We had the good fortune of connecting with Kendra Minadeo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kendra, what do you want people to remember about you?
My mother died when I was thirteen, and no one knew anything about her. As I grew up, I wanted to know who she was, but she didn’t keep a journal, there weren’t many pictures from her past, and her family had very few answers. I always wanted to be someone worth remembering but the hole my mom left pushed me to impulsively leave a paper trail, creative bread crumbs, and volumes of journals of who I was in any given moment. I’m always creating with an audience in mind. All creative work is autobiographical, so the more I make, the more someone can know me. So I hope the legacy of my work will bring answers to those who wish to know me better after I’m gone.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I think knowing what sets you apart from other artists is a difficult question to answer. On one hand, I’ve been influenced by so many wonderful artists who came before me, and on the other I’ve tried to find a way to create something uniquely my own. I can’t say with certainty I’ve succeeded, but I do think that my work is getting to a point where you look at it and recognize it’s mine. It’s taken years of creating and failing over and over again to climb that ladder. And I have no illusions about which rung I’m on. I still have a long way to go before I feel secure in being a full time artist. When I first started making art full time, I was working in a style I was comfortable with and finding some success with galleries, cons, private commissions, etc. But I wasn’t satisfied with the little niche I carved out for myself. I think the flip side to creativity is never truly being comfortable with where you are. At least for me, there’s always been a constant desire to evolve and branch out. And that’s what I’ve been attempting to do. Early on in that journey, I found an agent and felt really excited about the future. But as I was studying and finding my voice, she suddenly shuttered her company after being accused of fraud. I’m not going to lie, it was like a punch to the gut. All the confidence I had in myself was shattered and I spent the next few years healing from that. Looking back on it, it was a blessing in disguise in some ways. I spent that time on a mission of self-discovery. I studied, took courses, and followed my inner compass until I felt like I’d found my voice. I know that makes it sound easy, but there were many nights of tears, both of sadness and anger. There was a long period of time where I walked away from art all together and started working a day job again. But little by little, I started feeling the itch again. An idea floating around that I had to get down on paper. And slowly I started creating again. I spent my time building up my portfolio to go back out to agents. If I could impart any advice to aspiring artists (of which I still consider myself one), it’s that failure is good. Constructive criticism is good. I faced a lot of hard truths along the way and being forced to look them in the eye taught me a lot about myself. Also, I believe taking the time to find your own unique voice is incredibly important for sustained success. Not just because having your style recognized helps you stand out from the pack, but the odyssey to get there teaches you so much about yourself and what you want to do with your time here. I think right now I’m most excited about feeling confident in my style and voice again. I’ve nearly finished building up my portfolio and I’ve been in touch with some agents who want to talk to me more about my work. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m feeling very hopeful again.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In my fantasy LA tour, all these things could be done without traffic, or large crowds, or covid, and the weather would be 75F the entire time. I’d start my BFF with early morning personal tours of Disneyland (with lunch at Club 33) and Universal. I’d share stories about how the rides were made and point out little easter eggs the designers left behind. We’d stay at the park hotels and take afternoon naps so we wouldn’t be exhausted. Later we’d stop by the Magic Castle, get a closeup magic session and watch the ghost play piano. We’d also visit the Musem of Jurassic Technology, enjoy the spectacle of Venice Beach, head to Caioti’s pizza cafe for BBQ Chicken Pizza, and Iced Tea. After, we’d go to The Grand Central Market for a G&B’s Almond Macadamia Nut Latte and more pizza at Joe Peep’s in Valley Village. Ooooh and visit BLVD Cafe in Magnolia Park for their Iced Green Tea Latte. And finally, see Jeff Goldbloom play the Rockwell Table & Stage and get a hug from him.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
So many people and organizations deserve credit for who I am today. First, the people: Josh Garrell, Kirsten Sikora, Morgan Whitinger, Susan Beth Smith, S. Logan Wince, Wallis Kendal, Chris Smolyk, Molly O’Neill, Adam Bezark, Finn Garrell, Naomi Garrell, Kimberly Jones, Anne & Joe Minadeo, Steve Felix, Jimmie Woody, Melinda Placko, aAron Munson, Sandra Bromely, Tim Folkmann, Greg Pretty, my sisters, Keely, Ronda, Lana, and Cory, and my mom crew. The groups: The iHuman Youth Society, the Akron Film Festival (The Nightlight), Lilla Rogers & my MATS peeps, Rose Ginther, and the Arts & Cultural Management program of Grant MacEwan University, The Film and Video Art Society of Alberta (FAVA), The Monday Night Drawing Club, SCBWI, WIA, Creative Peptalk & Andy J Pizza. The influences: Helen Dardik, Bill Sienkiewicz, Christian Robinson, Alain Grée, Hayao Miyazaki, Steven Universe, Adventure Time, Scott Campbell, Pixar, Lisa Congdon, Mary Ashley, Babs Tarr, Rocko’s Modern Life, J.P. Miller, Ingela P. Arrhenius, Mizuki Goto, Miroslav Sasek, Alice and Martin Provensen, Cicada Magazine, and Janine Vangool & UPPERCASE.