Carving Out Time for Art with Danielle Krysa

Life is still really busy right now though – Charlie has lots of activities, I have a day job, I run the blog (and everything that comes along with that) so I’ve had to DECIDE to make time. I set aside chunks of my weekend where I don’t do anything else. Just make collages. I usually give my boys a head’s up that they’re going to have to pick up some take-out because I’m going right through till bedtime! You know… when you get on a roll, you get on a roll!


Happy New Year, friends! As I reflected on 2015, my proudest achievement was taking the steps to cultivate this inkling of an idea, into a weekly series that has far surpassed the 10 people I intended to interview. In fact, my goal for 2016 is to write a book on this topic with my friend Heather Kirtland, because there are so many mothers who could really use it.  So thank you to everyone for your positive feedback on this passion project that keeps me taking one step further. It’s become what I’m most excited about during the work week. It makes me feel like a contributing member or our big dreaming creative community when I’m not able to paint much.

I wanted to kick off the year with someone really special, because she is the first person I think of when it comes to inspiring, encouraging, and empowering other artists. Danielle Krysa (aka The Jealous Curator) shares her own vulnerable stories so candidly, and has helped thousands of people to realize they are not alone with creative blocks, self doubt, or not thinking they are talented enough to be an artist. Her story resonates with me particularly, as I really doubted myself as an artist in college and my twenties, and then discounted my own work for a long time. Thankfully, that has since changed, but thank you to Danielle for sharing her story with so many. That takes a ton of bravery.


She is also pretty much the nicest person from what I can tell via email and listening to her podcast “Art for Your Ear”. I am so excited to see you bring a little paint back into your lovely and hysterical collages. You cannot look at her recent collages without reading the clever captions. They make me laugh and transport me to a place that feels like the mid-60s with pink bathrooms, tiki bar drinks, and the air of exasperation from a housewife that needs her GD cocktail already, but is still a nice lady. (The one below is my favorite).

“Ellen was having a wonderful time… now, if Hal would just take the GD photo she could prove it to everyone”

Thank you so much for sharing your insight, Danielle! I’m so excited for your newest book and please let me know when you’re in Miami, won’t you? I’ll buy you a cocktail with an umbrella in it for good measure.

Tell us about yourself. How old are your children? Where can we find you?

Let’s see… well, I went to art school (majored in painting and printmaking), and then did a post-grad in graphic design. I have worked as a designer for years, and ended up as a creative director of digital design at an ad agency… and then I left to have my son. He’s nine now. After he was born I never really went back. I started freelancing but was also really wanting to get back into the fine art world. That’s when I launched by my art blog, The Jealous Curator (Charlie was about two and half at the time).


You can find me here:

Podcast: art for your ear 

Books: Creative Block & Collage 

Creative Block by Danielle Krysa

How has your approach to painting, your processes, medium, or your inspiration changed since having children?

He was really the reason I started making art again. I had taken a really loooooong break (after a terrible art school experience right before I graduated), and mainly just concentrated on design. When I decided to stay home with him I suddenly started to feel those creative fires start to burn again. Granted, I didn’t have very much time to make anything, but when he napped I would make pieces that focused on what I was experiencing as his mama. I did a series called “Dog Days” because when he was about two or three he would literally spend full days lost in his little imagination… sometimes he was a dog, a sheep, a dinosaur… it ran the gamut really. I also did another series, titled “Type-A Mama”, because I was going through this weird time when i was trying to be the best mom EVER (a left-over from my over achiever, ad agency days)… an at-home-mom workaholic you might say. It was also this moment in time that inspired me to really look at what I wanted to be doing creatively, and before I knew it I had started the blog.

Dog Days. 2009.


Is it easy or difficult for you to find/make time to create? Did you have to give anything up? Do you have advice on what works for you?

Well, it’s getting a lot easier now that he’s nine! It was hard in the beginning, but I did my best to carve out little chunks of time for creativity. I have a very supportive husband who suggested I get studio space out of the house where I could go a couple of times a week… that way I couldn’t be distracted by a toddler that wanted to play, or by a pile of laundry that I believed needed to be done immediately. Life is still really busy right now though – Charlie has lots of activities, I have a day job, I run the blog (and everything that comes along with that) so I’ve had to DECIDE to make time. I set aside chunks of my weekend where I don’t do anything else. Just make collages. I usually give my boys a head’s up that they’re going to have to pick up some take-out because I’m going right through till bedtime! You know… when you get on a roll, you get on a roll! As far as The Jealous Curator goes, it’s very much part of my every day. It takes just as much time as my full-time day job… so I basically have two jobs at the moment.

