Trueline Spotlight: The Art of Awareness
Living amidst the restrictions of COVID-19, Trueline Content Coordinator Liz Fallon has had plenty of time for introspection.
With relatable themes of isolation and forces out of her control, Fallon, a Long Island native, has had time to reflect on her days as a college freshman. Back then, she studied in Tralee in southwestern Ireland—a Gaelic-speaking region seemingly untouched by time. It was there she studied the potato famine—also known as “The Great Hunger”—when more than a million people either died or emigrated between 1845 and 1849.
Fallon, an Irish descendent on both sides of her family, sees many parallels between that somber time and now.
“It was a deep dive studying what a huge tragedy can do to a person and a culture—I’ve been thinking about it a lot these days,” says Fallon, who was often taken as a native of the area. “The Irish are known as prolific storytellers, and this is one blackout period, a gap of their history nobody talks about.”
Back in the states, Fallon channeled her experiences in words, and as a visual artist and illustrator specializing in colored pencils, ink and photography at Bradford College in Massachusetts—until the school shut down in 2000. With the closure announced in the fall of her junior year, her choice was to wrap up the year and graduate a year early or transfer and start over in a new school.
Invested in her school, she opted for the former, cramming in 36 credit hours and an honors thesis to graduate with an independent study degree in documentary photography and creative non-fiction.
“It was a very intense learning experience,” Fallon remembers, haunted by her mentor’s advice urging her to take an extra year of college to set herself up for her post-graduate career plan. “I couldn’t see myself doing that, though. I wanted to move ahead.”
After graduation, Fallon came to Portland and fell in love with the city.
“For a while I was spinning my wheels, finding it difficult to focus,” she says of jobs that included wedding photography and designing sets for the local music scene. “My work never paid well, but was a lot of fun,” Fallon adds.
Outside of producing her art on the side, she worked at PureWire Publishing for 10 years starting in 2003 and at Diversified Communications as an IT liaison, helping to balance finance and management, for four years starting in 2014.
“I knew the business inside and out, posing questions to engineers and developers that didn’t always want to talk to me,” Fallon says. “But I was determined to learn what they were talking about; I had to be accountable for my work.”
With an opportunity to work at Trueline in 2018, Fallon made her move—even if it was just across the street. In short order she became a senior content coordinator with Trueline’s tech publication, Toggle, tapping into her aptitude for sales.
“Before coming to Trueline, being encouraged to be myself wasn’t something I was used to. I was never able to do that. It was amazing to be comfortable being myself in a professional environment.”
But things were different at Trueline. Fallon was encouraged to be herself and share who she was while on the phone with clients—as a writer and artist and even allowing her dry sense of humor and sass creep out.
“Before coming to Trueline, being encouraged to be myself wasn’t something I was used to. I was never able to do that,” Fallon says. “It was amazing to be comfortable being myself in a professional environment.”
And it paid off outside work, too, she says, giving her energy to pursue art more fully after hours, and giving her the confidence to purchase a home with her life partner, Troy.
How has the pandemic played into her life?
A city dweller for years, Fallon was accustomed to shopping last minute to whip up a meal. Now, she plans her trip to the store, makes a meal and has become the queen of creatively using leftovers.
“Many things have shut down on me in my life: my college and customer service jobs closed. For a while I expected everything to end,” Fallon says. “The beauty now is having a plan and a way to make things happen. Even if something isn’t perfect, I now know the value of leaving enough space to create something.”
First Rock Concert: Tiffany, at age 6, and she remembers New Kids on the Block as the opening act.
Bucket List: Her own private studio with electricity and running water.
Favorite Band: She’s a huge Tool fan and has seen them in concert three times.
After the pandemic: Wants to go to the Big Apple to see family and go out to dinner for a really nice meal.
Last pet: Winston, the rabbit.
What she reads: Non-fiction on constitutional scholarship and U.S. history; Midnight in Chernobyl.
What you’d never guess: Liz is related to tennis legend Chris Evert, but hates tennis. Also, she comes from a long line of artists—her great uncle worked on design for the Campbell Soup account on Madison Avenue.