We had the good fortune of connecting with Ixchel Valiente and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ixchel, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I believe that balance, both in your personal and professional life, is the key to everything, and also the hardest thing to learn and accept. It’s hard, especially when one is starting out, I think, and you feel very eager to get going, to accept that you need balance in your life. Accept that you need rest and time to clear your head and do other things. Sure, you can spend twenty-four hours straight working, but afterwards you’ll feel out of commission for who knows how many days, and that may cause you to work rather less enthusiastically. Specially for creatives, I think exhaustion slows creativity down. Ideas will come, but if you’re tired from looking at the computer for five hours, it’ll be harder to get them out or materialize them. Whereas working for say, two hours, then getting up and going to the window for ten, fifteen minutes, half an hour, however long you can spare, and feel the sun in your face, stretch, make yourself a cup of tea or something to eat, going out for a walk, call a friend and laugh, and then come back to work with fresh eyes, I believe it makes a difference. Gives you ideas, makes you observant. You also have to consider not only your mental clarity but your physical health as well. Always better to work feeling healthy, instead of sleep-deprived or with back pain or eye strain. Take days off. Treasure them, do things that give you intense happiness during your time off. It’ll have a tremendous impact on your work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
2020 was a difficult year for everyone, one way or another. It was a year of learning and adapting. It brought many new challenges and reinforced some that were already very familiar. For performing artists, it dared us to find new ways of creating content and making art with all these limitations. It showed us that the freedom which we had before to get together and collaborate was a privilege that we sometimes overlooked. One thing about pursuing a career in any artistic field is that it teaches you perseverance, because it’s usually a steep hill to get to where you want to get. I think that helps a lot in situations like the one we are in now. Finding new ways of doing what you love, discovering different tools and outlets for your creativy, that has been very interesting to do this past year, and incredibly exciting to join forces with other artists who were doing the same.
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.
Too many places. Top spots to visit in LA I’d say:
-Central Library. My favorite place in LA. Everything in it is art. The building, the lamps, the gardens, the steps. Even if you’re not one for books, just going in and exploring the building is fantastic. There’s an art gallery on the second floor that regularly changes exhibitions. You feel like you’ve entered a different dimension when you step in. A tiny gateway into a different dimension in the middle of Downtown.
-Bohemian Tea parlor, in Hollywood. Great place to read, draw, work, be with friends, be alone. And they have blue tea.
-Exposition Park. So many beautiful things in one place. The Natural History Museum, the California African American Museum, a rose garden that feels like it belongs in another era, the Science Center.
-Grand Central Market. Every time I take someone they want to go back because they want to try that other place and then another place and another place. Lots of Neon Signs and food stands. It’s pretty fantastic.
-Amoeba. The Mount Olympus of records and CDs and movies, band t-shirts, band posters, movie posters, artists posters. It feels almost cinematic when you go in for the first time.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The list is infinite. All my teachers, from whom I’ve absorbed not just knowledge about my career but about life and the human spirit as well. Fellow creatives and professionals who have given me a chance. Friends who have collaborated with me and have had long talks with me about mad ideas. Family members who have encouraged me to continue.
Katherine Barcsay, Gideo Watson, Rafael Soto, Diana Dorempz.