Role Call: Real Women in Illustration

Priscilla is an illustrator in  Los Angeles, California.

Priscilla is an illustrator in Los Angeles, California.

Role Call is a Petal + Sass blog section featuring interviews with professional young women occupying diverse careers – and their advice to teens.

Name: Priscilla Carpenter Witte

Age: 30 years old

College & major: UC of Syracuse University, Child Psychology

Past jobs: Retail, a lot of babysitting, front desk at Paragon Athletic and Raquet Club, waitress, charcuterie chef.

Current occupation: Illustrator (website: www.pcwitte.tumblr.com)

How did you get involved in visual art? Art has always been my favorite. When I was a kid, I was surrounded by my parents’ awesome friends who were writers, painters, photographers, and musicians, so that definitely sparked inspiration. As a family we would go to so many museums, the theater, music events, etc. I went to a lot of operas with my dad. Without realizing it, I was experiencing a lot of culture. Visual arts were always my favorite classes in school. When it came time to figure out what I wanted to do after college, working in the visual arts just felt right.

How did your college major influence your career field? I think that I’ve always wanted to work with kids and help them feel comfortable with themselves. Since college, I’ve worked with non-profits doing just that. I’m not sure that my major directly influenced my choice to be an artist, but I hope that my work inspires kids. If I can do it, you can too. Express yo-self kids! Be you!

What type of work have you done as an illustrator to get where you are today? How did you grow your “brand?” I first started out having a few shows, which then led to other work. Everything started snow balling from there. I’ve done logos for brands and companies, pickle and cheese labels, a wine label, surfboards, album covers, a coloring book, greeting cards, menu art, clothing designs for companies like urban outfitters, Nordstrom, and Top Shop, posters, music video animation, you name it. I was the head illustrator for Foam Magazine for a couple of years, and now I’m the illustrator at Abby Rose Design. I began to grow as an artist without even realizing it. I think this is because whenever I finish a project, I’m always ready for the next; I always want more from myself. It can definitely be challenging working for yourself.

Currently I’m working on a campaign about women empowerment with Keds shoes and Taylor Swift. I’m excited to see what the future holds. I have a vision! And I feel very happy and very lucky when I think about how far I’ve come. There’s so much more to do! I’m still growing.

What do you love most about being an artist? I love that I can create everyday. I love, love, love drawing and painting, and coming up with new ideas. I love that other people like what I do. It keeps me inspired and keeps pushing me forward. I’m never going to stop! I’ve found how I want to spend my days. I’ve found what I’m passionate about. And it’s AWESOME.

What obstacles do you face as a woman in your field? I wouldn’t say that I’ve faced any obstacles as a woman in my field as of yet, but I will say that when people see my work they often think it was a man who created it. Which is so funny to me! In this day and age I think that people take a woman crushing it as being awesome. GIRL POWER!

Do you think being a woman influences your artistic style in any specific way? Why or why not? I think that life inspires my artistic style. I do create pieces from a woman’s perspective I guess, seeing that I am a woman. Ha! I think that there are certain pieces that are definitely more feminine than others.

What advice would you give to girls considering a career path in visual art? Go for it. Go for it. Go for it. Stay confident. Do what you love. Follow your dreams. Take criticism as fuel to push harder. Prove them wrong. Be different. Be true to yourself. Be true to who you are. In the end you will be happy that you did. Being genuine will shine through to others, and even give them the inspiration to be true to themselves. BE A BADASS.

What would you wear to an art opening or event? I usually wear black. A black dress and a pop of color somewhere. Shoes or stockings usually. I always want to go Diane Keaton style with a bow tie and slacks, while still maintaining femininity, but haven’t done it yet. I think I’ll do that soon. She rocks.

Any favorite websites particular to your field (or just fun ones you love)? I find inspiration through Pinterest and social media. Is that cheesy? Yes.

Looking back, what general life advice would you give to your former high-school self? Hey high school self, get your SH*T together! Pay attention! Try! Oh, the things you learn later on in life. I was lucky to have amazing human beings as teachers. Literally. They cared not only about my education, but about me as an individual. I was an athlete, so I cared a lot about soccer, track, and figure skating. I also think that I focused on my relationships with people too much as opposed to how much I was learning. So maybe I’d change that. I left high school stoked on life though, so I’m pretty happy with the outcome. Oh little Clinton, NY, you’re such a special place.

Other relevant words of wisdom: Never give up on who you want to become. Life gets tough, power through. Set goals. Follow your dreams. You got this!

Priscilla’s artwork is currently featured in the Keds 2015 Fall Collection (video below) alongside superstar ambassador Taylor Swift.

You can follow more of Priscilla’s work on Instagram and Facebook.

You can view more ‘Role Call’ interviews here.

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