WHAT DO YOU DO?
We do stuff like stage designs, photo locations, festivals, special events and graphics. My work includes a lot of logistics planning, some concept drawings, graphics work, and technical drawings if I need to have anything built. By night, I sing jazz at local restaurants, breweries, and more!
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
Everything I could think of. I liked to draw, and took piano classes as a kid, but I went to business school for accounting, and had no experience with the art/music industry, so there was a lot to learn.
For art, I went to conventions and expos, set up meetings with different people in my company to pick their brains. I started taking classes at a place called Concept Design Academy, run by a professor from Art Center in Pasadena. I also take online classes on my own time, and study various art books on drawing and design. In general I look at different art (and photography!), try to analyze it, and study from life as well. It’s been so interesting, and studying art has changed the way I see colors and shapes. Sometimes I even see things that aren’t there! Kidding. I still have a long way to go, but it’s been rewarding to see myself be able to think in different ways and become a better designer. I was never very good at drawing a room, and filling it with objects- but now I can think in a 3D space and whatnot.
In music the process was very similar. I started going out to jazz jams, meeting people, asking for advice, and taking private lessons. Eventually I started getting a sense of how the industry worked, what I needed to get better at, and what I liked. Last year I began taking music classes at a local community college to hone my skills. These included vocal ensembles, musicianship classes, and music theory. The beginning was such a nerve-wracking process because I literally knew zero jazz musicians, and I had to ask questions that now seem rather silly. It was hard and embarrassing trying to figure things out alone, but it taught me a lot of great things about myself. At first I was so nervous and stiff on stage. I could barely eat a few days before a performance. I still get nervous now but it is much more manageable, and I am more confident in my abilities.
In both disciplines I struggled a lot but I learned so much about learning itself, and what might be able to happen if I just continue. So much has changed, and I’ve been able to do things I used to only fantasize about. It’s only the beginning, but hopefully I will be learning for the rest of my life!
HOW DO YOU STAND OUT IN YOUR FIELD?
I’ve been told I have a unique style in both art and music, although that’s hard to see because I am me. I do think I have a unique combination of interests, so whatever I learn, experience, or observe, goes into my art. There is a lot of crossover between my interests in music and art. A lot of what I learn in one subject is applicable to the other, so I suppose it gives me a different perspective on things.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I’m continuing to work on new design projects in order to become a better artist and evolve my portfolio. I study as much as I can. Additionally, I am working on my jazz piano skills so I can accompany myself. It’s so much fun. There is literally so much to learn, and it’s really exciting to see what you can do.
I’d love to build up my Instagram account for both my art and my music. It would be great to have business coming in from that, so I could work for myself.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
My visual style is mostly influenced by 1950s and 1960s design. I love old polish movie posters, and Vogue covers. I’m influenced by fine art because that’s how I first studied art. I like to be minimal but also love bold colors and a more full design. I am hugely influenced by jazz music and poster / album designs of the jazz era from the 1940s to the 1960s. I’m also influenced by some of my favorites, such as Bob Dylan and Amy Winehouse. It’s hard to describe how my musical tastes influence my art, but it does. Because I’m a visual person, when I listen to music, certain scenes and schemes come to mind. Sometimes I use that to inspire me. I also love classic literature, which also often creates visuals in my head. School of Life on YouTube also hits the spot for me when it comes to graphic design, life philosophy, and humor. They are optimistic but tinged with poignant realism. Never snobby. My sense of humor often finds its way into my work- whether it’s the way something looks, my writing, or the way I sing.
WE ALL HAVE MULTIPLE SKILLS OR WORK IN VARIOUS INDUSTRIES, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD FOCUS ON MORE?
Right now I’d love to be able to focus on my musical education and practice more. In general I’d like to have more time to hone my skills- draw more, read more, try out new ideas, etc.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
I’d like more time to focus on becoming a better artist and musician. Every morning I start out my day with 25 minutes of piano, but sometimes I don’t get any more time than that per day for my self-development time. I think my career would be more fulfilling if I could work on my skills and snag projects I am more passionate about.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
I’d probably have them take care of my errands, have them gather the things I need before I set out for the day, little things like that to free up a bit more time. I’d probably also have them help me film and take Instagram photos for me! Wouldn’t mind a conversation or two either.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
I would have gone back to my high school self and told her to follow her passions of art and music, because that’s what I will end up doing anyways. For a while I tried to shoehorn myself into computer science, law, and finance, but I could never kick my longing to be an artist. However, I don’t regret going through business school and doing finance/marketing internships, because I think that gave me a good sense of how most people in the working world operate. It also helped me get my current creative job, since I joined the company first as a financial associate.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
I would talk to Matthew Hussey to gain insight into my dating life. Just kidding! I think I’d like to talk to someone who is much more experienced and older than me, who has experience trying to hold down the business side of life (bills, etc.), but also preserve the wonders of working on one’s craft and exploring. I think it’s difficult for young/new artists when you work so hard and see little gains, because it takes time to develop one’s skills and establish a career. Part of being in the arts is the personal fulfillment of learning and achieving some mastery of your craft. The other part of it is getting paid so you can focus on your craft. When both sides are not very strong, it gets difficult. I’d love to hear some insight and tips on how to deal with life, fulfillment, and career.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
I’d love to do graphic design or illustration project. I can also do scenic projects, for event design. Getting to help out with a cool event, restaurant, or an animated short would be awesome. And if anyone needs a jazz band to play for their event, I can do that!
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
For my personal projects, I’d love to work in a situation where I can talk through my vision and values. I love when me and my partners are on the same page about what we want to convey and can develop the creative together. A lot of the professional projects I’ve done have had crazy deadlines, so there’s often no time to talk about the soulful aspects of why we’re doing something. I totally understand this and don’t mind getting things done in a cinch. However, ideally, there’s time on a project to explore and discover its meaning.
I would LOVE to work with School of Life somehow. I am such a huge fan, and I think I’d do anything for them. Design packaging, help on the videos, anything. I just love their everything.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
My rate depends on the project and its scope. If the project is just a fairly straight-foward graphic design poster, I will charge $75 for the poster. This includes 2 minor revisions.
In general, my day rate is $240, and hourly rate $30.
WHO IS A CREATIVE THAT HAS HELPED YOU ELEVATE YOUR WORK?
There are a lot of people who have helped me elevate my work! Right now I work closely with my regular accompanist, jazz pianist Brian Clemens. I do his event posters, and he teaches me jazz piano.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
I love to start out with a nice email! It delights me in checking my inbox. Aside from information about the project and its scope, I also like an introduction about the client, as it provides great context. A budget would also save time, because that way I can communicate what is possible within that range. Thank you!
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Always learning and filling the well.
This member profile was originally published in August 2019.