Guest Blogger: Alisa Neil

Please join us in welcoming Alisa Neil to our FMG guest blogger team. Neil’s art is awesome and a great representation of the #stockshowlife, no matter what medium she uses. 

Thank you Alisa for answering our questions! We think that any of the items she creates would be perfect for any grad — high school or college. Be sure to visit her website for ordering information.

1. Please share a little bit of your background in the livestock industry.
I grew up on a farm outside of Royal in North West Iowa.  My dad never had any boys, so my sister and I from an early age were involved in helping with the livestock and grain farming.  You can ask me all about walking beans and bailing hay?.two jobs which are pretty much extinct these days!
The picture of a grandpa and daughter with the gray heifer
was the cover of the Sullivan’s catalog two years ago
… my dad & my daughter and Elsie.
2. What sparked your interest in art?
My mother was a very creative person so I think some of my talent has come from her.  The creative thinker-problem solver was all my father?.it could always fix something from nothing.  I have since a young age been able to draw and showing livestock was always a part of my life.  The two kind of came together about 15 years ago when I was asked to donate a piece to the Iowa Junior Beef Breeds Foundation to be auctioned off.  From there, it has kind of snowballed.

3. As an artist, where do you draw your inspiration?
I am very fortunate because every day I am inspired by the kids I teach in school.  I love helping them problem solve and come up with ideas.  I also love taking pictures so a lot of my artwork comes from photographs I have taken.
4. What is your favorite part of the process?
I am a very meticulous person, so the funnest part for me is get my mechanical pencil out and dive into a project, working inch by inch across the page.
5. What?s your favorite medium to use? Why?
I truly feel I am a ?jack of all trades, master of none??the perfect art teacher? I think I have tried every medium under the sun, acrylics, oils, airbrush, chalk, pastel, graphite, metal, wood, casting, computer designing & photography.  I still like to go back to a pencil and keep things black and white.

6. When did you begin offering your work for sale? 
My first piece was in February of 1999.  I was asked to donate a drawing for a fund-raiser for a cattle show.  I moved my drafting table into the middle of the living room and set up camp for 14 straight days.  It was entertaining to work through the creative process for myself at night when I spent all day helping my kids with it at school.  The piece bought 650.00 and I was approached to make prints of it.  I sold out of the first 200 and the rest is history. 
7. What makes this drawings and paintings different from anyone else?s? 
I like a unique take on things and am very detail oriented.  Having a very good understanding of the show cattle industry also helps in the fact that I know what people like and would like to see in a drawing, painting or photograph.
8. Do you do custom pieces? 
In the beginning I did a lot of custom pieces but I have a hard time finding the time now.  I am always up for a challenge so if the right commission comes along, I always give it a try.
9. How do you sell most of your work ? through your website, trade shows, craft shows, etc? 
Most of my artwork is sold on our website,  I have also done a couple of trade shows and also keep my work out there by doing trophies for various cattle shows, donating to organizations and my loyal customers through word of mouth. I also besides the Neil Cattle site…have a sister site called which specializes in photography. My end of Totally Twisted Sisters focuses on creative livestock photography and a little of the families/seniors/ little ones…. 

10. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Not very many people can get to love what they do for a living.  I am fortunate to be able to incorporate my artistic side with my livestock side.  My husband and kids both support and enjoy the same passions.
11. Who is your role model?   
I love looking at good photography and am always excited when Legacy Livestock posts new pictures up on Facebook.  I always like her unique eye when taking pictures. 
12. We think one of your pieces would be a great gift for a high school or college graduate, which is your favorite? And why? 
I try to keep everything pretty reasonably priced so people can afford them.  I always lean toward a good pencil drawing or one of my latest projects was the black & white painting on burlap with the silhouette of a heifer and words around it. 
13. Any other “big” projects for Neil Cattle in the near future? 
I am lover of junk : )?.Give me a good flea market or antique show and I am all over it.  I just recently purchased a 100 year old tobacco fence from Europe to make a cattle sign out of.  I am currently teaching a advanced drawing class with my high schoolers and have drawn out a new design to put up on our Neil Cattle site.  Hopefully I will get that done in the next few weeks!  Stay Tuned!
Thank you to Alisa for taking some time out of her busy schedule to do this short interview with us. All of the images featured in this post are examples of her work — a great way to bring your love of livestock indoors and perfect for any home.