One Minute With…
Kate Bingaman Burt
Hi Kate, thanks for taking time to chat with One Minute With. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I am a design educator, illustrator & designer & organizer living in and loving Portland, Oregon. My personal work mostly consists of exploring different aspects of personal consumerism and my client work mostly consists of illustrating for fun people like IDEO, Poketo, Princeton Architectural Press, Madewell and Knock Knock to name a few.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of Kate Bingaman-Burt.
My days consist of client work, teaching, personal projects and a whole lot of talking and emailing. When it is summer time, I tend to load up on client work and really focus on figuring out bigger ideas regarding my personal projects. When school is in session, my focus switches to teaching and curriculum development, some client work and then maintaining my personal projects.
How did you get into illustration? Was there a defining point in your career, and if so, how did it shape you as a illustrator?
I actually got into illustration by accident. I was working mostly in photography, design and installation and I only started drawing because this was a medium that I didn’t feel that comfortable with. I have been working with aspects of documentation and consumption for over ten years, but the daily purchase drawing project started in 2006 (after a few years of photo purchase documentation and also a few years of drawing my credit card statements). This was the project that really pushed me into freelance illustration work.
How do you approach a new project? What’s your creative process like?
I make a lot of lists. I make a lot of moodboards. I read a lot about the topic I happen to be working with. And then I dive in.
You do quite a few self-initiated projects (to the extent that you’ve even published a book of one of them) – How beneficial have you found projects like these? Are they solely for fun, practice, or have you found that they also bring in new client work?
These projects are the reason that I am working with clients today. However, I didn’t start the projects because I thought they would attract jobs. I started the projects because I had ideas that I wanted to make tangible. The extra fun stuff that comes along with them are perks :)
In addition to illustration, you teach and regularly speak at events. How does that differ to your design work? What new challenges does it bring?
Teaching is my main gig. I am starting my 11th year of teaching this fall and it informs everything that I do. Working with students (both mine and traveling to other schools for workshops and talks) is really rewarding. I learn so much from talking with students and talking about design and the weird creative process. Teaching energizes me and gives me fuel for my own work. Working and talking with students is a big part of what I do and I don’t ever want to stop.
If, in some Freaky Friday-like situation, you could live the life of another designer, illustrator or creative, for a day, who would it be, and why?
I would like this time travel schedule please:
One day as each of the following them: Dorothy Parker, Lucille Ball, Patti Smith, Steve Martin, David Byrne, Saul Steinberg, Diane Arbus, J. D. Salinger, Truman Capote, Terrence Mallick, William Eggleston, Martin Parr, Joseph Beuys, Sophie Calle, Yoko Ono and Margaret Killgallen. Could you make this happen for me please?
What design tools could you not live without?
My Faber Castell Artist Pitt Pens.
And finally, what tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in design or illustration?
Spend time figuring out what you want to say. What is your voice? How do you want to best share it? and then execute the crap out of it.
Many thanks to Kate for taking some time to talk to One Minute With. I really enjoyed interviewing her, and hopefully you enjoyed reading it!
Why not check out Kate’s site, and follow her on Flickr and Twitter?