We had the good fortune of connecting with Chalise Varner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chalise, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
When I was in high school getting ready to apply to colleges, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I saw my friends picking out which college they wanted to go to based on the career they wanted to choose, and that definitely was not me. I changed my mind about 5 times while in college from wanting to be a teacher to a firefighter, a fine arts major, and then finally landing of graphic design. I had always drawn my whole life and had even created binder covers for my friends in high school for a quick buck. When I started taking classes that allowed me expand my art in ways I had never know I was capable of awakened a fire in me. I knew then that I wanted to pursue a life in the creative world and being part of a community of people who inspire me. I love to be in a field where I am constantly pushed to be better and to do better.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I create vector art from ink concepts that I have drawn. I would say that I have a very particular style and everyone who knows me says that they always know which art is mine. That is such a high compliment to me because it tells me that I am an artist who has their own voice. I had worked a lot of odd jobs in the art field once I graduated, starting from an accounting assistant that made t-shirt graphics for a clothing company, then a designer for a youtube network creating banners for influencers. Working for company’s really taught me a lot more than I ever learned in school not only in how to be a better more efficient artist but the business side as well. However, working and for other people to create a vision that wasn’t controlled by me was very hard and it killed the joy I had when I first started designing. So leaving the comforts of a job that I had stability was terrifying and the Capricorn in me was so scared to not have a 9 to 5. Once I got my own footing though I have never looked back. Having the freedom of not working for others and to do things that bring me joy is worth more than any salary can bring.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I always recommend if you are having a day in Long Beach to try and do the Aqualink, which is the water taxi. It takes you from Ballast Point Brewery to the Queen Mary. It only costs $5 and it’s just lovely. If you are trying to get great cocktails with great service, I always go to Black. There is also the Bamboo Club that has the best tiki drinks in town. Oh and Art Du Vin that is a great wine bar next to the Art Theatre, which is alos a must do. Food wise I have so many but I keep it to a few places I love to go. Ellies which is Italian food with a Californian flair, Joe Jost that has cheap sandwiches, beer, and homemade pickled eggs. Lastly would have to be Open Sesame, the chicken tawook…game over. There is so much about Long Beach that I love and there is never not anything to do or see.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to dedicate this to my beautiful friend, Brittany Rose Bush, who has always believed in me. Her talent and heart truly push me to be a better person to myself and to others. She is ferocious, captivating and the best friend you’ll ever have.