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Woman at Work: Lisa Congdon, Artist & Illustrator

Always rocking her look: Lisa in Camper crocs, Swedish-style sweater, and Dovetail DX Bootcut jeans in Blue Sky Denim

How did you originally get introduced to Dovetail?

I first heard of Dovetail back in 2019, and was invited to the headquarters here in Portland to get fitted for some denim pants. I fell in love instantly!

Always rocking her look: Lisa in Camper crocs, Swedish-style sweater, and Dovetail DX Bootcut jeans in Blue Sky Denim

What kind of work were you doing at that time? And now?

I was – and still am – a full time artist. I run a studio in Portland, Oregon, where I make illustrations for clients, paint, draw, and prepare for exhibitions. The studio also serves as the warehouse and fulfillment center for my online shop. I also have a storefront in the Cargo Emporium in Portland. As part of my art practice, I also paint murals, teach and do some public speaking.

Another mural on the walls (at the Community Cycling Center in Portland, OR)! Lisa in ear-to-ear smiles and Dovetail Ultra Light Freshley Overalls in Lichen Green Ripstop

Tell us something dirty: share the tale of your nastiest job/project.

I paint a couple large murals a year, and they are always the messiest! You are never near a sink, and when you paint with large brushes (and lots of dripping paint), it’s really hard to keep your hands clean. I tend to just wipe them on my overalls, and so I have several pairs of Dovetail overalls that are covered in paint. I love how the paint doesn’t wash out. My overalls are a record of different palettes, massive creative endeavors, and every emotion I have when I am making large scale work.

Lisa’s ripstop Freshley overalls paint a portrait of many passions and palettes.
Lisa’s ripstop Freshley overalls paint a portrait of many passions and palettes.

What do you have to sacrifice to be good at what you do?

I never really think about sacrifice at this point in my life, because I love what I do so much, and I have gotten to a place in my career where I get to choose to work on things I feel good about, and will likely enjoy.

When I was younger and first starting out, I sacrificed a lot of my sanity to kickstart my art career – I literally had no boundaries around work! But that has really shifted. I am also an extremely disciplined person by nature – I love doing hard things and challenging myself. I am also a competitive endurance cyclist, and spend most of my time outside the studio on my bike – more evidence for my love of pushing through discomfort. So maybe I sacrifice a little comfort?!

What are the top five things that are always in your pockets?

My phone, brushes, pencils, airpods, snacks.

How do you encourage other women to start doing what you do?

I am fortunate to have a large platform on social media, and it’s part of my mission to demystify the art world for other people who want to get into it, especially women, trans and non-binary folks of color. I run an organization with my friend Emily called The Long Table Collective that mentors several emerging artists of color a year.

Lisa & Dovetail co-founder Sara chatting about the inspirationsbehind our collaborative bandana

Let’s get deep. Workwear specifically by and for women—what does it mean to you, how does it affect your life, and why is it important, philosophically?

We live in a world where *traditionally* nearly everything has been designed by men for men, even things that are meant for women’s bodies. I am lucky as a painter that I can wear whatever I want to work (for most projects I really just need an apron and for some things I don’t even need that), but I also appreciate having clothing that makes my some of harder, messier work easier; like pockets and insulation, that are made for my body.

In practical terms, Dovetail Workwear is great for me, and it’s great for other people born into women’s bodies who do physical work. Philosophically speaking, it’s also incredible when I get to be part of, support and advance the mission of a female founded company whose mission is so aligned with mine.

Follow Lisa on Instagram @LisaCongdon

Get a limited-edition Lisa Congdon’s Pocket Pop Bandana by Dovetail Workwear here.

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Dovetail Workwear Disclaimer: We are not the boss of our Women At Work! They say it their way and wear it their way.