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ELISE SWOPES interviewed by DAVE KRUGMAN (Editor in Chief, ALLSHIPS.CO). This post first appeared on https://allships.co/article/interview-elise-swopes.
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Elise it is so nice to connect with you here for ALLSHIPS. I’m glad to call you a friend, and as you surely know I’m a huge fan of your work. Can you begin by introducing yourself to our readers? Your name, where you are from and what medium you work in?
Thank you so much, Dave! Very, very glad to call you a friend as well. We’ve known each for a long time. I’ve been a fan of your work for awhile, too. It’s also been a minute since we connected in that Chicago Diner with Misshattan! My name is Elise Swopes (pronounced Slopes but with a w) I’m from Chicago but I currently live in Brooklyn. And I work primary with my iPhone creating surreal art, (I like to dabble in video, illustration, and photography).
You’ve carved out such a unique niche for yourself as a creator- a difficult task in a world that is so saturated with visual content. When I see a Swopes piece, I know its you before I even see the name. What was your first introduction to the idea of a creative lifestyle and how did your style evolve over the years as you grew into yourself?
Thank you. That means a lot! The creative lifestyle wasn’t something I knew existed but what I had in my heart, I suppose. I couldn’t really prove to anyone what it meant to me until the last few years when it’s become lucrative. Something just kept pulling more and more into digital communities and design, though from a very young age.
I designed my first website when I was 11 years old. But lately, I’ve come to love the ability to take what I see and add a little bit of me to it, and I suppose that’s how my styles even evolved. As I’ve changed and grown as a person, my art has too. I’m a big believer in self-reflecting, and I do that a lot in my work. I am seeing what’s not working and trying the next time again in a different way, which keeps me in my lane and allows me to have some fun.
Beautifully put. What’s happening now is so interesting. We met through Instagram, and have both made our names as creators in social media spaces. The recent paradigm shift of NFTs seems like something so different, so much more artist centric, and even MORE community driven than social. I was so so glad to see that you are on SuperRare. What’s your experience been so far and what are your hopes for the space?
It’s fascinating. I’ll be honest; I have a little bit of influencer PTSD. It’s odd not to have deliverables or a brief to follow. I’m like, “you like me for me???” Lol, it’s something I’m trying to shake when I’m creating new art to mint. Algorithms and analytics have shaped me and I just want to let go. And it’s been so lovely to feel that I can for once.
I just want to be free to create as I always have without expectations. And I hope most importantly, that we can get this eco situation figured out too because it is definitely weighing on me a bit. Which is why I do very limited releases and you may not see any editions from me.
Yeah, I feel as if we are moving from an “attention economy” to an “artist economy” in the sense that it’s our stories as artists that hold value now, not our ability to create something shiny to game an algorithm. I’m eager to see the space evolve. I often think- how will the world change if artists have more power? I think artists generally are empathetic and care deeply about big issues, so I expect these issues to be addressed with creative solutions.
Everyone has a unique journey, their own path to creative success. What are some bits of advice you would share with someone who is earlier on their creative path?
I agree. I think there’s a lot of room for authenticity. But I can still see a lot of people doing it for the cash grab. Which seems pretty obvious to me. So my advice would be to focus most on your ‘why’ versus your ‘what’ because your ‘why’ is going to be the reason you keep going regardless of struggle or recognition. And take care of your mind, body and soul because it’s the first step to everything.
One day you’re going to be at the top and the next you’re going to be at the bottom. So, enjoy the process not the outcomes. Make connections with people and be kind to yourself and others.