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Creative Careers : Lilly Fluger Interview

Creative Careers in the Arts Interviews

Cartoonist & Artist Lilly Fluger

By Molly Anderson-Childers

© Lilly FlugerGreetings, fellow word-wizards and denizens of the Dork Side... welcome to the strange and delightful universe of Lilly Fluger. A talented cartoonist and an artist in her own right, Fluger can be found online at This Goddess of Lollipops and Sunshine Drops has agreed to meet with us here today to discuss all things creative. Welcome to Creativity Portal, Lilly!

LF: Hi Molly. I am honored to be interviewed by you... and to be part of the great Creativity Portal website. I just love it.

Q: When did you first discover your talent for cartooning and painting? Which came first?

A: I am discovering my talent still. Some days more than others... I don't really know how it all started, but I wanted to be happy and laugh, and lighten up the seriousness of my life. So I played around with cartoon drawings. I wanted to be important and popular and be liked so I tried to be clever and funny and get others to laugh... painting came after.

I always had colors with me, from those 99-cent paint boxes to crayons to markers to little packets of the colored pencil stubs in mini zip-locks in my purse. Drawing funny doodlings just seemed to happen. Working at UCLA hospital, me and the pharmacy tech would draw and laugh. He came up with a funny idea, "Moonhorse," and we started a playful cartoon strip. At another pharmacy, my assistant and I started drawing a line of Christmas Cards with funny Santas and animals.

While living on an island in Florida, I got into designing and painting custom t-shirts for people. In Santa Monica, on a whim, I did menu illustration. The watercolors came much later, in Oregon. I always kept that as a far off dream. I took a watercolor class, and learned about the paints and papers and brushes.

In Portland, I signed up for a cartooning class. I arrived a bit late to notice that lots of adults were leaving the building. Was it cancelled? I head inside, and open the door, to see that it's filled with kids!!! Those were the moms leaving (who had driven their kids to the class). Everybody was 4-10 years old, 90% boys, and me! I felt so strange at first, but then realized, hey, I'm with my correct age group.

Q: When did you decide that a career in the arts was what you wanted, rather than a "day job?"

A: When I was born. But then, I also I thought arts=no money. And I never thought I really had a choice. So my plan was to get money first through what society and family said you should do, get rich, and then work part time and THEN finally pursue the fun times of exploring art play. Of course it never worked out that way, the rich part. And putting off fun? I learned that there is NO FUN in that. I never enjoyed my clinical pharmacy "career", because I never did it out of love. I made a long battle, and fought against it. I did that with anything that made me feel un-free. School, work. Family. So as I followed the shoulds, I rebelled like crazy inside. I thought art was cool and hip and "in" and all I wanted was to just feel free. I still resist the word "career." I prefer to say I want to feel good and play. I want a "career" in joy.

My favorite "career" is one I gave myself called Beach Monitor. We were living on site as caretakers of a church in Carmel by the Sea, California. The beach was 6 blocks away, and I dubbed myself beach monitor. I just went to the beach and monitored. It was a great beach. It was usually very empty. Beautiful houses, beautiful beach, nobody there. I'd read lots of art and drawing books. At night, I'd walk down and secretly sing and dance to the waves. That was a great career. Waves are a great audience.

Q: How has your experience of living and traveling in Europe shaped or influenced your work?

A: Living in Europe was an incredible adventure in life. But the aspect of my travels that influenced me most was people and life and the day to day things like food and lifestyle. Most of all, travelling there aided in building my self confidence in 3 years of wandering around without knowing what's next. I learned to trust life, to trust my self, and began building my connection to my inner inspiration source and allowing all my creative explorations to flow. Life is art first. Me as artist making art is secondary. Travelling taught me you can feel like crap in the most beautiful of places, and you can feel good in the the most horrible places.

Europe and the arts — especially France — seemed intimidating before I went. After I saw so many museums and the Mona Lisa and the David and Rodin's Penseur in person, the intimidation went away. I focused on the pleasure in the process of making the work and wanting that to be fun. I realized I was also very product oriented... it made me more determined to be "Princess Process", and stop trying to be so productive.

European values hold a sense of beauty and pleasure as being important and a big part of life. They encourage differences, and praise variety and eccentric unique slants. I loved that. That was very freeing.

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