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Meet the Artist

Welcome to the Kutiefly Cafe!!!

Based on Writing Prompts for Creatives by Aguja y Clavo Jewelry.

Who am I?

This is such a daunting question. Perhaps even impossible to ever fully answer (unless I embark on that book I've always considered writing). But in the spirit of letting go of perfectionism and just starting somewhere... Grab your cafecito because here we go.

I am [literally sitting here for 10 minutes not knowing what to say] from a tiny rural community in northern New Mexico, part of a big hispanic family, a cafecito fanatic, and I rarely turn down an opportunity for adventure. (Speaking of, this next part gets a bit winding-road-like, hang in there.)

It is hard to pinpoint when I decided to be an artist, but I remember always being interested in noticing the details of the world. As kids, we would play outside, using our imagination to live in castles every time we climbed a tree, becoming explorers of exotic lands when we wandered through the hay fields, master craftsmen as we watched our rafts made of sticks and grass float down the irrigation ditches. Every piece of nature could have magical powers, anything was possible, ideas could come from anywhere. I think I still look at the world that way. Living in such a rural place, I learned to be resourceful. We couldn't just stop by the store and pick something up. Need a halloween costume? We could turn this giant t-shirt and old pillow into a pollito (baby chicken). Need a special desk to go to school that one year you broke your leg? We can use this saw horse and leftover wood. I am also living with many health issues, some of which restricted my mobility. So if I wanted to keep up with the other kids, I often had to get creative.

This is getting a bit all over the place, but all this to say, I am a problem solver. Always taking stock of what's available, assessing where I want to end up, and then figuring out how to get there.

Throughout school I was constantly doodling in my notebooks (and sometimes on the desks too...shhh). I found most classes easy because they were usually structured with "find the right answer". A simple puzzle in my mind. So I loved when it was art day, or more often, coloring day. Because everyone got a different answer and they were all right. I loved when everyone felt like they did well. In high school, I was finally able to take several actual art classes. I learned everything from drawing, to calligraphy, to bookbinding. I often think of that teacher when I realize I need to work on fundamentals, she highlighted the importance of building skill through practice. Instead of paying attention in my other classes, I tended to illustrate things for my friends on post-its using gel pens so they could decorate their lockers. Despite that, I also loved math and physics (more puzzles!) so when I attended college in the big city, I intended to study physics. A year in, not only did I learn I had no idea how to study, I also was missing being creative.

On the advice of a friend, I took an Intro to Architecture class and found the perfect blend of my interests: art and math. I loved it. It was finally a challenge I was invested in. The teachers didn't let me coast, the collaborative studio was like a second family, and I was getting to problem solve everyday. It was blend of drafting, crafting, and storytelling. My final year, I got really sick. With a few less credit hours and the help of my family and studio friends, I still graduated, but I needed to pivot my original plan of becoming an architect.

I moved home and took a job in finance. I found ways to input design into my work (goodness I love picking fonts) and really enjoyed the math aspect. The office was in a beautiful landscape, and allowed me to take different art classes (pottery, jewelry making, colored pencil art). A few years later I left that job so I could have a more flexible schedule due to my health issues, and begin taking on freelance projects. Because I now had a versatile background, and I was back in my tiny hometown where most people wear many hats, my work consisted of both financial bookkeeping and graphic design.

The stars aligned for a year, and I was able to be an elementary school art teacher and it is by far my favorite and hardest job I've ever had. I saw around 200 students in two days each week. I only had 45 minutes with each class and was overwhelmed thinking I'd never be able to teach them any art skill in that short of time once a week... Very quickly though I realized that I could teach them how to try. At the beginning of the year, every student just wanted to get the right answer. By the end, they were diving into the projects and experimenting with their own ideas. It was the most amazing thing to witness. (Full disclosure, legit getting teary-eyed remembering it. Also, I was very conservative with the art supplies budget, and there was not a dedicated art room, so we were often in the gym.)

I currently have a few consistent bookkeeping and design projects, and then pick up one here and there if I have the capacity. I also volunteer my services for community events. I'd like to do a bit more personal projects this year, such as surface pattern design, or making crafts for the Christmas bazaar. If you're still with me here, thank you! I feel like I left so much of my story out, but I imagine it peeks out through in my obsession with my "desert whimsy" color palette, my crazy breadth of hobbies, and the lack of consistent posting schedule.

So many little adventures contributed to my artistic journey, showing me how to find inspiration anywhere and everywhere. My college professor used to say "Everything is a design opportunity." and I could not agree more. From how I decorate my house, to the way I prepare my coffee.

Create the beauty you wish to see in the world. Wishing you many moments of inspiration on your journey. Choose kindness and take naps.

ps - I would like credit for resisting the urge to make a detailed outline and taking you through a year by year tour of my life lol

pss - but I did forget to mention that I'm also obsessed with taking pictures of nature

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