We had the good fortune of connecting with Lizzy Dalton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lizzy, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I can’t imagine living my life without art. I’ve always been an artist, and I’m always going to make art whether I’m getting paid for it or not. I spent a lot of time in my twenties working paycheck to paycheck in jobs that I hated and jobs that led nowhere, and it really made me question where I was going in life and how I wanted to support myself. I knew I had value as an artist, and fine art was one of the few realms in which I felt had enough unique skill and talent to have a shot at being successful. I couldn’t really see a path to becoming happy and successful in a traditional work environment, so I figured I might as well try building my own career doing what I loved. I started marketing and selling my work myself, and I have been a fully self-employed artist since 2018.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In college I was a fine art major, and for my thesis I was making large-scale, abstract oil paintings. After graduation I didn’t have the space for large paintings, so I moved to working in a smaller, more illustrative style with pen and ink. I also started rock climbing a lot around this time, and eventually I started making art inspired by my experiences as a climber. Through climbing I had the opportunity to visit and learn about so many scenic and beautiful places, and I started to paint these landscapes with the intent to capture some of what it meant to view these places through the lens of a climber, to capture some of the sense of connection we felt to these places. I started creating my landscapes with climbers in mind, but I’ve found that many viewers feel an emotional connection with my art based on their experiences in the specific locations that I paint. In 2015 I started marketing and selling my art. It started small; I began by creating an Instagram account to share my art, and opening an Etsy shop to sell prints. Eventually I started finding commissions, freelance work, shows, and other opportunities through Instagram and Etsy. My business has slowly grown over the years, and in 2018 I decided to quit my day job to pursue art full-time. It definitely hasn’t been easy; I put so much time and energy into every piece of art that I create that it often gets difficult make enough art to support myself while also managing all of the non-art-related aspects of running a business and not burning myself out completely. There are so many possible ways to make money as an artist, and while it’s definitely good to have a variety of revenue streams, I’ve found it best to put most of my focus on the ones that work best for me, rather than trying to do everything. I’ve learned to say no to opportunities that I don’t feel are worth taking time and energy away from other projects, or that don’t take me in a direction that I want to go as an artist. It’s been a long journey with a lot of trial and error to get where I am today, and in a lot of ways I feel like I’m still learning and still figuring it out, but I’m so grateful to be on this path and excited to see where my career takes me.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’ll definitely need some good Portland coffee to start the day, from local roasters like Stumptown or Nossa Familia. If you’re visiting me, I’m definitely going to take you on a hike in the area (if not several), maybe a waterfall hike in the Columbia River Gorge followed by a trip to Hood River for my favorite pilsner at Pfriem. A day trip to the coast is a must; Ecola State Park or Oswald West State Park are both great spots to see the ocean. Back in Portland we can check out local art galleries on Alberta, including Blind Insect Gallery (where you can find art by yours truly). Some restaurants to visit include Marukin for tonkatsu ramen, Sammich for delicious pastrami, Cartopia for the Portland food cart pod experience (I recommend Chicken & Guns), Stammtisch for German food and beer, and Salt and Straw for ice cream.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I definitely want to give a huge shoutout to my partner, Alex, who has always been there and supported me through all of the ups and downs of my artistic career, and who is always willing to offer business advice. I also want to recognize my family, who never questioned my desire to pursue a less traditional career, and who have become some of my biggest collectors. And I want to give a big thanks to everyone who has supported my art to help me get where I am today, whether by purchasing a piece, offering a space to show my work, or even just giving me some love on social media.