We had the good fortune of connecting with Shanina Madrigal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shanina, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Ever since I was little, I just loved the idea of being able to create something out of nothing. The ability to point at something and say “I made that” welled up a kind of confidence in me that I couldn’t find anywhere else. It was as if creating art opened my eyes to see my true identity, even though being able to see myself as an actual professional artist in the future felt so unattainable as a child. I think it’s safe to say that art isn’t typically the first thing that comes to mind when choosing a career; when it comes to imagining a job that secures financial stability, titles like doctor and lawyer come up, and I most definitely fell into that money-centric mindset when I first told my parents I wanted to pursue nursing. You could imagine the let down when I told them just a few days later that what I truly wanted to go for was art. I saw the lack of passion and the emptiness in people who went after their job solely for the money, ignoring their instincts of whether they actually enjoyed what they were doing, and I couldn’t let myself fall into years of medical school and student debt to do something I didn’t care for. Living off of my art is exhilarating, fulfilling, and gives me a joy deeper and more real than any other career path could’ve given me. Now, I can do what I love and actually enjoy work. What makes it even better is that I get to do it for the Lord. My brand, tisWritten, is all about spreading Christ’s love and gospel. God is the ultimate Creator who literally made the whole world out of nothing. With no reference He created the skies, the stars, and all nature. Any artist can appreciate that, considering that having some source of reference is typically the starting point in creating art. Nothing is 100% original except God’s creation and I love being able to reflect the creativity He’s instilled in me. My art is a form of worship I dedicate to God, and He is the reason I create.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Spreading God’s truth for all to experience is my main purpose and I strive to accomplish it through designs, illustrations, and lettering that highlight the many words of love, wisdom, and encouragement in the Bible. I want so badly for all to hear of God’s goodness, so I try to make eye-catching designs that hopefully act as conversation starters for our supporters to talk about Jesus! I think that’s the most exciting part, that my art has the potential to plant seeds that I pray will blossom an openness to God in the hearts of those who are touched by our designs. Along with God’s infinite mercies and loving call to start tisWritten, I think that genuine love, passion, and dedication are what got me where I am today. God loves each and every one of us regardless of who we are or what we’ve done, and we want to help people experience the reality and fullness of that truth. That unconditional love is what drives us to spread His love through our designs. While our business is still quite small, there is no doubt that tons of hard work was put in just to get to where we are now. Even though low numbers can be discouraging, passion-driven persistence is key! Sometimes it feels like we put so much time and effort into creating our products, and even more time producing content to promote them for only a small number of people to respond. At times it feels like our efforts are useless until we realize that just like Jesus who would leave a flock of 99 sheep to pursue the one that was lost, each individual we reach is incredibly important and just as loved as the many we may not reach; even if all of our work blesses just one person, it’s worth it. We keep doing what we love not just because we love doing it, but to be a blessing to anyone and everyone who sees our work. We overcome the challenge of feeling unseen by remembering that the few who do see are worth all of our efforts.
Besides the many complicating tasks that make up the unseen side of business (such as shipping, taxes, calculating prices and researching and testing materials), I’ve learned that owning a Christian-based brand is much more rewarding than I expected! Nothing compares to the opportunities this has given us to spread and speak God’s truth. I’ve learned that when you place Jesus at the center, everything flourishes. That doesn’t mean that everything is good all the time, but with Jesus as our guide and foundation, we can see the good He brings into every situation, good or bad. I’m so thankful for a God who always turns things for good.
I want the world to know that our brand is much more than just stickers and shirts. There is powerful, authentic truth and meaningful love in every design because they are all based on the living Word of God. Our name “tisWritten” is based on the words “it is written,” which is repeated many times throughout the Bible when people refer to God’s Word. The verse that inspired us to start this brand is Matthew 4:4 where Jesus says, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” We believe in the entire Bible, that every word is true and has the power to build our faith! We’ll take every chance we can get to make God known. Whether it be through a verse people read on a sticker or a shirt design that sparks curiosity and makes room for godly fellowship, we want to highlight God’s Word beyond our personal Bibles.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Boba is quite literally my life, so I would give my friend a tour of all the best boba shops in town! I love living in the Orange County / Los Angeles area because there is so much good boba around, from Sharetea in Cerritos and Tastea in Artesia to Omomo and The Alley in Irvine. There are so many sights to see and fun things to experience here, but I’d honestly say that the boba shops are the absolute best part!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to shout out my love and my business partner, Elden Villarin. Without him, our brand would not exist because he’s the one who inspired me to start! I’d been set on making art my career, but I was heading in the direction of only working with teams in design agencies — I never believed in myself enough to actually start my own business. Thank God for Elden because tisWritten has been one of the greatest blessings in my life (second to him, of course)! He not only believed in my art and my passion, but he also shares that same creative passion and has become quite the artist himself. While I focus more on stickers and branding, he absolutely excels in designing most of our apparel. We’d sometimes have little competitions to see whose designs sell best, and it’s gotten to the point where his art has grown even more popular than mine! He also handles most of the business side of our brand and does the things I could never wrap my head around. He levels my crazy ambitious ideas when I strive to do more than just the two of us could handle, yet encourages me to push the boundaries of my creative abilities to produce the most meaningful products. He’s an honest critic who doesn’t hesitate to give me constructive criticism but also my number one supporter who showers me with love and encouragement. Even when we’re too hard on ourselves, we see the beauty in each other’s work and help each other build it up to create masterpieces. I truly cannot pull this off without him and I couldn’t be more proud and thankful for him. I also want to give a special shoutout to all of our supporters — not just the ones who buy our products but also the ones who share our little business through social media and word of mouth. After all, our main goal is simply to spread God’s Word, whether it be through people wearing our shirts or being inspired by what we post. tisWritten is run by me and Elden, but it is sustained by our many supporters who help us spread the gospel, and most importantly by our almighty God who we give all the glory to!
Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@tiswritten firstname.lastname@example.org
Raziel Villarin, Jedidiah Ces, Elden Villarin, Shanina Madrigal