We had the good fortune of connecting with Cathleen Abalos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cathleen, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I first started to exhibit at conventions as an artist, it was mainly to get my artwork and my name out there and to network to find work in the animation industry. I didn’t realize that selling my artwork would become a separate entity entirely.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My artwork is mainly inspired by the everyday moments in life and experiences that I’ve shared with others and places that I have traveled to or want to travel to. I enjoy drawing everyday scenes and elevating them through lighting and color, giving them a mood or a magic feeling that people can relate or connect to. I also grew up with Disney, anime, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and a lot of other elements of pop culture, so that is reflected in my work as well. I did a weird circle getting to where I am today. I started off going to an art college for animation. By the time I graduated, I had a bachelor’s degree in art and a focus in illustration and storyboarding. Afterwards, I owned and managed a donut shop and didn’t really focus on art during those years. After I left the shop, I started teaching for an after school art program as a drawing and sculpting teacher. I also got back into creating art and started submitting work to gallery shows. I also started selling work at pop up events and later, conventions. Then I joined the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles and I volunteered in their events and met a lot of friends through that organization. I was also able to meet a lot of people at the conventions and gallery shows that were able to give me great advice on how to promote my art and further my career. At the time, I was just trying to figure out what else I can do to get my art out there and how to get more freelance work as an illustrator; I wasn’t trying to further my art business or create a brand for my art. My art brand kind of evolved from exhibiting at the conventions. There were so many artists that had turned their art tables into small shops and they weren’t selling just art prints. They were selling their art as t-shirts, tote bags, etc. That inspired me to do the same with my art style. Once I started doing more conventions, I started getting more freelance work and making more sales through my online shop. I’m now trying to balance my small art brand as well as taking on freelance illustration projects. It feels like a juggling act between freelance and my small business, but I love the fact that I’m able to work on fun projects and also create my own artwork.
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.
If my best friend was visiting the area and it wasn’t Covid, I’d take them to old town Pasadena. I spend a lot of time in Pasadena drawing in coffee shops and hanging out with friends in the area, so it holds a special place in my heart. I would take them to Amara because they have amazing chocolate lattes and churros (all their food is delicious), and then grab sushi at Sushi Stop or Little Sheep’s hot pot if it’s a cold day. Then we’d grab ANOTHER coffee (since I’m a coffee fiend) but go to Home Brewed Bar since they have amazing coffees as well (they have the most amazing peanut butter chocolate lattes). We’d probably check out the Norton Simon museum for some art inspiration or go to the Huntington Library and explore the gardens. Afterwards, we would grab dinner and drinks at Congregation. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would dedicated my shoutout to my sister/booth partner/sometimes manager Casandra Abalos and to my love, Peter Bean.
Other: Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/cathleenabalos
Photos by Casandra Abalos