We had the good fortune of connecting with Marie Pichay and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marie, what role has risk played in your life or career?
My business was entirely built off risk. I have no formal training in art or business— I am entirely self-taught, figuring everything out as I go, and putting up my own money for this dream. I started my art page in August of this year and launched my business at the end of September. It all started with me sharing my drawings and designs with my friends. I had the idea to print one of my designs on a postcard to send to my friends during Safer-at-Home and I got a lot of great feedback. I decided to design an entire collection of postcards and get them professionally printed and they were a hit. I sold out twice and have since added a variety of stickers, prints, drawings—and everything has gone well so far. I owe it all to the risk it took to start, and of course to my friends and family who support and show out.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I work full time in urban planning. In some ways, it’s the complete opposite from my role as a maker, as a creative. I studied urban planning and sustainability in school at UC Berkeley. I was the first in my family to go to college and so it was hard for me to navigate school and then the professional world. I didn’t know many professionals, so I didn’t have a network or family friends to turn to for advice. I have been lucky to encounter Black and Brown women and men who have mentored me and advocated for me, and I really owe my professional success to them (apart from my family’s support, of course). An important lesson I have learned along the way is to be true to yourself, as cliche as it sounds. I have always been a passionate person who is open to learning, admitting when I don’t know something, and owning up to a mistake. I think this authenticity has resonated with people, and I think that’s why I have been successful thus far in my creative endeavors. I make art that is a reflection of me, and people have identified with it too.
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?
Lucky for me my best friend already lives in the area! But, if I were to show around a friend in Los Angeles, there are a few places I would definitely take them. My itinerary is based on my growing up in Palms, current living in Mid-City and working in DTLA: Sites: Getty Museum – a must! I’m a huge museum person. I love the Getty because it houses one of my all time favorite exhibits on old furniture. There is something so fascinating about looking at old craftsmanship and imagining the lives of the people who used the furniture. Rose Garden – This is one of my favorite places. Not only is the Rose Garden a feast for the eyes and delightfully aromatic, but it’s the perfect spot for an afternoon read and delicious snack from one of the eloteros or paleteros who are always around. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook – I grew up calling these the “Culver City Stairs”. I love this place because not only is it a good workout, but the trail up to the stairs from the Dog Park is one of my favorite views of the city. Kenneth Hahn Park – Every time I go to this park I find something new, and that’s why I think it’s a great place to show a friend. It has great hills, views, exhibits, water, and so much more. Eats: For breakfast – Met Her at a Bar is the BEST in LA. Not only are the waffles amazing and service top-knotch, but the owners have the cutest story—they really did meet at a bar! They also just opened a sister restaurant across the street called Met Him at Bar, which has good pasta and cocktails. For lunch – King Taco. I know, I know. But, they have some of my favorite sopes in LA. And, if you go to the location on 7th/Alvarado, there’s a dessert place around the corner called Bionicos Daisy that has delicious bionicos, fresas con crema, esquite, and more! For dinner – Della Terra. This place has delicious pasta that I can never get enough of. A plus is that it’s near the Grove, which is nice to stroll around after dinner and maybe sneak in some chocolate from See’s Candy.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m a firm believer in that it takes a village. My village has been my mom, abuela, aunt and best friend. My story is the way it is because of the strength, courage, intelligence, love and resilience of these women. They are my mentors, my best friends, my advisors, my cheerleaders and my inspiration. Ultimately, my art is a reflection of us—of women, of Latinas, of Angelenos. I would not be who I am without them and so this is dedicated to them.