“in hindsight, rick wished he’d picked truth instead of dare”


“The first and last time Mary-Jo forgot to pack the sun hats”

How does being an artist make you a better mother to your children? What do you hope they take away from seeing you as an artist doing something that fulfills you?

My son is very creative and has been since he was really little. I don’t know if that’s just in his DNA (my mom is a very accomplished painter), or if it’s from him seeing how important creativity is to me. He used to paint everything – including himself – but as he’s gotten older he’s become more interested in writing than visual art. I’ve written a few books about art, and the other day he said, “Mommy, you’re an author right? I think I’d like to be an author one day too.” Heart. Melted.

Little Painted Charlie!

Where do you paint or create? What are your favorite things about your workspace and what would you improve? Do you ever create art with your kids?

Three years ago we moved into a new house – a new house with an extra room! That space has become my studio. Most of the time it looks like a bomb went off, but it’s great because I can just close the door! I think my favorite thing is the built in shelves that go from floor to ceiling along one small wall. I have supplies there, but also weird little objects and art from other artists I love (including some “early work” by Charlie). I could use a little more natural light in there, but my poodle lamp ($2 at my local thrift shop) is doing it’s best. For my Jealous Curator work, I’m at my computer in my home office – my favorite thing about that room is the view of the lake, and the view of my handsome husband (who also works from home). I used to make art with charlie all the time, but as I said, it’s more about writing for him now. That of course won’t stop me from including this masterpiece he did for me when he was four… this was his “fish phase” – salmon and yellow fin tuna, clearly.

Fish artwork by her son Charlie. Artwork by Danielle Krysa.
Sculptures by Amanda Smith. Cake by Martha Rich.

Do you have any big goals or dreams for your art that you’d like to share? What would be your dream project?

Right now I’m just trying to make collages as often as I can. Normally I write about other artists, so I’m trying very hard to share my own work. It’s weird. But, I just wrote a new book (due out Fall 2016) all about self-doubt, inner critics, fear of sharing, etc … so I should probably take my own advice and start putting myself out there a little more!

“frank had always been a bit of a thrill-seeker”
“no matter how long he sat there, he just couldn’t get his head around the whole ‘minimalism’ thing.”
“oh yes, gerry would try a little bit of everything before this night was through”
View from Danielle’s Office


Photographs provided by Danielle Krysa.

Website for  Martha Rich

Website for Amanda Smith

P.S. As a lover of minimalism, that is my 2nd favorite because it’s so true!

P.P.S. I wouldn’t quit my dayjob with a view like the one from Danielle’s office. Wow…

7 thoughts on “Carving Out Time for Art with Danielle Krysa

  1. SUCH a great interview!!! We mothers take on so many extra jobs; it’s exhausting! But we make it HAPPEN, baby! Woooo! Love The Jealous Curator blog and the podcast…it’s so FUN to read and listen to. I learn a lot and it’s just a happy slice of time.

  2. Danielle, I so enjoy seeing your collages they are wonderful. I follow you on instagram & it is great that you are promoting your own work more. Looking forward to your new book!

  3. I am a little obsessed with Danielle right now! I love her work, her blog and podcast and have been feeling like what she is all about was hidden. I had no idea what she even looked like!(beautiful) Danielle you are so talented, it is hard to imagine you were shy about showing your work! Its plain AWESOME!! Looking forward to seeing what the future holds for you.

  4. That is so lovely! I will have to make sure Danielle sees this, or you should go run over and tell her. I agree, she’s amazing. Thank you for your sweet words!

  5. I started following your group on IG and already it’s been so validating and inspiring to know that loads of other people struggle with this guilt related to taking the time to make. I have three kids under 10, and a crazy life, and I find myself needing to legitimize why it is that I HAVE the time to paint and draw, which makes me insanely crazy. Anyways, thank you for sharing and making public the stuff that I’ve been dealing with internally!

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