of the ride. Most importantly, ENJOY YOURSELF. If you don't enjoy the process, you'll be miserable and most likely fail.
LFC: Passion always shines through when you're working. If you're passionate about what you're doing, it's likely that whoever you talk to about it will pick up on that passion as well! So on the topic of discussing work with others, if someone wanted to work with you, what would be the best way to for them to do it?
BS: I love commissions and working with new people! The best way to contact me is emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
LFC: Perfect! What was one of your favorite projects you’ve worked on?
BS: I'm working on a pop-up cat cafe featuring adoptable cats from MAS for National Cat Day. My friend and fellow volunteer created a beautiful flyer, and I'm thrilled to be a part of planning!
LFC: You've already accomplished a lot of really amazing things. What is your definition of success?
BS: My definition of success is creating meaningful work that laugh, think, or feel inspired to take action.
LFC: And finally, on an LFC note, what does being an #entrefemmeur mean to you?
BS: Being an entrefemmeur means knowing when to hustle, being able to laugh at yourself, and giving back to your community.