Ally Burke

Ally Burke

A mini-interview with our favorite spooky illustrator, Ally Burke

Q: Tell us a bit about who you are, where you grew up, and your background as an illustrator!

A: I grew up in Gate City, Virginia across from an abandoned house where my uncle kept pigs. This was formative for some reason, walking by this old falling down house and knowing there were pigs in there. I’ve been drawing since always, painting since my early 20s, and somehow ended up doing this full time almost a decade ago when people online kept buying the things I was making.

Q: How has Appalachia inspired your work & what is your favorite part of living in the region?

A: If I’m being honest I hated living here when I was growing up and that might be the reason I stayed inside drawing all of the time, so maybe I wouldn’t be an artist if I’d been born somewhere else. But I’ve grown to appreciate a specific type of weirdness that exists here.

Q: What are some consistent themes in your work you hope resonate with the viewer?

A: Death is probably the most consistent theme but I can’t say I hope for anything in particular to resonate with anyone because I don’t think about how other people are viewing my work when I make it. But it’s nice when people pick up on what I was feeling or thinking about when I made something even if the piece itself isn’t explicit in its meaning.

Q: What does a typical day of creating look like for you?

A: When I’m in the zone I get up as early as I can, sometimes around 4 AM, make the coffee and make myself go to my desk and just pretty much paint and sketch all day. I take breaks when my dogs get restless—having pets is helpful for remembering I gotta tend to regular life stuff too, otherwise it’s easy for me to forget.

Q: I hear tale you’re diversifying your handmade jewelry selection - tell us a bit about what you hope to create this year!

A: I don’t know about diversifying, but I’ve been trying to improve my design skills. When I started making my own laser cut accessories the hardest part was turning traditional art into vector designs, because I don’t really like working digitally all that much and being in front of a computer too long makes my head fuzzy. But I’ve been forcing myself to learn more and hopefully that will translate into cooler monster pins.

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