We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Lustberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, how do you think about risk?
We always hear that without risk there’s no reward, but that never truly resonated with me until recently. In the most the uncertain year of 2020, I took some risks to feel happier and more aligned with my purpose. I left a steady full-time job in October that I knew wasn’t the right fit with the goal in mind to focus on building my illustration career (a huge risk for an artist with almost no savings!).
Almost immediately and out of the blue, a good friend of mine introduced me to an amazing business opportunity. Though I didn’t know how I was going to make it work, I kept telling her, “Yes, let’s do this.” My next risk was jumping at this opportunity I truly wasn’t prepared for and, while it didn’t unfold exactly the way I’d hoped initially, I learned SO much in such a short time (and still am!) about starting a new business and making it a reality. It was the kickstart I needed, the fire lit underneath me, that got me going and on my way to becoming my own boss and co-founder of a startup (more soon on that!).
Taking risks makes the heart pump HARD. I felt certain invigorating energy I hadn’t in a long time, and I spread it to everyone I knew. I called people up who I admired and wanted to work with, I made things happen, I quickly saw who wanted to be on my team and take risks with me, and had hours of phone conversations that were literally BUBBLING with ideas and excitement. I didn’t have or make the time for anyone who only had doubt, concern, or couldn’t share my vision. If I hadn’t taken chances on myself, I wouldn’t have grown in the particular ways I needed to, as a businessperson stepping out on my own. I wouldn’t have been up at night unable to sleep from the sheer thrill of actively pursuing my dreams. I wouldn’t have seen how so many areas of my life that seemed separate would come together. I would have been on autopilot, tired and drained, day in and day out with the same old routine. You have to take chances on uncertain things because it’s the only way you learn and feel alive. Taking risks is moving forward, which you have to do in life and your career.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been writing stories and illustrating them since a very young age and was always known as an artist in school and among my friends. After college, I worked as a graphic designer and didn’t return to creating art until I started a daily drawing challenge on Instagram in 2015. The account was called @AnnaDrawsEveryDay, I made my friends and family hold me accountable, and I did do a drawing a day for a few years. It wasn’t easy at all, but it was fun; as a result, I got comfortable in my style and created a ton of great work for my portfolio. From there, I was invited to participate in group exhibitions here in NYC, where I expanded my network and began selling my artwork. People started contacting me to do custom portrait commissions and I learned to come up with a more streamlined process, packages, and a pricing structure for custom projects. I recommend that artists put themselves out there at every opportunity they can in the earlier stages of their career, and present themselves as professionally as possible. Have your website, business cards, and online shop all ready when someone asks about your work. Be prepared.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Coyo Taco in Miami. Paris Blues in Harlem.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m dedicating my shoutout to several friends who I’ve ended up working with on creative and professional projects this past year: Zoë Johnson, D’Alessandra Acosta, Laura Cepeda, Romina G. Khan, and Kathy Acosta. Thank you for supporting my art, for believing in me and seeing me, and for envisioning great things together.
© Anna Lustberg