The Daring Interview Series: Meet Kal Barteski

11.3 UPDATE: Congrats to TAMARA (1), TRICIA B (1), KARI E (2), and ABBY J (3)! You won posters from the amazing Kal!

I started this interview series because I wanted to know more about the people who share their work with the world and inspire me to show up, be seen, and live brave.

Kal Barteski is one of those people. Meet Kal!


Kal is an artist and brush script painter. Sometimes called an illustrator and poet, she’s a creative rogue.

She cares deeply about intellectual property online. She is a TEDx speaker, a published author + winner of a Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She was featured on Animal Planet/Discovery. She is curiously entertaining and inspiring.

Always a work in progress, she has a deep, hard-to-understand love for polar bears – for all living creatures. Her passion is palpable. She sells her paintings internationally and uses her signature brush script style to make magic with beautiful companies all over the globe. Her always changing ARTshop can be found here.

I fell in love with Kal and her work when I saw these prints on her blog. I immediately ordered two for my kids and several more for the kids’ teachers.


The Giveaway

To celebrate Kal’s contributions and DARING in this world, I’m giving away five posters. Just leave a comment telling us what your poster would say and we’ll pick five winners on Friday, November 1 (which happens to be the last day Kal is taking orders for these)! If you can’t wait, order them here! 

Kal on Vulnerability and Courage in the Arena

Creativity, innovation, and truth-telling can feel very vulnerable in our scarcity culture which is why we often feel deeply inspired when we see it. We’d love to know more about how you find the courage to share your authentic self and your work with the world.

1. Vulnerability is ___________________.   A superpower. It’s a true feat to be able to say ‘this is me unarmed’. This is my truth and my story. I’m afraid and and I’m awesome and I’m small and I want love. I think it’s transformative and freeing to be vulnerable. Life is too short for carrying around heavy bags.

2. What role does vulnerability play in your work?  BIG. HUGE. I’m an all-in kind of person. I tell the truth. I feel deeply. I leave my heart on the canvas. I feel scared and safe when I’m painting. It’s a rollercoaster I love riding.

I’ve been making art since I was a kid and I’ve run the gamut of fears. I used to be afraid to let people see my work until it was complete. I used to hide… Criticism stings and MAKING art is showing your insides. SHARING art is asking the world to like your insides. But in the end, I love making art MORE than I’m afraid of anything else. So I run wild with that.

3. What value inspires you to show up even when you’re fearful and/or uncertain? I feel like fear is the secret ingredient that makes things magical. Awesome. I listen to fear. You can be talented and creative and all those pretty things – but it’s a life-changing affair if you feel the fear and you go out to meet it. I love that feeling. I see it happen in my kids. I feel it happen in my own life. Kid President says it best, “Go out and be awesome.”


4. What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity and how do you move through it? Time, fear, doubt – all of the above. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I move through the big waves by going deep. I turn off my thinking and turn up my doing. It works every time.

5. It’s often difficult to share ourselves and our work with the world given the reflexive criticism and mean-spiritedness that we see in our culture – especially online. What strategies to you use to dare greatly – to show up, let yourself be seen, share your work with the world, and deal with criticism?   I’d be lying if I said that mean-spirited people online don’t affect me. Sure they do. In life and in pixels, there will always be haters.But, maybe the haters always show up because it’s easier to bring other people down than to be brave themselves.

I don’t know those answers. I only know that I deal with my share of criticism: I’m an artist and it comes with the territory. I’m a working mom. I’m a person who speaks her truth. I’m alive. I’ve learned that life is like figure skating: you take the high scores and the low scores and THROW THEM OUT. You average the rest, take it with a grain of salt (maybe a shot of tequila) and keep on loving.

6. Describe a snapshot of a joyful moment in your life.  That’s an easy one for me. I’d be outside and it would be WINTER. Bundled up in my cable knits and tall winter boots, I’d be walking in the glittery snow on the frozen river with a hot coffee in my mug, my rad husband pulling a sled with our three little rosy-cheeked girls and our two crazy French Bulldogs racing through the snowbanks. That’s magic right there.

7. Do you have a mantra, manifesto, or favorite quote for living and loving with your whole heart? I have a bookful! Make your life worth loving. Be Awesome. BE who you ARE.


Now, for some fun! 

I borrowed these questions from James Lipton, host of Inside the Actor’s Studio.

1. What is your favorite word? didgeridoo
2. What is your least favorite word? stupid
3. What sound or noise do you love? a capella
4. What sound or noise do you hate? barking dogs
5. What is your favorite curse word? I’ve been known to drop an F bomb or two.

A few fun questions:

1. A song/band/type of music you’d risk wreck & injury to turn off when it comes on the radio? I really, really dislike the ambient-type music they play in spas.

2. Favorite show on television? Orange Is The New Black.

3. Favorite movie? Blue Crush.

4. What are you grateful for today? Besides my healthy little family I’m grateful to be able to hold a paint brush. And for coffee.

5. If you could have anything put on a t-shirt what would it be? STOP, drop and BE AWESOME.

6. Favorite meal? Is red wine a meal? Haha. Sushi.

7. A talent you wish you had? I wish I could surf.

8. Favorite song/band? If it makes me want to DANCE or cry – I like it.

9. What’s on your nightstand? The World of Polar Bears by Norbert Rosing, Burts Bees lip balm, a letterpress manual, and a pair of mitts (hey, this is Canada).

10. What’s something about you that would surprise us? I love old school hip hop. Like REALLY, REALLY love. I blast old school hip hop through my headphone and dance my butt off. I think I could be a pretty solid backup dancer. (You hear me JayZ?)

From Smith Magazine’s Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs from Writers Famous and Obscure

Your six-word memoir:   She never stopped hearing her heart.

Huge thanks to Kal! Don’t forget to leave your comment for the giveaway.

Here’s how you can connect with Kal:  Twitter @kalbarteski | Instagram @kalbarteski | Web

Now, stop, drop, and be awesome. 


Leave a Comment

  1. I would LOVE a copy of the Life Organizer!

  2. Maria Mendoza

    Maria Mendoza

  3. Ashley

    Can’t wait to read it!

  4. Sanne

    Great interview! Looking forward to reading more interviews. 🙂

  5. My poster would say:
    No Fear
    No Whining

    As this is my mantra for my life. Not that I don’t have fear – I feel the fear but do it anyway. And I don’t speak “whine”. Or wine for that matter. Thanks for sharing this amazing artist with us. I do hope you’ll check out my website and let me know what you think of my glass art.

    Leslie Lowdermilk

  6. Pingback: Quote: Life is like figure skating | Thoughts by Teng

  7. Sandy

    You are

  8. Catherine mumford

    Isabelle you are my angel

  9. Tricia Perrier

    Your spirit adores you

  10. Angel Hager

    My girls
    You are Enough

  11. Ohh it’s late to participate, on 1st November was my birthday… better luck for next time… kiss Lilian

  12. D.F.

    I AM!

  13. D.F.

    I AM

  14. JP Goodchild

    Be where your hands are.

  15. Lisa

    Thank You

  16. Jessica

    Mine would say

    You’ve totally got this