Artist and illustrator Pier Gustafson on living a simple life with what makes him smile, the messy creative process behind projects, clients, and deadlines, and being an artist in the twenty-first century.
Pier is an artist who presently designs maps, monograms, logos, invitations and other illustrations usually for print. His passion is drawing. Though he explores various media from simple pencil to the iPad he tends to favor vintage fountain pens, which he collects and repairs and sells to other artists and calligraphers. (A pen made 100 years ago still works and works better than anything made today.) He is a “maximalist” in that he surrounds himself with objects which can “spark joy” when arranged and juxtaposed in creative ways. His man-cave is complete with jury-rigged “stalagmites” made of shelves balancing atop filing cabinets filled with stuff which may be used in his art.
He does like to smile by making others smile. The art he creates for himself has a simple goal: to make you think and to smile.
He is single, has a sharp-fanged cat named Orca, plays the ukulele and rides a bright red, fat-tired bike to do his shopping.
He’s about to turn 63 years old, but still has yet to grow up.
"Spending thirty minutes on a sketch is sometimes twenty minutes too long."
"If you're done doing what you like to do, find a job that you can do nine to five or even less, get a part time job waiting tables, and then spend the rest of your free time doing what you want to do."
"I think in a way I do have that simplicity, even if it involves lots of stuff. […] I have all of this stuff for the purpose of making me smile."
"Starting from scratch is sometimes the best thing you could do. You just throw the thing away and start completely over."
"What I save on commuting, I lose in productivity. Living and working in the same place is something that a lot of people think would be a great idea […] but I don't think it's all that great for me."
"Remember to turn things off, completely turn things off. Not just when you're at a movie theater, or dinner, just turn things off and go outside and ride your bike or go to the grocery store or read a book, a real book."