We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Menshikova and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maria, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
Understanding your limits is an acquired skill. Whereas it’s important for you to keep in mind your abilities and limitations, I think the main question to ask yourself is why? Motivation is the key. Motivation isn’t some ethereal concept, if you can’t motivate yourself to keep going, it’s not laziness or procrastination, it’s rather the lack of real need. When it comes to the surviving aspect and paying your bills, we’re able to push ourselves even further, because we all need to pay our bills. Your brain gets creative when you’re solving a difficult problem. Do you really need this? We’re stuck because our activity no longer sparks joy or curiosity. It’s either you have to assess whether you still like it, or step up the game: do work for other people. Get assignments from people who are at the top within your industry, learn from the ones who are better than you. We have a greater pressure and responsibility when we know someone is relying on us, especially if it’s someone we greatly appreciate — take advantage of that and ask people around to review your work/study/project results, report to them and set deadlines! Plus, when feeling your most down, helping others can tremendously help — you and these people. There’s only a certain amount of possibilities and time allowed in a particular moment of the time, it’s an illusion to think you could do everything and make it ideal. It’s not that. It’s best to do something you realistically are able to do today. Standards and possibilities will change overtime, so don’t chase the ideal, it’s non-existent. You can give up at any moment. But why not to try to keep going first, when so much effort has been already invested! Some things you’ll have to let go. You need to be in a calm state of mind to analyse and make up your mind. When in doubt, slow down and don’t take rushed decisions, the right answer will land your mind ultimately.
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.
I began to draw and work freelance since high school as an illustrator, later on I have worked in a multitude of creative & design studios, evolving as illustrator & art director working on design, branding and video production projects. I’ve been combining my personal work and for for hire. It’s hard, but it’s something that keeps you going and exploring. These two areas are mutually influencing each other and that’s what I like about it. I like how over years my style has been changing and crystallizing, and it’s still a malleable substance. Quite often I tried thing I’ve never done before. That’s why I’ve learned a lot and keep learning within my industry, it just keeps things fresh. Sleepless night and shower tears were inevitable, but it helped me to plan my time and learn my own limitations along the way. Without having it hard, I would’t accomplish a lot in my career, and wouldn’t find out what I like to work on the most. Also when you’re a part of the team, you have to learn communication! It’s been so helpful for me personally and I think we evolve through collaborations a lot. Few last years I’ve been freelancing, and I’m learning a lot on how to balance everything from management, creative work, communication, accounting, and team work plus my personal artwork and social media. I’m proud of my recent collaboration with National Research University HSE in Moscow, we’ve worked on their recent research study, the Global Cities Innovation Index 2020 book which I illustrated and created the cover art for.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Explore the DTLA area, so many great spots here like The Last Book store and Ace Hotel roof top and cafe, Los Angeles Theatre and etc. Stop by Little Tokyo to have sushi lunch. Visit Echo Park lake and stop by Laveta for coffee. I would recommend visiting Koreatown as it has a million places for take out and dining, like Korean BBQ and rice buns, there are awesome coffee spots like Document coffee bar and Nothing but Coffee. Definitely go to Griffith Observatory. Explore Little Osaka and enjoy more of the Japanese cuisine, at a place like Tsujita LA. I recommend museums like LACMA, The Broad and MOCA. Stop by NOH/WAVE Gallery, I’m proud to be part of the collective. Got to see Venice Beach, Santa Monica, and the desert – Joshua Tree, where one of my favorite movies the Rubber was shot.
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?
The people who appreciate, help and support us are the ones who create us, so I’m very thankful to have my friends, one of them is Natalie Iv, a talented creative director & entrepreneur. @puposeit.co I would recommend to study our brain, it’s easier to solve inner conflicts and create mind maps when you have the right tools. I recommend “Red pill” book by Andrey Kurpatov and his lectures, online lectures by neuroscientist Tatyana Chernigovskaya and biologist Vyacheslav Dubynyn.