an interview with... Kara Haupt

Kara Haupt is an art student living in Portland, and she 'calls herself a blogger, designer, photographer, online shop owner, online art journaling/scrapbooking/photography teacher, a contributing writer, an intern and online assistant' who also 'pretends to be charming at a retail job a few days a week.' And still, amongst all those commitments and all that work, she's a genuinely lovely and incredibly creative person. I emailed her the other week about an interview here, and below are her answers on topics ranging from art journalling to supporting yourself to George Clooney. It's good stuff.

indie & chic lovin'
You're a full-time student, and you run a popular blog & online courses and you do design work too--and you've just turned twenty! That sounds like a lot of work for someone so young. What made you so dedicated to start making a living through creative pursuits and filling your world with art?

Hmm, great question! I don't know, I see a lot of my peers who seem unhappy by merely surviving (okay, I say surviving loosely) in whatever study or job they feel like have to stay in. I really want to spend my days, my life, and my energy doing something that excites me and teaches me instead of settling for whatever. I have things I want to do that require financially supporting myself, whether that be living in apartment, saving to pay off student loans, or saving up for traveling once I graduate. Those are all things I really want and I am very lucky that I can use all my skills to support those endeavors. I push myself and drink more coffee and freak out a lot over all the things I try to do, but knowing that I have a life of creating ahead of me instead of a life in a cubicle, pushes me forward.

make someone happy cry. done.

You seem extremely motivated, working towards big goals like your 'forty before twenty' and releasing various art journalling courses. What spurs you on to work so hard?
Well, I know I am really lucky. I read this quote by George Clooney once (stay with me here!) where he was talking about lucky he and other actors are to get to do what they do. Though the hours are long and it takes talent and dedication, he knew he was very lucky to have the job he did. He said he had sold insurance or something once and THAT was a shitty, hard job. And that he was very lucky and he and other super successful actors shouldn't complain about what they get to do. I feel that way. I am SO lucky to have had the opportunities, avenues, and support to pursue what I have and though it's emotionally exhausting because of how personal my work can be, I know I'm a lucky person. How awesome is that I get to do something I love and am good at and get paid for it? Knowing that makes me want to work harder and cherish these opportunities, because so many people don't have them or don't try to have them. The hours can be long and I get frustrated or too attached or dissapointed plenty, but it's still really awesome. Plus I am a pretty awesome boss.
Also, I am kinda immature and want to prove to some people in my life that I can and will support myself with an art degree or without their help. ;)

rainy day disposable camera

Is there a particular project or goal that you've met that has been especially important to you?
Over the last year I've really been able to grow my blog I Just Might Explode into something that's really satisfying for me. I moved IJME to Wordpress last year w/o transferring over Google Reader or Blog Lovin' followers and now it is starting to do really well. When I bought that domain, I knew almost nothing about the technical behind the scenes stuff of hosting, Wordpress, etc... I've been able to learn a little about web design and also start my portfolio site and classes sites on their own domains with their own "branding". I've come a really long way in just one year and that is SO satisfying. Since that happened, I discovered how I liked to blog, to photograph, and even to live my day-to-day life. That "growing up" has been really encouraging as a young artist. 

art journal all year long

What's your favourite thing about art journalling; is there any specific reason that it's your preferred 'artistic expression',  over things that can be thought of as more 'professional' like painting on canvas or simple sketchbook work?
Art journaling is very comfortable and familiar for me. You see, scrapbooking and art journaling started it all. I was NOT an artistic child/teenager and it wasn't until I tried scrapbooking and then hated everything I created for almost two years, and then finally "found" it did I realize I was an artist. The design intuition I cultivated because of scrapbooking is absolutely invaluable. Physically pushing paper around a somewhat-limiting "canvas" of an 8.5x11 sheet of paper is a great way to understand design and space. Art journaling has always been intensely personal to me because of the emotional shit I worked through because of it. It's a familiar way to destress and think.

publish a zine. done.

What advice would you give to other artistic young people who want support themselves through making and creating?
Start NOW. I answered in another interview recently that if you have the opportunity to get your feet wet now without the pressure of financial ruin because of it, do it. I am so grateful I began blogging and working for myself in high school, because I was able to experiment and make mistakes without worrying about paying rent for the next month. A lot of people don't have that luxury, so take advantage of it if you do. You do not have to make money from it. In fact, I recommend not trying to make money in the beginning. Learn, experiment, and learn as many possible skills as you can. I can assure you that you will be a better photographer if you practice drawing, or a better blogger if you know how to photograph or know minimal HTML/CSS. Plus, you will be a more desirable future employee if you have multiple skills and concentrations. 


  1. Being an artist...I LOVE this post!!! Yay! :)

  2. Very inspiring interview - love it!

  3. This was so inspiring to me. Loved this post!

  4. so fantastic! i love this. will definitely be using it for reference in the future!

  5. this is phenomenal!

  6. ah, so very inspiring. I hope to live the way she does.

  7. i love this. she's so inspiring.


  8. this is so inspiring and a really great interview. i love it.

  9. I loved this interview. She's a very inspiring young lady. :]