This month I’m talking to Linda Tieu the designer behind Tortagialla a blog & etsy shop. Linda creates downloadable stationery that you can print so when you need a card, you can print something amazing without leaving your house!
These monthly features of other creative businesses are a way for all of us to get to know these wonderful makers; it has been a long-time interest of mine to explore how other creative people make their way as professionals.
Welcome Linda Tieu!
Before I get to questions, I “know” Linda online where we are in a mutual support group I run.
So Welcome Linda. I love your art which seems to me very sophisticated and innocent at the same time.
Q: Tell us who set you on the path to being the business-owner, designer, you are today.
A: I have to go broad for this question because being an entrepreneur in the visual arts is pretty much the opposite path I could have chosen, given my day-to-day influences at home growing up. I grew up in a large family and being the youngest, I saw all my siblings pick very sensible, practical careers: computer science, banking, investments. I grew up thinking this was the only option, if I wanted to be proper grown-up.
However, my natural curiosities always led me to check out every arts & crafts book in the library and I could only dream about the amazing careers of Mary Engelbreit, Sandra Boynton, Sam Toft… and many other artists. These people created art – funny, cute and seemingly fluffy not serious stuff – yet they made a living and guess what? They are totally grown-ups, too.
I suppose I was very lucky to have been born with a seed of continual optimism within me. I knew it was all possible, even if it was super far from my reality at the time. I went to university to study mathematics and somehow ended up bending it towards computer graphics and studied abroad at a traditional art school in Italy. I found a job as a graphic designer afterwards, so it was a very practical creative option. I knew that I had to take the practical advice of first making sure I could pay the bills, before pursuing other passions.
When I finally had time to explore other career options, I found myself wanting to try everything and anything, just to see what would happen. I tried all kinds of DIY and crafting, but my love for drawing and visual arts was permanent. I rolled up my sleeves and did what I could to keep learning and progressing.
Because of my graphic design background, it was just natural for me to start with a lot of digital artwork. But I soon turned to traditional media and the pencil or pen is really my best friend.
My artwork is introspective about finding meaning in what we do, because it’s always been my struggle. To balance all this practical, proper knowledge with the flight and fancy of artistic sparks and explosions. My most common subject are little girl drawings, most probably because I’m expressing myself through them. However, I also love a light, cheery design to be motivational as well. Since my big influences were always amazing artists who inspired me from afar, I’ve always appreciated the power of how we can nudge someone else into creating and doing something, with just a bit of encouragement. It’s like transferring energy to each other through our work.
I love this photo so much. I wish I did journaling and had an organized place for all the notes and doodles, etc. that I have floating around. I’d love to learn how to do this in a more fun way—I tend to default to office systems which are no fun.
Q: Describe Tortagialla and what drives you.
A: I’m a creative mama living in the rolling hills of Tuscany, Italy although I’m originally from Southern California – total valley girl! I believe that creativity is necessary and ultimately leads to better health. So my goal is to share, connect and open up the opportunity for you to move forward in your wellness journey. Live creative. Live better.
I design printable stationery, from greeting cards to coordinating writing paper sets to journaling cards to patterned paper designs. I love the global reach and instant delivery of digital products. Print what you need, whenever you need it! I hope that my designs help people reach out and connect with their loved ones. Looking to the future, I hope to share more of my creative process and create more products that motivate others to live create and live better.
Printable cards is such a great idea. Just to prove my point, I went to the Etsy shop and downloaded thank you notes! It is really quite a bargain and now I can send that note I’ve been meaning to. Thanks!
Q: Describe a place that is meaningful to your work or how you work or ___.
A: I’m amazingly lucky to have a supportive family and as such, an entire room in our house is my studio for work and play. I love this little attic room, because it gives me a dedicated place to pursue my passions. It’s small, but cozy and there’s amazing light… not to mention it’s great to get away from mom life and noisy kids sometimes, to be able to close the door and shut out the outside world.
I love your space Linda. I’m a little envious it is so tidy and uncluttered. I always love having a mental picture of where people spend their time. Now I can think of Linda Tieu & Tortagialla in this space.
Q: Please tell me what is going on in your business now, and any exciting projects you have going on or coming up. Also here is the place to tell us any other personal things that I didn’t allow you to mention above!
A: I also create works with traditional media in the “fine art” sense, exploring what comes out of me naturally. I always end up wanting to find a bit of practicality in it, because expressive and beautiful imagery can inspire, motivate and make your surroundings better to live in. Art can be decoration, but I also like the idea of having artwork on everyday objects and functional elements of our home, because it is truly a way to blend art and life. My current challenge is working on creating my art with introspective themes and connecting more with the fine art and commercial art community.
As an art lover, I encourage you to continue on this path Linda Tieu!
Find and Follow Linda Tieu & Tortagialla
Find and follow Tortagialla on social media…
Instagram – @tortagialla
Facebook Page – @LindaTieuArtist
Facebook Group – I Heart Printables (just ask to join!)
Pinterest – @linda_tieu
Twitter – @tortagialla
YouTube – Linda Tieu
Etsy – Tortagialla
Happy Print Club
Patreon – Tortagialla
Linda is moving her energies to selling her products through Etsy but look for ideas and products on the Happy Print Club. After you fall in love with Linda’s work, become a supporter on Patreon for peeks behind the scenes.