Artwork for podcast Not Real Art
Ilse Valfré and Donald Eley: How Love of Drawing Became a Global Brand
Episode 17531st May 2022 • Not Real Art • Crewest Studio
00:00:00 00:52:42

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How do you turn your passion into a successful business? When Los Angeles-based artist and entrepreneur Ilse Valfré was just 22-years-old, she started a Tumblr blog that would propel her from preschool teacher to internationally sought-after artist.

Today, fans of her brand, Valfré, include Jessica Alba and Emma Roberts, as well as millions of girls and young women around the world. In this episode of our podcast, NOT REAL ART founder and publisher Scott “Sourdough” Power sits down with Ilse and her husband, Donald Eley, to discuss how they built a family business while raising two bchildren. You’ll gain insight into the challenges and rewards associated with building a successful brand in today’s tech-savvy world and learn about Ilse’s passion for drawing. We also touch on the importance of starting a creative business while you’re young, establishing a strong community to rally around you, and what it takes to forge your own path.

Prompting young artists to view hardships as gasoline for their creative fire, Ilse believes the challenges she’s endured shaped her success for the better. Her quirky, irreverent characters reflect this philosophy, smirking in the face of adversity even as tears fall from their eyes. A modern-day internet success story, Ilse urges creative entrepreneurs to follow their passions, jump in with both feet, and make mistakes—you never know what might happen! We also dive into the Web 3.0 and NFT world, where Ilse and Donald have created Valfrélandia, a collection of 600 unique, hand-drawn NFT artworks

Though Ilse credits her success to the incredible community she’s managed to build online, it’s the artist’s sunny disposition and relentless optimism that propels her work into the wider world. In today’s episode, Donald and Ilse share their magic formula for modern success as they reflect on what it’s like to have over a million followers in their community: “It keeps us inspired.”

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Insight into Ilse’s upbringing and the Tumblr blog that launched her global brand
  • Why Ilse encourages creative entrepreneurs to start young (and make mistakes!)
  • Donald explains how the Valfré brand “rides the line” between fashion, art, and design
  • The authenticity in her work that Ilse believes people are drawn to
  • How the internet provided a space for Ilse to build her own world and forge her own path
  • Viewing the internet as a window or a stage to introduce viewers to your work
  • Discover how Donald and Ilse met and how their skillsets compliment one another
  • How growing up surrounded by street food and urban art in Tijuana influenced Ilse’s practice
  • A glimpse into Donald’s journey and how he became the businessperson that he is today
  • Why Ilse says she has learned to trust the journey, even when it is challenging
  • Understanding how Ilse’s characters reflect this philosophy, smirking in the face of hardship
  • What it’s like for Ilse to have a million followers and how it inspires her to keep going
  • The uplifting and positive messages her artwork spreads amongst the Valfré community
  • Diving into the Web 3.0 and NFT world, where Ilse and Donald have created Valfrélandia
  • How emerging technology can connect creators with their fans in a whole new way
  • The benefits of having a family business and how Ilse and Donald advocate for each other

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