We had the good fortune of connecting with Vicki Rae and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vicki, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
Asses and say yes- without losing sight of your own value. I’ve found that Los Angeles is rampant with opportunity. This is a town where every person you meet is working on a big project, and they all require help in some form or another. I’ve learned some valuable, lifelong lessons from saying yes and helping out friends and acquaintances. A friend of a friend needed background actors in their short film and I said ‘sure, why not’. This small gig was a networking opportunity that actually led to a weekly person shopping gig, which could have continued on into even more opportunities. The only reason I was afforded those gigs was because I decided to say ‘yes’ when someone needed a little help.
The asses part of my mantra is to stop and think, from different perspectives, how the opportunity might hurt or benefit you and your future. To consider how you might grow, what you might learn, who you might meet, and what you might accomplish from an opportunity is just as important as the pay or requirements. There is zero shame in saying ‘No’- it’s actually equally as important as saying ‘Yes’!! There are always people that want what they can’t have, with unreasonable expectations, no budget, or even just people with a bad attitude. There are people in every field/industry that I’ve worked in that I will never work for again, and there is nothing wrong with it. Prioritizing personal growth and development afforded me the luxury to try different things, make mistakes, and learn from them.
Saying ‘yes’ doesn’t mean to give your skills or talents away for free- it just means to show willingness to try your very best, while advocating for yourself to be adequately and accurately compensated for your efforts. There’s a bit of a balancing act to be played, and I think some mistakes may have to be made, in order to learn from them. I’ve signed onto projects that ended up requiring 5x the time, energy, and work that was originally proposed. It sucks. There’s no beatifying working tirelessly for free. There is incredible value in those hours though, the lesson where I learned to clearly communicate up front about expectations and compensation before signing onto a project.
I’ve signed onto projects like the short film I mentioned above, where there was no monetary compensation at all! But, it afforded lots of networking opportunities, and the only thing required of me was to hang out at a park for a beautiful morning. It can be exhausting to give without receiving, so trying to keep that balance is integral for maintaining stamina and being able to keep saying ‘yes!’
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.
My art has a unique background that has taken a winding, screwy, disorienting path. I started professionally face painting at 10 years old, and then picked up doing henna tattoos and body painting at age 11. I worked at events and parties with my mom and sister on most weekends throughout the spring, summer, and fall for about 12 years. In 2014 I started focusing primarily on my Bachelors of Arts in Studio Art and BA in Psychology, where I studied painting, sculpture, photography, and child development. After graduating I moved to Los Angeles and went back to my roots- starting my own face painting business. Alongside my creating my own company, I also landed in production design gigs, painting canvases for friends, refurbishing furniture, and creating digital art. Eventually I had a few friends ask me to make them some logos and artwork, which started my graphic design career. I am passionate about graphic design right now because it is pandemic friendly, but also because I can work for myself on my own time. My clients can email or dm me photos and describe what they’re looking for without ever meeting in person. I love that I can work on my own schedule, and often work through weekends to get my clients their art as fast as possible. My favorite part is when my clients get to see everything put together for the first time, and to help create that satisfaction and pride in their brand. It’s not always easy, and sometimes there are issues! I’ve had clients that need artwork but don’t know what they want, clients that struggle with communication, and times when I forgot to mention things or made mistakes. Each experience is a lesson, and my attitude is to always try my absolute best and give my all to each client and design, while advocating for myself and my value. If you’re in need of a logo, illustration, or artwork, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact me!
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.
My fav spots to check out-
The Getty Museum is free and AMAZING. Good to go on a warm day because the gardens and architecture outside are stunning! Also you need to walk between buildings to see all of the exhibits.
Venice Beach- skate spot central! There’s always a gathering of roller skaters and almost always some grooves by the boardwalk in Venice- totally free and great friendly vibes! Need to bring your own skates.
If you don’t have your own skates def check out Pigeon’s Roller Rink in Long Beach! They have rentals and sessions every day of the week at almost any time of day, with great tunes playing and great vibes.
Fav food spot has to be tapas at Vino Wine Bar on Ventura in Encino- incredible traditional tapas, we order almost the entire menu most times we go. Also def recommend getting a carafe of sangria for the table!
For nightlife I recommend Harbor and Stone in DTLA, on Friday and Saturday nights they usually have a live band and an amazing live burlesque performance by 3 stunning ladies! Great drinks, good music, and always an amazing time.
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?
Shoutout to all of my clients- from recent graphic design clients on instagram to face painting clients from pre-pandemic, and everyone in between! The continued support of my community plays the biggest role in my success, and I am forever grateful to each and every person who’s allowed me to create art for them. <3
Victoria Klein (self)