Meet Mike Shisler of Drawn There
When I was 13 years old, I decided I wanted to be an architect. In my mind, it was the ideal combination of art and design, rooted in a practical career path. However, shortly after graduation, I found that my lofty dreams of beautiful, hand-drawn renderings and sweeping expressions of artistry were being drowned by project management, construction documents and a desk with hardly a pencil on it. After several years of this, I risked forever losing touch with the other half of of my artistic equation and decided to do something about it. On my 30th birthday, I got a sketchbook and set a personal goal of drawing “something, anything, everyday” for the next thirty years. At first, my sketches were filled with heavy handed hesitation as if my unused skill had atrophied even faster than I anticipated. But slowly, my drawings became more refined and though, still a side project, to balance out my practical days, they developed a unique style and personality. Years passed and sketchbooks filled with one-a-day drawings began to line up neatly on my bookshelf.
Several years later, when my wife and I decided to throw caution to the wind, we began making arrangement to live the #vanlife. By our first wedding anniversary, we would rent out the house, quit our jobs and move into a self-built Sprinter campervan. This was a chance to live on the open road, explore our beautiful country and ultimately, move my art forward as a full-time job. My sketchbook would become a catalog of our journey, a snapshot of America and a way to be the “architect” I always wanted to be.
It took me several months to build a following on Instagram and gain Etsy customers but in short time I’ve amassed hundreds of drawings from every obscure corner of the country and view each day as a new opportunity to see the world through ink and watercolor.
I am an artist who finds unique and beautiful places. I create my art in the moment and onsite giving each piece immediacy and a recognizable sense of place.
Though living each day in a new place inspires my art in unimaginable ways, building a business while living full time in a van certainly has its challenges. In just a few square feet, I have an art studio and print shop that allows me to ship prints and original pieces to customers all over the world.
My business, known as Drawn There is an Instagram and Etsy shop for ink and watercolor art of locations and landscapes all across the country. The name Drawn There emphasizes that each page of my sketchbook was “drawn there” while at the same time I am “drawn” to these unique and inspiring places.
In addition to plein air drawings and paintings, I create custom drawings for clients ranging from architectural renderings to graphic design projects. It brings me so much joy to imagine that my art and my signature are hanging on walls in places I will never know. The art I create will be something they see everyday, the start of a conversation or a piece that will be cherished for a long time to come.
To me, a successful painting is when someone else connects to it, even though it was created from my own desire to recreate the beauty I see.