Wednesday 16 October 2013

Kustom Artistry

I recently saw one of Kustom Artistry’s paintings pop up on my Facebook news feed and had to click away to find out more! My friend had recently received a bag with hand painted artwork from a very talented lady and I fell in love with them straight away.

Lisa is an American living in London who has found her niche in the rockabilly scene painting on non-traditional surfaces creating works of art on leather bags, retro handbags, suitcases, ipad cases, leather jackets and well anything you can think of!

As you all know I am all for supporting independent female businesses and this one is very unique indeed. The great thing about Lisa’s work is in the name, you can customise your own idea and have it painted on to the surface of your choice. Having personalised items is very popular and this gives you the chance to make your own stamp on something, create your own fashion statement and have something you can guarantee you won’t see anywhere else. And what a great present this can make for someone! Christmas is coming up and this is really a fabulous idea to treat your loved ones with something very special!

What’s more we have a special discount available!! We have a s
pecial coupon code for free shipping on orders over $25 on Kustom Artistry etsy shop. Coupon code is 'TWEET13'' - Good until 29 November!!

Where are you originally from and when did you move to England?

I'm originally from the good ol' USA. I grew up in California, went to University in Los Angeles, and lived in Oregon before moving to England. I've spent my working life doing many different things. Worked at Capitol Records in Hollywood, went on the road as a tour manager for a rock n roll blues singer, operated self-catering cottages on the Oregon coast, and owned a gift shop as well. I arrived in England on 9/10/09.

What made you decide to move here?

Simple answer - fell in love and married an Englishman. I'd been visiting England for many years on my holidays and just loved every moment I spent here. I have friends from school who remind me that I told them I would live in London one day. So no one is really surprised that I am here.

How are you finding life in London?

I absolutely love London. There is ALWAYS something to do, walk in the park, go to a gig, theatre, or just hanging out at a local coffee shop.

Is Kustom Artistry your full time career?

I wish! No, it is just part time at the moment.

When did you first start painting?

I didn't really start painting regularly until I moved to London. Although I have been painting and drawing since I was very young.

Are you a trained artist or all self-taught?

I have taken a few classes through the years, but I haven't had any formal training.

Why did you decide to take your paintings from paper to surfaces such as leather?

Probably because everybody paints on paper and I wanted to do something different. My husband paints on leather jackets. I didn't want to paint on jackets because I don't wear leather jackets. But just about everyone needs a handbag!

Do you paint on surfaces such as denim or is it always leather?

Denim is a difficult surface to paint on because it isn't very smooth. It also absorbs the paint differently than leather and you have to continually go over certain areas to get the proper coverage. I prefer to paint on leather, but I will also paint on PU leather, and other faux leathers. I have also painted on a hard-sided carry on bag that I took to Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend this year. That turned out much better than I'd hoped.

What kind of image do you enjoy painting the most?

At the moment I really like to paint tattoo inspired designs. I've done a few Sailor Jerry inspired designs, and you can't go too wrong with rockabilly designs including the dice, cherries and playing cards. The most recent pieces I've been working on have been a 'girly' skull with a bow, and a pink sugar skull design.

Your paintings look so detailed and intricate, in particular the leather jackets. Explain to the readers how long for example a painting would take from start to finish?

Actually my husband does the leather jackets if you want to contact him ( The leather jacket I sold on my etsy page was one that he did because he really liked the design, and then aged it so that it looked as if someone had been wearing it for years.

What’s the most memorable piece you have ever done?

The piece I'm most happy with is the Sailor Jerry inspired Poison girl design. I guess it's a compliment when people think it is a decal :). I also really love the first girly skull I did on a vintage red patent leather handbag. It turned out better than expected and was the first thing to sell in my etsy shop.

Explain the process a customer can expect to go through to have a custom piece made with Kustom Artistry including timescale?

First of all, you need to decide what you want painted. I have painted on ipad cases, mobile phone cases, wallets, shoulder bags, handbags, and even luggage. Then let me know what you would like painted. The intricacy of the design dictates the time it will take to complete. As I do this part time, a simple design could take a week to 10 days, as long as I don't have any other commissions going at the moment.

Is there any kind of painting or style you wouldn't do?

I don't do portraits. That takes a special skill, and I wouldn't feel confident doing that.

As a business woman what advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

I would advise you do what you enjoy. It makes it a lot easier when things are going the way you think they should. I wouldn't say I'm successful enough to give up my day job, but I do enjoy painting on handbags and I really enjoy it when someone gets their handbag and really enjoys it.

What are the best and worst things about running your own business?

The best thing is doing what you want to do, when you want to do it! The worst part is getting through the times when it doesn't seem like people appreciate what you are doing.

How would you describe your own style?

My personal style? I love dressing in 50's inspired dresses. I think they suite just about every shape out there. When I was living in the states, most people would give me funny looks when I was dressing like that. One of the great things about living in London is that there is so much diversity that no one seems to be bothered!

Who is your style icon?

I've never really thought about it -but there are always the classics  - Grace Kelly, Rita Hayworth. 

Where do you love to shop?

I love shopping at vintage fairs. Unfortunately, I'm not a 'vintage' size, so I do most of my dress shopping at Collectif, or Bettie Page Clothing 

Who do you turn to for inspiration?

I can turn to my husband for inspiration. If I see a particularly interesting tattoo, I will think of ways I can adapt to a handbag design.

Who would you love to have as a customer?

Anyone who appreciates the designs I paint. I paint what I like, so it's nice to be acknowledged that way.

So what can we expect to come from you next? 

It would be great fun to open a store front at some point in the future. I owned a small gift shop in the states before I moved to London, and I really enjoy the one - to - one interaction with the customers who came into the shop. I think I'd really enjoy doing that again.

So whether you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift, to revamp your accessories, customise your very own jacket, or stand out from the crowd, do it with Kustom Artistry!

Take a look at Lisa’s beautiful creations in her online shop:

Not to mention following Kustom Artistry on Facebook and Twitter!

Thank you very much to Lisa for her time with this interview. Stay tuned for more business showcases soon!


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