About

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Hello and welcome!

My name is Brooke Weeber. I'm the artist and storyteller behind this blog. Thanks for coming by! While you're here, I thought I'd tell you a little about my background and give you some insight into how I got where I am today.

And where am I, exactly? All over the place! I currently live in my 2019 self-built Ford Transit van with my dog, Huxley. I run an online shop where I sell prints, stickers and greeting cards featuring my illustrations. I also take photos and write stories. I love working with brands and other kinds of clients to help realize their vision. Sounds pretty dreamy, right? Well, it's been a long and winding road to get here (I'm 40!) and I'd love to share a bit of that process with you.

I grew up in Oregon and was fortunate enough to have parents that encouraged my brother and me to spend a lot of time outdoors. As children, we were taken to the mountains for hiking, on road trips to the beach, and often spent weekends camping around the PNW. I was taught an appreciation for nature at an early age and have carried that reverence with me throughout my life. I was also encouraged as a child to express myself artistically and allowed to foster my creativity throughout my education. I never felt that common pressure by my family to "get a real job." Following my passions was encouraged as I applied for college, and, at that time, I couldn't imagine myself doing anything that wasn't art-focused. So I attended the University of Oregon to get my bachelor of fine art in oil painting. While at University, I traveled abroad, lived in France and Germany, and found out what it was really like to strike out on my own. That was my first real experience away from home, learning to adjust to new adventures in unfamiliar places. It was a defining moment for me. 

After graduating college, I felt directionless. I had no idea what to do with my art degree. I started working at a local bakery in Eugene, OR and quickly discovered I had an affection for pastry. Feeling an itch to reroot myself, I followed my newfound passion and applied for culinary school in NYC. Without much more than a suitcase and dreams of big city life, my two friends and I flew across the country to start over.

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Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

-Mary Oliver

Cheery Blossoms Cake
Cheery Blossoms Cake

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Hamburger Cake
Hamburger Cake

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Kids Shark Cake
Kids Shark Cake

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Cheery Blossoms Cake
Cheery Blossoms Cake

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Living in NYC taught me a lot of things. Like how to work extremely hard and survive paycheck to paycheck in an expensive city. It taught me the skills I needed to excel at my job, make beautiful cakes (see left), work really long hours and constantly rush from one destination to the next. It taught me how to party hard, numb myself and go to work without sleeping. I shuffled onto the subway every day with millions of other people, breathing in polluted air, feeling anonymous and alone. I blossomed in so many ways in that city, but also felt crushed and trapped by crowds and concrete. Ultimately, it was a longing for the greenery and fresh air of the PNW (coinciding with a terrible breakup) that instituted my escape after 4 long years.

During all this city time, I kept on drawing. My friend gifted me an old set of watercolors he no longer needed, and in that small set, I'd found a medium that felt like home. I'd already abandoned my oil paints, deeming them far too toxic for a tiny windowless room in NYC. Watercolors were cheap and they fit nicely into the more illustrative style I'd been practicing since graduating college. 

Once I settled in Portland, OR, I started exploring the idea of showing my work. I spent those first couple years developing my style, creating new art and showcasing it wherever I could; in bars, coffee shops and boutiques. I didn't know it at the time, but I was slowly grooming myself to become a full time small business owner. Once I learned I could sell my work online, in 2010 I opened up an Etsy shop, had my first sale and never looked back. I knew running this store was exactly what I wanted to do. It allowed me the creativity and flexibility I had been longing for.

Meanwhile, I was readjusting to life in the PNW, which meant spending as much time out in nature as possible and making up for lost time. I was hiking, camping and climbing while documenting all my adventures on Instagram. In 2014 I had an itch to challenge myself and strike out solo again. That's when I started to prepare for my first long trail hike on the Oregon portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. This section of trail stretches 455 miles, crossing both desert and mountain terrain. I planned to take the whole month of August to complete my trek. 

Before departing on this wild adventure, Travel Oregon's tourism board reached out to me, wondering if I'd be interested in posting images and stories directly to their instagram account during my month-long journey. And thus became my very first paid Instagram job.

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My Instagram account grew organically over the next several years. Through home ownership and buying my first van, through epic mountain climbs and relaxed weekends camping with friends. During all that time, I kept posting updates and people kept finding me. 

 

It was never my intention to monetize my account. In fact, when I first started working with brands, I still shot photos with my iPhone! But collaborating with outdoor brands I loved and having the opportunity to make lifelong friends with other photographers was an awesome perk to my adventurous lifestyle and one I continue to be extremely grateful for today.

Eventually, I did upgrade to a real DSLR camera. I currently shoot with a Sony A7iii. But that doesn't change much. My original aim to merely document and keep record of my life continues to this day. But as I've grown further into this role, I've found other meaningful narratives I feel called to highlight. I find it more relevant than ever to be authentic, real and vulnerable, and to share not only my stories and struggles, but to help lift up others. And most importantly, I find it imperative to spread messages on environmental and social responsibility.

I have endless stories to share with you, including how I ended up in living in my van full-time during a global pandemic! 
But you'll have to check the blog for more...

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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