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

Hi Monica, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
I have a strong belief about taking risks. I’m a person that feels very strong about saying YES to life. I find it very difficult to be around people that are limited by fears. The fear of survival is good, I don’t advocate doing obvious life threatening things (although some of my decisions can be questionable), but plain old fear is a bore, annoying and just old. Some of my best experiences, both personal and professional have been from saying YES, even if everything inside of me was trembling with self doubt, apprehension, the fear of the unknown. . .but the risk is (almost) always worth it. Every career move I’ve had was by taking a risk, saying yes before I thought I was ready. How else do we learn if we aren’t stretched into the uncomfortable realm? So many things are risky, having kids, buying a house, getting on a plane, for God sakes, these days with Covid-19, just hugging your family is a huge risk! I say yes to life. I make my best choices and I carry on the best I can. Take those risks!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There are so many amazing artists in this world. I believe we all have our own special something we bring to this world. I don’t believe I’m set apart from anyone else, but as I said, we all have our own voice that can’t help but be heard if we produce enough work, and are brave enough to say what we mean to say. Art, whatever form it comes in for me, be it sculpture, building, painting or music is always a challenge. I suspect it will always give me something to chase and through that, if I can continue to find or hear a voice, I have a small success. I’m proud of my art career because I’ve managed to build a decent life supported by my art. Yes, I’m very proud of that. It wasn’t easy, never easy. I’ve wanted to quit many times, and I did for a stint but I had to come back. I think the most important thing about art and about any career really is that you have to work harder than you ever think you can. Push through the toughest times and keep going, keep learning and don’t give up. Change if you have to but keep chasing what you love. There is always room for someone willing to work. There are some conventions in art that I find annoying. The need to be branded as an artist is something I have always rebelled against. I feel if you are moved to express something, that thing begs to be expressed in it’s own particular way. And if I’m stuck by branding, I’m dying. I’ve given up. I hope to never be branded. . . maybe I’ll regret saying that but it’s how I feel.

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’m being asked this question in the time of a pandemic so my immediate choices are stifled. BUT. . in my ideal world it would go like this: A kayak trip in Newport back bay, a little money in my pocket for a dockside margarita and back for an evening bbq at my house in Silverado. Listening to the frogs and crickets while telling stories and inspiring thought. Next day off to the desert, paint, hike, bike and make a campfire. Do it again for another day or so. Back to the beach. Paint, jump in the water, back to my house for a good shower and dinner. A movie and some relaxing. Next day out to LA for some art gallery hoping, maybe a show. . . some cocktails and find some good live music. Find some swanky place to stay in LA and hit some classic diner for breakfast the next day. Painting the city would be grand! Home again and then. . .sad to see the friend go. But. . . always great to leave with a desire to experience more together. Ahhh. . .dreaming of the days when we can be “normal” again.

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?
I have so many shoutouts I’d like to make. I would never be where I am if it weren’t for so many people and please forgive me if I left you out, I hope you all know who you are; My son, Adrien for always pushing me to be the best human I can be. Tia Lai for bringing me on to the Orange County Register newspaper and always pushing me to be a better artist and teaching me a work ethic. My friend Marla Fisher for encouraging me to push on with my dreams of becoming a full time painter with her anecdotes of her own personal struggles and how it eventually paid off. My bestie Marsha Schindler for our daily coffee talks and inspirations. My aunt, Liliana Frasca for inspiring me with her paintings when I was a kid. To Mary Platt from the Hilbert Museum for seeing in me what I have a hard time seeing and honoring me with a spot on their walls. To John Cosby for being the best painting teacher ever! I don’t know anyone who can paint and verbalize his process so effectively. I have grown in a way that would have not been possible without his help. OOooph, I’m sure I’m leaving so many people out, but these are the ones that come to mind right now. Thank you to all who have had a part in my risk taking and my growth. We may be an island, but we build bridges when our gifts are extended to each other.

Website: www.monicaedwardsart.com
Instagram: @medwards610