We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Menendez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, what role has risk played in your life or career?
“Just being an artist is a risk.” I kept those thoughts with me since high school, thinking whether I should pursue a career as an artist. Though no matter how high the risk, there’s nothing stopping me from preparing myself for that long journey I was willing to take. In early 2020, after losing my last job as an art teacher to covid I took a risk to go ahead and start doing commissions as my primary source of income. Before I did I planned and planned for several nights, thinking and strategizing how I can make a success in commissions so suddenly. I wanted to take a risk and just start being my own boss. I knew no matter how difficult the idea sounded, I could still come up with a plan. Now I’ve gotten over 200 orders and counting as of June of 2020. At the moment, I am a freelance contractor illustrating for a medical company that helps medical students learn through my illustrations. If I had not taken that risk of relying on my art to make money, I would have not gotten the expertise of working with numerous clients quickly and becoming an official freelance artist for starters.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a cartoonist, my work is humourous and strives to make people from kids to adults laugh! My work is outrageous, unpredictable and has a nostalgic cartoon feel but with a more modern twist! I get so excited drawing silly things from cartoon dogs to women riding on the shoulders of men trying to balance on a flaming barrels! Though I draw the most silly things, I take my art very seriously! Vigorously learning new skills and reading old cartoon books to push my art to be more extreme! In my illustrations and comics, I’ve learned to keep pushing your designs, even if you think it’s ‘fine’ the way it is! Through the years, as I’ve gotten to establish my style I’ve accepted to just express my own crazy thoughts and ideas onto paper. I draw what I like! And what I like is silly and makes me smile! I want everyone to be able to feel that or at least be mildly confused! I also make sure I surround my workspace with a lot of color and anything that makes me smile! Especially if I’m going to work at home, it outta be look the way I want!
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 you haven’t explored much of crazy LA a good place to start is Southern part of LA, Long Beach! I grew up in that part of the city and there’s so much to explore! Most definitely a great art center! A great day can start by taking the transit, (if going solo, headphones helps start start mental concert!) and head towards 4th street! There’s so many cool shops to explore on that street from vintage clothes to coffee shops! Walk more and I’ll have to go inside the store Fingerprints. A music shop where I buy my cassette tapes (still use that!) and explore new music in there! It’ll probably be lunch time so there’s plenty of places to grab a quick sandwich or slice of pizza! From there you can go to the beach, movies at the Pike, dinner at Padres for a drink, and man there’s almost too much to do! Can’t go wrong with good o’ Long Beach!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout must go to my family for not only their loving support in what I do, but also influencing me to make the best decisions! My family have always encouraged me to pursue anything with caution and fully prepared. They give me that business perspective I’ve grown to develop. I like to describe myself as creative but with a CEO personality, and I have my family to thank for that! It’s also good to be surrounded by people that are different from you so you can be inspired by their character and stories and that helps create new ideas! So loving thanks to my Ma. Pa, and my ultimate sister!