9 am: Lay in bed and listen to some music. Mainly trying to be still before I have to get up (Mainly listening to Big Thief, The Cranberries, and Okay Kaya)
10 am: I try to drink echinacea tea every morning, but sometimes I get the feeling of needing to get out of my home and start my day.
10:30 am: Play around with funky fun makeup looks before I head out (I love working with bright colors around the eyes and massive amounts of highlight to my cheek bones and the bridge of my nose!)
Tell us about the exact moment or period in time when you realized you were born to create.
I was really little, like about 4 or 5 years old. I know it's not actually exact but I remember my grandmother, Baba, would push my brother and I to always paint with her or draw with charcoal from a fire the night before. She always told us anything can be used to make art. She would try to have my other cousins get into it, but I think she heavily invested art time with my brother and I cause she saw there was some sort of spark. Baba saw we were creative, it's just she couldn't pin point our medium/mediums yet.
A lot of women believe they need formal training in order to succeed as a Female Artist. What’s your take? Did you have formal education or are you self taught?
In high school, I mainly just messed around with my camera. Sure, I had some electives for photography but I think I taught myself a lot more than the class taught me only because I continued to play outside of school. So based on my portfolio of me messing around, I was able to get into art school on my own. However, I will say a formal education doesn't hurt and can only help-- for instance, art school taught me how to talk about my work and critique my classmates work to others, how to elaborate further into a project/idea, to really think about install and different options to do so, and professors were able to point out others artists that they thought were relevant to my work. So in short, I'm a big supporter for teaching yourself AND for getting a formal education. I don't think there is no wrong path in this case.
Let's talk about vulnerability. What role has being vulnerable played in your work, success or failures?
I am not extremely vulnerable in my work. There is a type of glass wall I keep between my own personal struggles vs struggles I demonstrate in my work. In my pieces, I try to demonstrate humorous light hearted ways of poking at struggles modern women face as in finding sexual liberation or more information on sexual health, cat calling, being labeled "over emotional", finding self identity/individualism, etc. I don't really explain my own stories or struggles as a woman only because I'd rather have my work be able to touch across more communities instead of just my own bubble.
What is the biggest challenge you've faced as a female artist?
Honestly-- my work getting sexualized where it doesn’t need to be. Yes, my work does play tongue and cheek to sexual innuendos, sex positivity, sexual exploration, and sexual education. However, my work also speaks in a light hearted way gender stereotypes, gender, pop culture, fashion, and anxiety/depression. I am often approached with remarks of sex and lust blanketing my entire portfolio of work when that is just not true. To me it means that particular person is not capable of having a deeper discussion of what I created and are only looking at my work at a very quick glance.
How do you stay motivated?
Most days I go through my day with an idea or the bare bones of a project in my head. Those thoughts don’t leave my head until I actually try to execute the plan. If I don’t try, I end up giving myself a head ache-- my mind feels like it’s trapped in a hamster wheel of thoughts. I stay motivated by driving myself crazy until I try!
What is your biggest focus and/or goal in your career right now? What plans do you have for yourself 1,3,5 years from now?
At the end of 2019 and start of 2020, I was really pushing myself to present my work and show my art in as many shows and exhibitions as possible. I started to do that goal in a big way by having a piece in my first show over seas. And then March 2020 came in, and I had to readjust my view and options. Being confined to my home and not having access to models and other creatives physically in the space, I have made focusing on making downloadable zines of poems and photographs. But for the big future-- I’m really hoping to dedicate a spot to shoot in, cut and paste collages, and write poems: an actual studio. I currently live at home with my mom as I apartment hunt. It would be a dream to dedicate a room for all my creative outlets instead of jumping room to room to avoid getting in other people’s way.
How do you define your creative gig? Full-time career or side hustle? Explain why you’ve chosen one over the other.
I tell everyone that being an artist is my true passion and what I'd love to do as a full time gig if I could. However, I do have it technically as a side hustle since I am not able to pay all the bills with it yet. I work full time to get benefits and things, but that full time gig is to purely pay for necessities and my art career falls right in as a necessity. Part of that full time money is to help fuel my creative gig.
Big or small, what’s the single best money making tip or piece of advice you can share with up and coming artists?
Prints. Always make prints of your work. When I first started in making photographs and collage, I was so used to seeing my images while editing for hours on my computer, or spending days editing and figuring out a layout for my website, or trying to think of a witty Instagram caption to go with my work-- I completely got sick of looking at my work. Thinking like this made me believe my work was not hang on wall material. It wasn’t until I was suddenly flooded by friends and followers that they wanted to know when I would be coming out with prints. So even if you never thought of making your works into prints, definitely get a second opinion.
What specifically gives you the most anxiety when it comes to talking about money? Explain.
Besides the initial worries of making a sustainable living-- an anxiety that surfaces when talking about money with my art is if I’ll be seen as successful by other creatives, family, and friends. Not in the sense of everything being paid for and living within my means, but more the doubt of my work not being valid because it is not my main source of income. It is something I try not to dwell on, however like any other fear or worry it creeps up on you every now and again.
It’s karaoke night and your up. What song do you sing?
Brick House by The Commodores. Hands down lol
Finish this sentence. I find myself most inspired to create when I am…
Working with other artists. From collaborations to workshops, the energy is instantaneously there as soon as portfolios and projects are shared.
Give us three of your favorite/ most inspiring things right now. It could be a book, a food, a destination, a song, a person, etc.
1. Color blocking has been recently been inspiring some of my collages lately-- everything from tattoo designs of color blocking, to interior design wall paint swatches.
2. Big Thief songs in general are really speaking to me at the moment. I’m not sure when that’ll stop, but trying to catch the essence of their songs into visuals has been a soothing practice with self-satisfying results.
3. I’ve also been looking at images and shots from the Rokh Spring 2020 Paris Fashion week show. Especially the outfit of the model carrying the skateboard with the long tulle nude skirt, and neon orange short hair. I guess it kind of covers color blocking from my first answer, and a kind of a modern whimsical look. Either way, this outfit and images of the look have been roaming around my mind.