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Meet local artist, Alex Plante, a digital illustrator who mostly draws stylized landscapes. Alex also draws lots of little cartoons, comics, and fat birds, makes pottery, paints murals, and is learning how to bead! Mainly, she sells prints of illustrations that try to sing the understated beauty of Manitoba.

How do you take your coffee (or tea!)?

uhhhhh god this is such a normie answer but “in large quantities.” I hate that this is so stereotypical but I need so much caffeine just to be able to focus on my day.

Tea I will drink however. Milk, sugar, black, green, herbal, whatever.

Drip coffee I drink black (or with baileys as a treat!), or espresso as a flat white… although lately I’ve been making myself iced coffee with like… four shots of espresso and condensed milk, Vietnamese style. I also make myself iced coffee with instant coffee when I’m too lazy to turn on the espresso machine, but it’s actually great.

What’s your favourite scent?

CITRUS. Especially grapefruit. Also peppermint. I love fresh, clean scents most, by a WIDE margin. But also when you get a whiff of gasoline on a jacket or mitts or something in winter? *chefs kiss*

What inspires you to create?

Honestly.. what doesn’t ? I think I’m just one of those people who was born to make stuff regardless of the medium.

A non-comprehensive list of things that inspire me to make stuff:

  • Walking around outside
  • When my kid does something funny or dumb or cute
  • When my cat does something funny or dumb or cute
  • Mundane moments in daily life
  • When I see a bird
  • When I see good art
  • When I see bad art
  • Movies and TV
  • Learning new techniques
  • Boredom

How did you get started as a Maker?

By being painfully average at every other job I had. I’ve worked in like 7 or 8 different industries. I guess I’m just BUILT DIFFERENT.

Nah but in all seriousness in 2018 I was very tired of working for other people and not being able to live my life on my own terms, so I kind of made the decision that I was going to give myself three months to try to make it on my own. Thankfully in the eleventh hour things started to pick up and it’s been swell ever since.

At the time I was working in radio, and a well-known friend there helped me boost an illustration I did to a wider audience and make a couple connections, so I was really privileged in that regard. Other than that I just knocked on doors asking shops if they wanted to carry my work, built a website, and put my nose to the grindstone for a while trying to find my niche.

What has your most exciting experience as a Maker been so far?

I’ve been really lucky to have a lot of really cool moments! Too many to count.

I’ve been noticed by a few really cool people. The Simpsons acknowledged and liked my illustration of Winnipeg in the Simpsons style, and I’ve done fan art that’s been shared by people like Bowen Yang on SNL, and even got licensed as merch for Mawaan Rizwan, a UK comedian and contestant on Taskmaster (one of my favourite shows of all time).

But by far the most ridiculous moment of my career was when I was interviewed by CNN after I did a drawing of Cinderblock, a fat cat on a treadmill that went viral.

What are some of the challenges you’ve overcome with your business?

I think I’m in the middle of my biggest challenge right now; I have a very busy and curious toddler at home right now, and when we made the decision that I would be a stay at home mom for the first couple years to avoid infant daycare, working part time while she napped, we were in a very different economy hahaha. But I’m making it work!!

What is one piece of advice would you give to new makers?

Maaaan I don’t even know if I’m qualified to give advice. Probably the most helpful thing I could do for myself is keep my spreadsheets updated so I don’t have to do everything all at once in December but guess who hasn’t opened Excel once yet this year?

Oh, and work-life balance.

And stretching! If you don’t stretch throughout the day you literally fossilize into a chunk of petrified person-shaped driftwood and then your massage therapist tells you that most people overestimate how tense their bodies are when they come in but you, actually, are maybe understating things a bit even though you walk in and shout “my body is a terrible no-good very bad body today for the love of god please fix me so i can walk upright again”

…yeah man you gotta stretch.

Check out more of Alex’s work on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Patreon, and her website: aplante.com.


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