We had the good fortune of connecting with Mildred Saldana and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mildred, why did you pursue a creative career?
This wasn’t something that I chose because I was *good* at it. The decision to chose a career path as an illustrator only got serious one month before my high school graduation. I was fully interested in becoming a paleontologist or actress. Late start, but I was fueled with excitement, passion, and curiosity to learn. Sure, I had taken lots of creative extra credit classes and art classes during middle and high school, but it was never something I took seriously as a future career. Once I was serious about pursuing an artistic career, I was enamored with how many ways art can be displayed and used. Book covers, consumer products, concept art, etc. It made me love the career more and more. A career where I could scream my passions with the use of colors, design, and imagery. I just knew it was meant for me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m proud that my art never stays in one place. It is a bouncing ball of ideas, emotions, and colors that are never settle or calm down. One minute I can be designing posters, the next I’ll be doing textile designs, gouache paintings of dogs, or creating Star Wars fan art. I’m very versatile and flexible with projects which is why the word creative is perfect for me because I’m never stuck doing just one thing. If I did, I’d probably feel trapped. That’s what’s so great about being an artist, is that you have a voice without saying a word and it can be done in any medium you desire. It was nowhere being easy to get where I am today. A lot of late nights, migraines, and tears. Even after graduation, I feel like I wish I could have stayed in school and learn more. My brain is like a sponge and will never get tired of absorbing information. As any student, I had the challenges of self doubt, perfecting craft, basic design principles, etc. But whenever I had any obstacles, I always looked to the past. Designers such as Paul Rand, David Klein, Mary Blair, and Charley Harper were always my sources inspirations. The lessons I’ve learned along the way is that, it may sound like a cliche, but just do what you love. Even if you think no one else will like or enjoy it, just follow your passion. Someone else will like it too. Don’t do it for the likes, do it for yourself. Because it makes YOU happy. I also learned to venture outside of my comfort zone. I wasn’t the type of student to just stay in one bubble and take my assigned classes. I took classes in other departments and I feel like that helped me branch out and learn even more. So don’t be afraid to take risks and never stop creating. What I want the world to know is that I am a Los Angeleno artist who loves to stitch vibrant colors with whimsical designs to express my love through art with a smile on my face. All while eating Hot Cheetos.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If you’re in Los Angeles… you might need more than a week. If it’s fun and entertainment, let’s go to good old fashioned Disneyland. Wanna chill and catch some waves? Manhattan Beach is calling. It’s not blue, red, or yellow, it’s Pink’s Hot Dogs if you want some of the most delicious hot dogs in L.A. The fun in Los Angeles is limitless. 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?
My mama and papa. Number one supporters from day one. The Wong family. Would not be where I am or who I am without their mentorship and help throughout my entire college years. Late grandfather, who was an artist in El Salvador. Got the illustrator genes thanks to him. Amazing professors who were so patient and wonderful: Christine Nasser, Jim Salvati Michael Humphries, Paul Rogers, Dana Duncan, and so many others who helped mold me into the artist I am now. Lastly, all of my incredible family and friends.