We had the good fortune of connecting with Cheyanne Zavala and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cheyanne, what makes you happy? Why?
Creating and being creative has always made me happiest. For as long as I remember, I’ve always been a creative-minded individual. From drawing and doodling in my childhood and adolescence, to eventually pursuing a degree in illustration and design, creativity has always been part of what makes me who I am. Illustration, design, and craft have always been my biggest creative outlets, allowing me to not only express my thoughts and feelings, but even giving me something tangible to commemorate my hard work. In art school, I found that I felt most comfortable in a creative setting, surrounded by and working alongside peers who understood that aspect of my life. After graduating, I find myself relearning how to create outside of an academic setting and falling in love with the process all over again. Creating in any form brings me a sense of comfort and accomplishment; it stimulates my mind and allows me to express my interests and feelings in a way that is unique to myself. Creativity is happiness to me.
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 art can best be described as warm and nostalgic with a handmade touch. I find that it is reflective of the things that I find interesting, namely my culture and deep love for nostalgic floral patterning. Exploring my culture through art and design has been a huge part of what makes it interesting to me as well as what makes me proud. Many people have a preconceived conception of what Mexican art looks like, and I personally enjoy reinterpreting those traditional visuals in my own design language.
Plenty of hard work went into getting me where I am today. The four years I spent at ArtCenter College of Design were notably the most rigorous and rewarding in my journey. While I faced many personal challenges along the way, my time in art school is what defined who I am as an artist. I spent plenty of time searching and experimenting, but eventually I found a strong sense of identity within myself and my art. Nothing worthwhile is ever truly easy, but with a strong drive as well as the support of my friends and family, I was able to overcome any obstacle standing in my way. I’ve dealt with my fair share of doubts and insecurities, but one of the biggest lessons I learned was to trust myself and my experience. Trusting yourself is key to gaining confidence in yourself and your ability. Along with that, it’s important to also be patient with yourself. We’re often our own worst critics, and this can often be exacerbated when entering a competitive academic environment. It’s always important to be kind and gentle with yourself, especially when you’re still developing as an artist.
My biggest goal with my brand is to create something that feels authentically and unapologetically me. I’m a very genuine person, and this is an aspect of myself that I strive to be present in my art. As my journey continues I keep learning and growing, and I look forward to continuing to reflect that progress in my personal brand as well.
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.
As someone who loves spending time in the city, especially Downtown LA, I’d say Little Tokyo is at the top of my list of places to visit. Not only is it a historic part of Los Angeles, there are so many fun shops and amazing food to choose from. I especially love the blueberry matcha latte from Cafe Dulce and the beautifully crafted mochi from Fugetsu-Do. It’s always fun to spend an afternoon strolling both the Japanese Village and Weller Court, where you can find Kinokuniya bookstore and Marukai market.
Another equally beautiful and historic place to visit in the heart of downtown is Olvera St. This small stretch of street is by far the most vibrant in the city. For as long as I can remember, Olvera St. has been so colorful and full of life, a perfect reflection of Mexican culture. A visit there is never complete without having a plate of the delicious taquitos from Cielito Lindo.
Oldtown Pasadena is another location I find very nostalgic, especially after my time at ArtCenter College of Design. It’s a beautiful place to walk around outdoors and window-shop.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my family. Without their constant love, support, and encouragement I wouldn’t be where I am today. Every step of the way, my family has been there. They’ve supported me through the difficult times and celebrated with me in my success. They are another aspect of what makes me who I am, and to them I am eternally grateful.