We had the good fortune of connecting with MUKA and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi MUKA, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
The best advice I have ever received and that I continue to spread to those around me is to ONLY do things that spark joy for you. This can be applied to anything…relationships, careers, lifestyles. When something or someone starts to cause anything but true joy in your life, that’s when toxicity starts to consume your life and you know flat out that you need to give up that relationship, situation, or thing. Things are never going to be perfect and there will always be obstacles in life but as long as the things you choose to focus your energy on are brining joy, the struggles are worth it. When I look back at the most miserable moments in my life, I can always connect that the reason I was miserable to begin with was because I didn’t know when to let go. I was doing things because I felt like I owed things like love, friendship and time to people instead of admitting to myself that that relationship or path in life just didn’t fit anymore and didn’t spark joy.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art is a huge world of everything that either feels extremely nice or is extremely honest. Most, if not all, of my pieces dance around the topic of mental health because after struggling with my own for years, I decided to tackle it head on and work to make sure that my art creates a safe space where people can talk about things honestly and feel authentic. It’s kind of like, “Well, I’m creating this huge painting of these really uncomfortable feelings and thoughts I have and putting it on display so maybe it will give someone courage to ask for help, even if it’s not publicly..ya know?”. The thing I am most proud of is when people reach out to me saying that they can relate to my work because it reitorates for me that I’m doing my job right and that mental health SHOULD be talked about loudly because we ALL CAN RELATE! Getting to this point in my art career has definitely not been easy and it’s mainly because I have had to do the work internally first. I realized that if I was going to establish myself as an artist by trade, I needed to make sure that each piece meant something real and represented pure authenticity, because otherwise I may as well just take any job out there that would be mentally, physically and emotionally easier for me than being an artist. The only way I saw the path to this authenticity I longed for was to admit I needed help, find it and face my traumas head on. This is why my art is bold, snarky, nostalgic, honest, powerful, emotional, and sweet. It’s everything I felt was negative about myself before, but now celebrate. I want everyone to see my art and be able to relate to it in a way that inspires them to be all of those things with themselves too.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When loved ones visit me in LA, I usually tend to flood our itinerary with food! These are my favorite places to grab the best foods in my opinion: -Getting donuts at Sidecar in Santa Monica..The glazed and the huckleberry are my favorites! -Brunch at The Perch in DTLA because the mid afternoon sun paired with the crisp fall breeze is perfect for the rooftop view and mimosas! -A shopping trip and snack break for macarons and Lattes at Laduree in Glendale at the Americana. -Craft beer at GoldenRoad brewery and Stone Brewery! -Grabbing a pepperoni pizza with spicy chili oil at Delicious Pizza on West Adams -Thunderbird Bar in Brentwood for the best margaritas, Bloody Marys, tacos and queso! -Dinner at Little Sheep Mongolian HotPot..try their spicy broth! -Crispy taquitos and hands down the best chips and salsa ever at Dia De Campo in Hermosa Beach..and then a quick walk over to ShockBoxx gallery for the coolest art shows! -Korean BBQ at SSAM and then Korean fried chicken at BBQ LA -And of course, Portos Bakery for some spicy queso balls and pastries!

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?
Aside from the obvious long list of loved ones, I’d like to give a shoutout to ShockBoxx Gallery in Hermosa Beach, California. Specifically to the owner, Mike Collins. Mike and Shockboxx have been here for me since the beginning of my art career and have given me a confidence in my craft that I never knew I had in me. From encouraging me to show my art to giving me tips on how to do it, Mike and the ShockBoxx game are truly so special to me and I credit them for much of my success thus far in my art!

Website: www.artbymuka.com
Instagram: @ArtByMuka
Facebook: Art By MUKA

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