We had the good fortune of connecting with Heidi Moreno and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heidi, can you tell us about an impactful book you’ve read and why you liked it or what impact it had on you?
Reading Hannah Shaw’s book Tiny But Mighty, really reinforced my desire to help community cats. I love how she uses her social platforms to advocate for the most vulnerable animals. She has definitely inspired me to also advocate for cats through my art and my social media!
Cats and animals in general have always been something that I deeply care for. Growing up around cats in my home really enhanced that love for them early on in my childhood. So naturally I enjoy illustrating these curious creatures as magicians, bakers or ordinary house cats in my work. A few months ago a community cat in my neighborhood showed up to my house and we started feeding him and named him Charko. I learned about the importance of TNR (trap/neuter/return) and decided to help Charko. By using a humane trap, you trap the cat, neuter/spay, vaccinate, ear-tip (universal sign that a cat has gone through the process of TNR) and later return the cat back to its neighborhood after it has recovered from surgery. I recently completed my first TNR successfully and couldn’t be happier! Days later, I had two more cats that ended up in my life, which of course I also helped out. I fostered one, found his forever parents and the other one I reunited with her original rescuer after contacting them thanks to the microchip. Experiencing the magic of changing one cat’s life forever for the better, has increased my love for them and also my dedication to help stop the growing population of homeless cats. I worked closely with my local TNR team in my city which really helped with local resources. In return, I created work to raise funds for their TNR team. It is essential for me to try my best to educate my neighbors and use my social media to express the importance of how we can all help community cats. A portion of my sales go to help donate to local cat shelters and also feed my community cats!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I generally paint most of my work traditionally using watercolors, color pencils, some gouache and ink. Although digital work is very handy and so convenient, I can’t seem to reach the same therapeutic state as I do with real paintbrushes. Texture is something that I love to include in all my work because I love how it adds more depth and diversifies the look. I usually describe my work as “cute with a hint of death” because I love juxtaposing cute with creepy elements. Also, you will find several works with cats of all kinds from magicians to witches to chefs. I honestly never expected for my cat work to take me as far as it has. I’m happy to announce that my first published book will be out in bookstores later this year! And of course it involves cats. Having my art and a personal story published is absolutely magical and thrilling to have achieved. It has always been a dream of mine since I was in elementary school. I use to write stories about witches and illustrate the book, staple the pages and bring them to class for show-and-tell. This is definitely a goal that I am proud to have achieved and hope to continue to publish more work. Since I opened my online shop Heidiroo in 2014, I have always dreamed of making it my full-time job. I made that possible a couple years ago and have enjoyed every single day of it. Being an introvert, working from home alone, with a cat is positively ideal and perfect. I experienced working at offices and it really wasn’t for me. I was exposed to an awful office work environment where bullying was very present. After leaving that job drained with anxiety I started dedicating more time to my brand Heidiroo. From there, it only grew and proved that I could make it as an illustrator. I tried everything from art fairs, craft markets and art conventions as well as working with clients. Throughout the years I have learned how to maintain a stable art career to continue enjoying the journey. I often wish that I had started Heidiroo before I did, maybe this way I wouldn’t have experienced the distressing moments in my last office job. However, I also believe that it only gave me the fuel to persevere as I chased my goal to be self-employed. It has made me who I am today.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite places in Los Angeles are definitely vegan restaurants! I absolutely love everything Cena Vegan offers from their nachos to their massive burritos. They usually set up a stand on York Blvd. in Highland Park! From there you can walk to Highland Park Brewery and have a refreshing beer! Just down the block you have Touch Art Supply Store with the cutest set up and colorful exterior building. For the stationery addict, you can find Shorthand just up the street on York with everything from washi tape, journals, pens and fancy pants desk accessories! If I’m really hungry I go to Burgerlords for a vegan cheeseburger, vegan lord of the fries!
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?
Without the support and encouragement of my husband, Danny, I don’t think I would be this far. I constantly second guess and overthink everything. Luckily, Danny has always been there to lift my spirits when needed and remind me how far I have come in my art career. Support is everything!