Market agoraphobia: how to stand out when everyone is different, a conversation with Lucy Knisley

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Lucy-knisely-at-her-deskLucy Knisley makes comics, puppets, songs and food. She graduated from the School of the Art institute of Chicago in 2007, where she went to study painting, but wound up making comics. She was the comics editor of the award winning FNews Magazine for two years, and was published in a number of anthologies including (among others) You Ain't No Dancer and I Saw You; A Missed Connections Anthology. Her first book, French Milk is a drawn travel journal about Paris, food, and the bond between mothers and daughters. It was published by Simon and Schuster in 2008. She went on to self-publish a number of collections of work, and to get her MFA from the Center for Cartoon Studies, a tiny comics college in the woods of Vermont.

She now lives in Chicago where she is working on a new book for First Second Publishing, freelancing as an illustrator and comic artist, drawing a series of comic essays published online, and teaching drawing and comics part-time to elementary school kids. Her most recent collection of work is entitled Make Yourself Happy, and is available on her website.

The DIY/handmade movement has increased demand for handmade goods and art as well as creating new venues in which to show. Simultaneously however, the competition for existing artists has increased and some areas of the art market have been glutted, turning items that were once considered unique into common commodities. Recently on Twitter, Lucy wrote:

My pal Nora and I watched Handmade Nation, which made us nervous about the future of (our own) craft production and consumerism and art. 12:52 AM Jun 10th

I replied to ask if the documentary had sparked fears of increased competition in the handmade market, and Lucy replied:

Increased competition, widespread repetition/imitation within the craft sphere, and people who are more organized than me. 1:00 AM Jun 10th

All of these are issues which I feel are worth exploring and addressing. On this show, we'll discuss how to overcome both the fears and realities of a crowded market as well as Lucy's experience with self-publishing versus traditional publishing.

Learn More about Lucy Knisley

  1. Visit Lucy's site:
  2. Read Lucy's webcomic/essays::
  3. Follow Lucy on Twitter or Facebook
  4. Buy Lucy's books on her Big Cartel Store

Further Resources:

  1. See the documentary: Handmade Nation
  2. Read the book: Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design
  3. School of the Art institute of Chicago
  4. Center for Cartoon Studies

Show Highlights: Excerpts From the Conversation

Once the transcription is completed I'll include some of the best portions here.

« Success outside the art system, a conversation with Hazel Dooney, a Dangerous Career Babe | Main | How to get started in public Art, a conversation with Jon Pounds, Director of Chicago Public Art Group »

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Statement + Bio | Curriculum Vitae | Bibliography

I'm best known as an artist and designer. Relaxing makes me tense, so I tend to put in a lot of hours on diverse projects.

On the way to a successful art career I've been a poet and writer, a tech geek, a print and web designer, illustrator, industrial designer, musician, teacher, actor, set designer and even a paid guru once.

It's all the same thing in the end— I wake up most days thinking about how I want to change, fix or improve some aspect of the world. And after a couple cups of coffee I get started on it.

My specialty is impossibility remediation: if it can't be done, I'm on it.

Mobile: 231.584.2710 (9 to 5 PST only) | Email me
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