Ilse Valfré and Donald Eley: How Love of Drawing Became a Global Brand

Ilse Valfré and Donald Eley: How Love of Drawing Became a Global Brand

How do you turn your passion into a successful business? When Los Angeles-based artist and entrepreneur Ilse Valfré was just 22-years-old, she started a Tumblr blog that would propel her from preschool teacher to internationally sought-after artist.

Donald Eley and Ilse Valfré share their magic formula for a successful creative brand.

Today, fans of her brand, Valfré, include Jessica Alba and Emma Roberts, as well as millions of girls and young women around the world. In this episode of our podcast, NOT REAL ART founder and publisher Scott “Sourdough” Power sits down with Ilse and her husband, Donald Eley, to discuss how they built a family business while raising two children. You’ll gain insight into the challenges and rewards associated with building a successful brand in today’s tech-savvy world and learn about Ilse’s passion for drawing. We also touch on the importance of starting a creative business while you’re young, establishing a strong community to rally around you, and what it takes to forge your own path.

Prompting young artists to view hardships as gasoline for their creative fire, Ilse believes the challenges she’s endured shaped her success for the better. Her quirky, irreverent characters reflect this philosophy, smirking in the face of adversity even as tears fall from their eyes. A modern-day internet success story, Ilse urges creative entrepreneurs to follow their passions, jump in with both feet, and make mistakes—you never know what might happen! We also dive into the Web 3.0 and NFT world, where Ilse and Donald have created Valfrélandia, a collection of 600 unique, hand-drawn NFT artworks

Though Ilse credits her success to the incredible community she’s managed to build online, it’s the artist’s sunny disposition and relentless optimism that propels her work into the wider world. In today’s episode, Donald and Ilse share their magic formula for modern success as they reflect on what it’s like to have over a million followers in their community: “It keeps us inspired.”

New Book By Katie Love

From Cult To Comedy, A Memoir, by Katie Love

Author Katie Love: The Comedian Turning Heartbreak Into Humor [Podcast] coverThe year is 1970. The horror soap opera “Dark Shadows” is all the rage, the Vietnam War is raging and nine-year-old Katie, an imaginative and independent latch-key kid, comes home from school to discover her mother’s suicide.

Taken in by her older sister who has recently become a Jehovah’s Witness, Katie is shown an illustration from a bible picture book featuring wild animals peacefully lounging by a pool of water, surrounded by happy people picking fruit. An enticing offer is made: “Katie, this is Paradise. Do you want to see Mom again, happy and living forever? All you have to do is follow all of Jehovah’s commandments and you can be with Mom again.”

Mom happy and living forever? Two tickets to Paradise, please!

So begins Katie’s zealous quest to attain perfection and entrance into a utopian world which promises peace, love, and happiness. She discovers a much darker world. “Two Tickets to Paradise, from Cult to Comedy” tells the hilarious and heartbreaking story of an earnest, bible-toting kid intent on saving the world, and follows her metamorphosis into a boisterous comedian intent on saving herself through the healing powers of humor.


“Sometimes, not fitting in a box is your superpower, because it makes you create your own doors and your own paths.” — Ilse Valfré

Scroll through a few of Ilse’s fun designs before listening to the podcast here or on the player above.

‘Cow Babe’

Valfré: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Purchase NFTs

Scott "Sourdough" Power

Scott “Sourdough” Power is the the creator and executive producer of NotRealArt.com. He is also the co-founder of Crewest Studio a digital media company in Los Angeles dedicated to creative culture and the $2T creative economy.