MEET #2257 KATE BINGAMAN-BURT
Illustrator • Portland, Oregon
WNW Member #2257 Kate Bingaman-Burt has lots of zingers. Her observational illustrations may have a whimsical style but they belie a strong social commentary. A quick look through her portfolio yields sex facts, how to get creative and...her credit card statements. All draw attention to causes that educate and empower.
Given that Kate is both a full-time professor and full-time freelancer, we wanted to know how she manages her time. Kate tells us that she tries to compartmentalize and divide the week into school mode with weekends for freelance brain. She also reminds us of the great Mike Tyson quote, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."
1. How long have you been freelancing?
People have been paying me to do stuff for them since 1999, but I feel like things ramped up into FOR REAL territory around 8 or 9 years ago.
2. Is there a time or place that you feel most creative/have the best ideas?
Fantasy answer: In the mornings! I love getting up at 5 am and starting the day off right by exercising, walking the dog, spending quality time with my husband, eating a healthy breakfast and then getting to my studio around 7 am to start attacking the day. Also, I don't check my email until at least noon so I can have some uninterrupted productivity ME time.
Real answer: Who knows anymore? I used to think I was a night person. and then I used to think I was a morning person. Now, I just feel like a person who likes to sleep, but doesn't that much. Sometimes I get up in the middle of the night to work and sometimes I get up super early in the morning or I stay up really late. Some of my best ideas come when I am just terribly frustrated and on the verge of tears and really just need to get shit done and then BOOM. WORKING AWAY. Trust me, this process isn't ideal. I don't really regulate my freelance schedule until my school year is over with. Summer time is when I can actually start creating a routine for my workdays, which is great. During the school year, I compartmentalize a lot and try to reserve Tuesday-Thursday brain time for school and Friday-Monday brain time for freelance. That's the plan, but as the great philosopher Mike Tyson once said "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."
3. What's your ideal Working:Not Working ratio?
I always like to be working, but I hear that this might not always be a good thing. I try to reserve my Sundays to be my Fundays. If I can keep my Sunday free to hang out with friends or to work on just my own projects, then I consider that week a success.
4. Do your parents understand what you do?
Completely. When I was growing up they were self-employed weavers so they understand the weirdo work schedule.
5. What scene from a movie makes you laugh just thinking about it?
I have two: The scene from Dumb and Dumber where Lloyd says "We've got no FOOD, JOBS...our PETS HEADS ARE FALLIN OFF!"
6. If you were stranded on a desert island, with your computer, what 3 websites would you take with you?
Instagram because I am sick, Netflix because I am sick and Wikipedia because I am sick. Really, for sanity reasons, I should be STOKED to have zero internet on the desert island. I am about two seconds from going off the grid entirely and just heading out the woods to raise goats and live in a freaking yurt. I swear I am not an angry person, the internet just makes me angry sometimes.
7. What do you do when Not Working?
Besides having fantasies of living in a world with no screens? Umm...I spent the last week trying to figure out Snapchat. Verdict: Still confused. Also, I look at my dog a lot and feel guilty that I don't walk her more.
8. Do you have a hidden talent?
I play the flute and have since I was 11.
9. Any tips or advice for fellow freelancers?
These things take time. I get a lot of questions from people that usually focus around the question of "well, how did you get that client?" It's not an overnight thing for most of us. It's a constant flow of work over a long period of time. It's the steady build up of quality relationships and consistently delivering super work and not being a douchebag to interact with that keeps the work flowing. It's about being a bit crazed and working really hard and repeat. repeat. repeat.
10. What's your favorite thing on the internet this week?
The Fall on Netflix. GILLIAN ANDERSON IS A STONE COLD BABE FOX. Also, Dolly Parton animated gifs, reading all of the excerpts that I can get my hands on from the new Kim Gordon autobiography (Thurston Moore throws a stapler because he is upset that his zine isn't coming together. OMG) and the Anne Friedman Weekly Newsletter. ALWAYS.