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

Hi Talia, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I believe stories are the most important part of cultural transmission. The films we show our kids inform them about the moral structures of the world, how to behave, & how to deal with adversity. My job is to tell honest stories about life and what it is to be a human, so that anyone watching comes away inspired to go out into their life and live it bravely.

As a child I was orphaned at a very early age. The only recourses I had to turn to were books and movies. They taught me how to be, and to this day a huge portion of my personality is based on Lord of the Rings, and the heroic depiction of its main characters.

How do you feel after watching your favorite movie? Listening to your favorite song? Art and entertainment is treated by many as a distraction, an escape from life. To me it is so much more. It is a method of transmitting emotion & lessons without having to go through the adversity necessary for the lesson personally.

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’m most proud of my ability to remain original. I pride myself in thinking completely outside the box, which is necessary when exploring alien territories. I don’t want to be a derivative of another artist- in the same way that almost all fantasies are derivatives of Lord of the Rings, or all sci-fi at some level smells of Isaac Asimov. Genuinely being willing to explore the unknown takes great courage, because there’s by definition no prior reference point. You cant look at someone else’s similar art and think “oh, mine is decent because it looks something like that, and people like that.”

I got where I am today professionally by being extremely dogged. In school, if a professor asked for 100 drawings for one class, i’d do 200. If I was asked to come up with one concept, I’d make 50 and narrow it down to the best one.

At many points in my life it was difficult to keep faith. I have been drawing since I was 4 years old, and when I was 22, 23 and had nothing to show for it but boxes full of paintings, I wondered if anything would ever come from it. I didn’t know how to make the leap from the artist to the professional artist who got paid for her work.

I remember a moment where I hadn’t eaten in 3 days at school because I had no time to work with the amount of homework I was given in college. (At a total of 7 classes, each class would ask for hundreds of drawings each week). I managed to find 4 quarters under my car seat, and the vending machine I put them in to get a muffin ate them. I felt so low I couldn’t even cry.

There was another moment when my computer broke & I lost 20 hours of work right before I needed to deliver to class. One of my classmates saw my face, and 3 days later came back and dropped an envelope on my table. She ran away before I could see what was inside. She had collected 20$ from each of my classmates and altogether gave me 350$. I fed myself for the rest of the semester off that envelope. Her name was Anya Radzevych & I will never forget her.

But I stayed committed, and kept going. Eventually along the line people saw my work and wanted to help me, because they knew my lack of success was not for lack of trying or practice. Rick Carter saw my paintings and became my mentor, because he saw something in them that was meaningful to him. I will be forever grateful to him.

The lessons I learned were brutal lessons. If you really want to become something, you do the work necessary and take full personal responsibility even if you aren’t totally responsible for your lack of success. You never stop. You try harder, and harder, and harder until finally something gives. You do what you love every single day because every day off your brain deletes the neurons you built the day before.

But the most important lesson was to tell myself the right story. Your brain believes what you tell it. So I learned to tell myself that I had the potential to be a superhero, just like everyone else. I told myself it was important to do my very best, not just at creating the art, but at knowing the reason TO create art. I told myself it was my job to look out into a world that can so often be painful and unbelievably tragic, to find beauty and light to share with people.

What I want people to know about my story, is that they can tell themselves whatever story they want. They can create whatever life they desire if they’re willing to put the work in. Even if you have no resources and the world looks dark, if you have love in your heart for anything in this world, follow that & it won’t lead you astray.

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?
I would take them to Piedra Blanca above Ojai in Rose Valley. It’s an incredible rock formation that somehow feels alien and sacred.

Also Joshua Tree, to climb boulders!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It’s hard to give credit to just one person when you were created by a multitude of people. Everyone in my life has sculpted me for my future success, and picked me up when I could no longer stand.

My mother paved the way for my belief that anything is possible with the right work ethic.

Many of my friends families took me in and raised me as their own when I no longer had parents- without them I would not be here.

My mentor Rick Carter gave me the specific skills and higher level wisdom to tell great stories- and he gave me my start in the industry. He in many ways is my idol, and I hope one day to be able to make him proud.

Without cuddles from my cat there would be many days that I could not get through-

& Without my favorite musicians, the same result.

So really, I’m thanking everyone who has ever come into my life, and every artist who has inspired me to create with more love and energy.

Website: Taliaspencer.net

Instagram: @Taliaaspencer

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/talia-spencer-561387a5/

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