Throughout Women’s History Month, we’ve been spotlighting remarkable women who are cultivating collective spaces across creative industries. Last, but certainly not least, is Elise Peterson—an LA-based artist, product designer, and host of the COOL MOMS podcast!
Peterson’s work explores the nuances of human experience through storytelling, using mediums like animated collage, recorded audio, and installation. Her approach blends reality and fantasy, interweaving internal and external moments to capture intimate experiences. She’s already made her mark on the literary world with her fantastical illustrations in two children’s books, “How Mamas Love Their Babies” and “The Nightlife of Jacuzzi Gasket.” In addition to her work as a visual artist, Peterson also hosts the popular podcast “COOL MOMS” featuring dynamic mothers who prioritize their passions like Brooke Devard, Yaris Sanchez, and Jillian Hervey.
Peterson has worked on extensive brand & community strategies for ByHeart, Lalo, and Virtue Worldwide—and was the founding music editor for Solange Knowles’s platform Saint Heron. More recently, she’s collaborated with brands like Zara, TheRealReal, Spotify, and more. If you’re looking for an artist whose work is both thought-provoking and visually stunning, Elise Peterson is definitely someone to keep on your radar!
What is the first creative project you remember?
In the 4th grade, I wrote and illustrated my first book about what happens in the teacher’s lounge. Even then, I was meticulous about the range of diversity and expression in all of my characters and how their unique perspectives were echoed in their aesthetic.
Describe your aesthetic in three words.
Sentimental. Expansive. Celestial.
3. What was the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on?
I would have to name two for significant reasons: I became pregnant while working on the first children’s book I illustrated How Mamas Love Their Babies written by Juniper Fitzgerald and published by the Feminist Press. It was a literal when-life-imitates-art moment. Later, I was able to collaborate with my son Sargent (again) photographing and creative directing several Zara shoots with him as the muse. Influenced by the open markets in Brazil and inspired by his love of tropical fruit and the whimsy of traditional school play props, I was able to create a world that had special significance to both him and me.
Do you think creativity is something you’re born with, or something you’re taught?
Creativity is something you are born with that can be nurtured and cultivated, or lost.
5. What do you know now that you wish you knew at the start of your career?
Everything you need you already possess.
6. How do you cultivate strong relationships with clients?
It’s important to align an understanding of what success looks like for a collaboration, be a direct communicator, and enjoy the work you are doing with the people you are doing it with.
7. One hundred years from now, what do you hope people write about your work?
I told the truth.
Follow @eliserpeterson on Creatively
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