This week’s artist’s spotlight is on @la_dee_dah:
- Tell me a little about yourself:
“My name is Katie. I was born and raised in Lancaster, PA. I currently live in Lancaster with my little family…My 2 year old son, Linus and my fiancé, Louis (who I met working at the the post office…we were both letter carriers and he continues to deliver mail).
I’m a “retired” elementary school librarian and mailman. At each of those jobs I would document funny or weird conversations I had with students and the general public. I would then make mini-comics of the interactions. After I had my son I ended up going back to work at the post office and my mom and mother in law watched him while we were at work. In the fall of 2019 there was a freak accident and our child care fell though. We ultimately made the decision that I should resign from the job and stay at home. In hindsight it would’ve happened anyway because of the pandemic but, at the time it was a big decision! Once I was at home I quickly realized I needed a source of balance, something to keep me busy outside of taking care of my son, so I naturally turned to being creative. I was still kind of searching for my identity (after having a baby everything shifts! You no longer feel exactly who you were pre-baby) and pre-baby me always loved drawing and keeping busy in some creative way. It felt like I was connecting with myself again by re-entering this hobby. It’s been a joy.”
I didn’t go to art school so I guess I’m considered “self-taught”.
As a family we love to hike and camp and ride bikes. Connecting with nature is super important to me and something I’ve introduced to my son from the get go. Our earth is a magical little space ship that humbles me endlessly. “
2. Can you talk a little about your online shop?
“I started the shop very recently when I noticed there was interest in certain shirts I was making. It was a nice way to make the shirts available for people who would stumble upon my Instagram. I throw some drawings and doodles into the store as well from time to time. Everything I post on my IG is for sale but it’s easier to visit an online store to grasp that.
I make everything by hand so a lot of what’s available in the store is made to order. It’s quite childish to draw on t-shirts with sharpie and fabric markers but I’m dedicated to this craft! When I was growing up, every year at the beach, my grandma would set out a bunch of fabric markers and give us a t-shirt to draw on. I remember thinking how fun it was to make your own shirt and then be able to wear it. I guess that was my introduction to t-shirt making and I never really stopped making them. When I sit down to make a shirt I don’t use a stencil or anything I just go for it. Mistakes and imperfections are part of life and being perfect doesn’t exist. We are all complex creatures with our own tastes, influences, beliefs, histories etc. Ones mans trash is another mans treasure as they say. I like to make stuff that feels relatable in some way because human connection is some type of magic. I try to embrace that in life through my daily interactions and in what I create. I love taking custom orders! I feel I enter worlds I wouldn’t otherwise. Most times when I receive a commission I like to do research to try to pick up a “vibe” of what I’m going to draw. Depending on what type of commission a customer wants (drawing or t-shirt) I can usually make it and ship it within a week. Sometimes the design is a collaborative effort and sometimes the customer will trust me to make whatever I feel like. Regardless, commissions are super fun and I love connecting with people through them.”
3. What was the first art piece you created?
“Oh wow, hmmm. I used to have a subscription to sports illustrated for kids. I was quite a tom boy growing up and played a lot of sports and at recess I’d kick the little boys asses in basketball and football. They hated me for it.
Like most kids magazines they had the section where you could get your drawings published. I loved seeing other kids drawings and wanted to participate so I would draw Scottie Pippen and Shaq and football players and other various athletes. My drawings never got published but it’s when I can first recall drawing portraits.”
4. What things inspire you when you are creating an art piece?
“When I worked at the post office the general public inspired me and when I worked at the school the kids were inspiring. It’s usually whatever situation I’m in in life I observe it through a specific lens that caters to some kind of creative project. Since I’ve been at home, a lot of children’s books and cute cartoons have been inspiring. I love listening to the radio in the car and old mix CDs (I have a stack of old mix’s I’ve made since 2003!) and that’s where I find sources of inspiration for the little doodles I make with lyrics. I also pay attention to vintage t-shirts and the way they’re designed – the colors and shapes of letters and stuff like that. We take everything we are exposed to and put it into our brains and then process it in some way. A lot of it remains in our subconscious. I think we operate largely off of our subconscious without realizing it. With that being said, I also enjoy remembering stuff on purpose. If I want to remember something I will never forget it! So, visually, that’s a good practice for me and lends a hand to what I make.
As far as the act of drawing I like making stuff quickly without thinking much about it because I feel something special comes out of it. If I spend too much time trying to make something look right it doesn’t look right at all to me. “
5. Do you have any exciting and/or upcoming events or news that you would like to share?
“Every day I just wake up and wing it. Some days I have orders to fulfill or commissions to work on and other days I have nothing and I love that freedom! I need to have balance in life or else I feel off-physically, mentally and spiritually. Although, I once read a quote something like we are never balanced, just balancing. That really resonated with me. This project was something I started doing after I quit my job to stay at home with my son. I was searching for this “balancing act” and being creative slowly became a daily thing that I would tune into. Previous to being a stay at home parent I still made stuff it was just different because time was different. Time is weird! It’s so relative. I would LOVE to finally make a zine of my mailman comics but I am very distracted. I have about 40 mini-comics for the zine and it’s been on the backburner for a year plus.”
If you like to learn more about Katie. Her following contact information is below:
Thank you so much for the interview Katie!