Photos by Hillary Ehlen and courtesy of Anna Lee
Artist, product developer, business owner, fashion industry innovator and hatmaker with designs worthy of the Kentucky Derby.
In a brief summary, what do you do?
I’m an artist who has a background in product development and I teach workshops for creatives. My current theme of the work that I do is part of the Gray Matter Series. It’s about finding the balance between the streams. The messy squishy places in the middle of right and wrong, where the answers are found.
I also do product development as a North American designer for a company out of China. I give them a perspective on American culture and trends for the clothing that they manufacture.
I’ve wavered between wanting to make an impact on global scale and being hyper local. My Fargo and Minneapolis workshops are hyperlocal. I don’t do online workshops. I go to the location because I believe in connection and community. Being in a room with other people makes us grow. Human beings are always at the core of my work.
What was the best career advice you have received or offered?
Know your worth. It took me a lot of time to figure that out. I have burned out in the past because I was giving nonstop. As creatives, we tend to think that if something feels easy and just flows through us that we are supposed to give it freely. But as businesswomen, we need to create sustainable rates for our work and then we get to decide when we give freely. You can stand in your worth and still give freely. Then you are empowered.
How do you keep up on current trends?
I do trend forecasting so I try to stay ahead of them. Fashion reflects the subconscious. Politics, movements and global trends affect the design of clothes that we wear.
The customer is really driving what companies are creating. I guess I am most fascinated by macro trends that impact fashion and home trends.
What do you do to boost your creativity/inspiration?
Journaling. When I journal, I doodle in it. It just flows. I also started doing self portraits to help me get into a flow. Travel is huge. Conversation with really smart ambitious people. Podcasts. I’m a huge fan of the “Being Boss” podcast and “Health Fuels Hustle” by Amy Kuretsky. I’m inspired by ladybosses!
How are you taking better care of yourself in 2018?
I have eliminated sugar. It’s a game changer for me. I’m also trying to get better sleep. I’m being intentional about building more of the enthusiasm into the work that I do. Being excited about my work is just as important as getting a good night’s sleep.
Check out Anna’s work all this month at Luna.
Homecoming: Paintings by Anna Lee
An ode to the complexities of finding our way as creative individuals in the upper Midwest.
The show runs through September 29 with an artist talk and reception on September 15 at Luna, 1545 University Dr. S, Fargo.