Fresh off finishing a 95-foot mural on the side of a Janesville school, Emily Balsley [BFA ’01] shares her biggest projects, her proudest accomplishments, and the advice she’d give any aspiring artist.

UpNorthNews Editor Christina Lorey: How do you describe what you do?

Artist Emily Balsley: I am an illustrator, muralist and maker living in Madison, Wisconsin, who makes colorful, quirky, character-driven art.

What’s the best part of your job?

I love being able to connect with people through my art. Whether it’s a father and son reading one of my illustrated books at bedtime, or engaging with an elderly couple while I am painting one of my murals, these small moments fill me up.

What’s the hardest?

Painting murals means I am away from home for long periods of time. Although I love creating murals, I miss my family!

What’s the biggest mural you’ve ever painted?

I recently finished a 95-foot mural next to a school playground in Janesville, Wisconsin [St. Mary School].