BLOG*May 22, 2010

Audrey Miller

Trace Mendoza

I am slated to present an Artist As Brand workshop at the Laguna College of Art and Design, next weekend May 28-30. Like the LAAFA students I interviewed in my recent post, artists have strong opinions whether they are students or not! LCAD students Trace Mendoza and Audrey Miller answered some questions about what they are learning and what is important to them. Audrey was in my Artist As Brand class and you can hear it!

Greg- What do you want to say with your art and why?

Trace- With my art I want to convey to the viewer a distinct image that displays a strong narrative towards any topic, whether it be personal or commission.

Audrey- I want people to know that it’s alright to like a bunch of different things. If you have a style that you’re comfortable with, that’s great but don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new. It’s important to branch out and let others inspire you. If you don’t, your work can get old and lose it’s spunky fire.

G- What are the attributes that make up a great artist?

T- I think there are really two main attributes that make up a great artist. First understanding the fundamentals of producing work and the history of art in all mediums from Oil Painting to Digital imaging. Second would have to be the ethics of the artist. I am ultimately attracted to working with artists that have a “Do it yourself” work ethic.

A couple months ago, my friend Eddie and I recorded a time lapse video of myself using house and spray paint to construct a large image onto a wall. With this video we were able to both promote ourselves with my creative process and also Eddie’s Video editing capabilities. This was done on a extremely low budget and is now promoting both of us all over the internet.

A- A great artist should be someone who respects others and their work as much as, if not more than, he / she respects themselves and their own work. Be proud of your work but don’t get cocky. Stay humble. A great artist always wants to learn more and improve their skills but is also willing to help and teach others. Being an artist Is not all about the individual, it’s about the collective art spirit of the world thriving together.

G- You both have a very pro-active approach to art creation and a holistic view of honoring the collaborative art spirit. What do you think about having a career as an artist?

T- My marketing strategy lately has been to network with Artist, Bands, and various companies to build my portfolio. My ultimate goal besides being a freelance artist is to teach. Eventually as a teacher I feel students will have a lot to gain from my perspective, and with these new artists, will come new inspirations that will keep my artistic fuel going.

A- In short, I plan on selling my art online and at various art shows. From there plan on using profits to open a store / sell my art at other stores. By the end of 5 years I plan on having a full functioning store with staff, a fantastic webpage and I would like to donate a portion of my sales to organizations like the ASPCA and the humane society to help injurred and abused animals find a home.

G- Big plans for large visions! What do you feel you have most learned most from the classes at LCAD?

T- Because my Major is Illustration with an emphasis in drawing and painting and a minor in sculpting, I feel that I have grown as a well rounded artist that is knowledgeable in multiple styles and mediums. Classes lately that have been the most influential are my Illustration classes constructing narratives and understanding the ability to experiment, and my fine art classes which focus on encompassing the figure.

A- The most important thing I’ve learned is that it’s ok to make mistakes. I used to be one of those artists who refused to ever let anyone see my sketchbooks because I was afraid and ashamed of my “bad drawings”. Now, I couldn’t care less because those drawings are just for practice. They’re not supposed to be masterpieces and if you happen to create something good on the first try, be proud but don’t settle for it. Keep working on it to make it something great. They say there will always be someone better than you at whatever you do in the world. I use that phrase as motivation for me to keep growing as an artist and as a person.

I’m disappointed that some teachers at LCAD don’t emphasize that it’s normal to not get something perfect the first time. They’ll tell you to thumbnail your brains out but won’t say it’s ok to be wrong. Some students need to know that. That’s the whole point of school, to make mistakes and learn from them.

G- Can you name an artist you respect who is making a living from their art alone?

A- Michael Phillips is a friend of mine and is a local artist in Laguna Beach. I’ve learned quite a lot from him about what it can be like to be an independent artist and how hard it can be especially when the nation is in an economic rut. He works his butt off to keep doing what he loves. It’s definitely not the best way to become a celebrity over night, but if you’re smart, determined and do what you love to do, you’ll end up where you want to go.

T- Dave Choe is the first artist that comes to mind. He’s got a show going on at Lazarides gallery in Beverly Hills, designs for RVCA and has his own line of vinyl toys. He’s proof that if you work hard enough success will follow.

G- What are your thoughts about Artist As Brand principles?

T- Audrey…

A- Artist As Brand is all about doing what you love to do and making a living from it. Essentially, it’s how to obtain your dream job. Growing up and definitely now as I am soon to join the working world, people always tell me, ” when I was younger I wanted to do this… I WISH I had stuck with it..” I can’t stand hearing that. If you want it so bad, get off your butt and go do it. Take the leap of faith and if you fall, get up an try again. People need to learn how to listen to themselves and learn how to take themselves seriously because those are key to finding out what makes them happy.

Awesome! Trace and Audrey are going to do well especially if they can keep the attitudes and perspectives they hold dear to them now. Thank you both for your time and thoughtful answers. Onward and upward.

To empowerment,

Greg