We had the good fortune of connecting with Elyse Dodge and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elyse, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I want to provide some background as to how I became an entrepreneur and why I create the art that I make before I dive into what makes it successful.
I was raised in the Okanagan in British Columbia, Canada, by my mother who is an artist and my father who is a builder. My parents taught me about craftsmanship, experimenting with materials and seeing the world as a blank canvas that was waiting for my ideas. I was deeply inspired by West Coast scenery from an early age and being homeschooled for many years meant that I had the time and space to create and paint what I saw.
I always loved the arts but thought that the only way to have a profitable career and be respected by my peers was to work as a designer. I received a 2 year diploma in Exhibition Design, Graphic Design and Interior Design which led me down a path working in the world of event design. Fascinated with branding and creating immersive experiences, my colorful graphics transformed music festivals, corporate events and stages across North America. During those 7 years, I continued to create custom paintings for clients in the evenings and on the weekends. I always loved painting landscapes but when I realized I could blend my love for modern design with my landscape paintings I was off to the races. Once my artistic style came to the surface, people started to reach out and commission me to create geometric mountain paintings of their favorite destinations. Once I had 3 months worth of work lined up and a contract with a gallery to represent me, I decided to take the leap of faith and work as a full time artist. 3 years later and I am working at my home studio in Los Angeles with a long list of commissions and projects to work on!
To answer your question, the factor behind my success is having a unique style that appeals to a wide audience and creating custom artwork. Being an artist and a designer means that I understand how to create artwork for people with different tastes. My geometric landscapes appeal to those who appreciate modern design as well as those who love colorful, impressionist, landscape paintings. For that reason, many couples and corporate clients agree to work with me because they all see something that they can appreciate in my work. My practical experience as an Art Director also taught me about the importance of creating a brand, of building client and supplier relationships and of knowing how to visualize, create mock ups and work on a large scale.
If you are looking for a custom acrylic painting of your favorite location, artwork that seamlessly blends into your modern home or an illustration that layers geometric mountains onto your photograph you have come to the right place. Please visit my shop online at www.elysedodge.com and fill in your commission requests here.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have to remind myself that I am not only an artist but I am also an entrepreneur who is learning how to run a business in a new country. Lately my work time is divided into 3 main categories:
1) Admin Time: The stuff that is important to keep a business running like following up on inquiries, invoicing, accounting, ordering supplies, shipping, managing orders, customer service, updating my website etc.
2) Artwork Time: Roughly 40% of the time painting on acrylic canvases and 60% of the time working on custom illustrations or mock ups. The majority of my work is custom art which I love doing and allows me the time to plan my schedule (and my paintings) ahead of time.
3) Marketing and Outreach: Instagram has been the source of a lot of business and press coverage for me so it’s important to not only post content there but share things and partner with brands that are inspiring and reflective of the work that I am creating. I also have to make time for outreach to galleries, applying for projects, working on interviews and podcasts and reaching out to brands etc.
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 moved to LA from Canada 2 years ago, so I was only able to experience a few months of normal life before the pandemic hit. From what I have been able to see during my time in LA here are the destinations I would suggest:
Culver City Steps and Platform
– Baldwin Hills Stairs for a morning workout
– Iced Cappuccino and an almond croissant from Good Boy Bob at the beautiful designed Citizen
– Ice Cream from Salt n Straw
– Relax in the sun on the Culver City Steps or maybe do a sneaky yoga session on the roof
– Tacos at Loqui at Platform for lunch
– Shop at Platform or tour some of the movie studios near by
– Robertas for dinner and order the Bee Sting pizza or go to Margots upstairs for a beautiful dinner with a view
Abbot Kinney, Venice and Santa Monica Beach
– Iced Cappuccino from Intelligentsia, Breakfast at the Butchers Duaghter and a stroll along Abbott Kinney
– Lunch outside at Gjusta
– Bring beach towels and order the Coconut Chicken and banana nutella shake from Cha Cha Chicken and eat it while watching the sunset at the beach)
Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu
– Morning hike through the Los Liones Trail
– Bring lunch and sunbathe at El Matador beach (don’t pack too much because there are a lot of stairs)
– Malibu Wines for wine tasting and pack your own charcuterie dinner to eat at the picnic tables
– Drive back for sunset on the beach
Redondo Beach and Palos Verdes
– Morning Iced Coffee at the Boy and the Bear in Redondo
– Bike along the Beach and visit the Redondo Pier for snacks
– Enjoy the sun and soft sand at Redondo Beach
– Malaga Cove Ranch Market or Yellow Vase for lunch and an afternoon coffee
– Joy drive through Palos Verdes and look at the beautiful houses and views
– Dinner at Love & Salt in Manhatten Beach
Weekend in Palm Springs
– Stay at the Arrive Hotel (hello best coffee in PS and cute modern boutique hotel)
– Brunch outside at the Farm
– Mid Century Architecture bike tour (ideally go during Modernism Week)
– Go Antiquing off of the strip and buy some cool things that may have belonged to Elvis
– Dinner at Normas at the Parker Hotel (get all the photos you want here)
– Cocktails at the Bootlegger Tiki Bar
Post Pandemic List of To dos:
– Visiting the Getty for the art and the views is always a must do
– Dinner at Yamashiro Hollywood and drinks on the roof at Harriets Bar
– Sign up to be in the audience for Ellen
– Tour Movie Studios like Paramount
– See art exhibitions and murals in the Arts District (and get gourmet hot dogs from Wurstkuche)
– Visit the Broad or listen to the symphony at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and have dinner at Otium
…And finally I would try and convince them to stay for an extra week and road trip to Yosemite National Park. I would suggest staying at the Rush Creek Lodge and exploring the park for at least a few days. That place is made of magic.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout would be to Danielle Krysa of the Jealous Curator. For many years I was working a full time job as an Art Director and hustling to do several art commissions on the side. Danielle saw my paintings and featured it on her art blog and Instagram account which immediately brought so much attention to my art. Danielle then introduced me to the Ian Tan Gallery in Vancouver, BC, which gave me credibility and put my work in front of collectors eyes. Danielle gave me the confidence boost that I needed in order to take that leap of faith and become a full time artist. Its amazing how one person can play such a pivotal role in your career path!
My other shoutout is to my mom, Carlyn Dodge, who is an amazing artist and mother. From a very young age she encouraged me to draw, paint and capture what I saw in the world around me. Her endless support and cheerleading allowed me to never second guess my ability and helped me pursue a career doing what I loved.