We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrea Campos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrea, why did you pursue a creative career?
I pursued an artistic career because at my core I’m a creator. I’ve always loved bringing things to life, and using my imagination to build something out of nothing. Now I wish I could say that I picked up a pencil as a kid and never stopped drawing but that wasn’t the case. Life got in the way, and as a first generation kid I had to start my artistic career in a less than traditional way.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In January 2020, I decided that it was time to leave the corporate world and focus on my creative pursuits. At that point, I had been moonlighting as a creative director and photographer on nights and weekends for years, and I knew that it was something I was meant to be doing full time. But I was scared… would I make enough money? What if I got no new clients? Could I actually do this? The realist in me was drowning in fear, but the little voice inside of me had grown too loud to ignore. So I stopped second guessing myself and took action, resigning from my day job and pouring my heart into what I loved doing: photography, art direction and design. It’s hard to explain how liberating it felt — I was excited, I felt free, and I knew in my heart that I was doing the right thing.
Then, weeks later, the pandemic hit, and the world came to a screeching halt. California shut down and every single project and campaign that I was set to work on disappeared. Like *millions* of other people around the world, I became unemployed overnight.
The feeling was surreal, I remember thinking ‘what now?’ My creative future in March 2020 looked bleak, and I wasn’t sure what to do next. For a while, I did nothing.
You see, I had been coming out of a pretty traumatic work experience, where I had witnessed and experienced prejudice firsthand. It was the single most challenging time of my career, and it took a lot out of me. So I decided that instead of worrying, I would take a month off to focus on me and my health and do what I could to make my unemployed quarantine experience pleasant. I read, went on socially distant walks, watched Netflix, worked out and I drew. And drew and drew some more.
Drawing had always been something that I loved growing up, but as my work commitments began to grow I had put it on the back burner. Maybe it was the familiarity of it all, or the fact that it felt like a safe place (ahem — art therapy much?), but I started to dedicate hours and hours a day to drawing. And somewhere along the line, desperate for human interaction, I started to share my work on Instagram.
My drawings came from the heart, they hit on the anxieties and uncertainties of the early Covid times through humor. They were my visual diary. Tiny little sketches that perfectly captured the feelings that I was feeling at the time — and there were many.
Friends started to follow along, then their friends started to follow, and after a few months something incredible happened — I had thousands of folks tuning into my illustrations. My work was connecting with people in a deep and meaningful way, and it completely changed my life.
Today, I can confidently say that I am a professional illustrator, a thought that would have not even crossed my mind in January of 2020. I have multiple children’s books in the works, and have collaborated with incredible folks like Jimmy Fallon and Jennifer Lopez. And the best part is: I love what I do.
I still have a lot to learn – but even now, It’s amazing to look back on the past two years and see just how much is possible when we drown out distractions and listen to our inner voice. At times, it feels like my inner voice knew that this would be the right path for me. Sure it was probably hoping that I would create these boundaries on my own, but hey, sometimes you just need a global pandemic to push you out of your comfort zone to create something that is all your own.
Life’s too short not to follow your heart. I’m living proof of what’s possible when you stop following others and start letting your imagination run wild.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh there is so much I’d want to do! But here is my ideal LA Summer Day
Start the morning with a hike. Ideally something with some nice views like Los Leones. Then once you’ve built up an appetite make your way to Santa Monica for some incredible Sidecar donuts.(The Huckleberry is my fav) or Superba if you want a bigger brunch experience.
For lunch I’d recommend checking out Chinatown – there are so many great food spots there. I’m a big fan of the eats at Far East Plaza. Not only will you find great food there, but there’s also a cookbook bookstore (Now Serving) that is so fun to shop at.
And finally, I’d cap off the day by stopping at my favorite grocery store, grabbing some goodies and making my way to Hollywood for a cinespa movie screening. Which I think is a MUST do if you find yourself in LA during the Summer/Fall.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Grandfather moved from Mexico to the U.S. in search of the American Dream. He wanted to provide a better life for his family, so for nearly 30 years he worked two jobs: as a waiter and train mechanic in Chicago. My grandfather was also the most talented artist I knew, but never got the opportunity to pursue that as a career. He passed away this year, and I’d like to dedicate this to him, and all of the many talents that he’s given me.
Instagram: @dreasdoodles @andrea.x.campos