Today I want you to meet a talented artist, Josie Mendoza. As many of you know, I’m in awe of those who can draw and paint the world through the lens of their own particular perspective. I can’t. They can. I wish I could. They can. So I settle for being glad. I asked Josie to answer some questions, which she did with her usual enthusiasm and clearly stated thoughts. Here’s Josie!
I just wanted to say first, thank you for asking me to do this. I really appreciate sharing myself with you!!
Josie, you are an impressive young artist. Tell us about yourself.
I am a 22 yr. old college art student at MSU. I was born and raised in California and had moved here (Springfield, Missouri) in 2012 to finish school. I am a child of 8 and the oldest Daughter. I have three lovely ferrets named Finny, Elsa, and Oso. I do love cats and would gladly own one but my dad is terribly allergic. I love going to parks, taking walks and sleeping in. I cannot go a day without coffee and hugs. I love music, just about all kinds. I’ve been really into indie music lately. Something about their weird voices and strange tunes keeps my mind at ease. I find myself being more of an optimist when talking to others, but a pessimist when I am by myself. I love Netflix, movies and t.v shows and I find that I pay more attention to the romance rather than the plot.
Josie, how and when did you discover that you wanted to become an artist?
I had always known I wanted to keep drawing and such since I was a little girl. My class in 3rd grade had done a research project on Picassos blue period. This series had so many colors of blue. I was so amazed by how many colors blue could be. I could remember all throughout grade school, middle school and high school I would draw wherever and whenever I could. My teachers would be upset and take my papers away from me, but I didn’t stop drawing in class. All of my projects on history, vocabulary and even science class I had a drawing go along with it. My friends would ask me to draw projects for their assignments and I happily accepted. My cousin had asked the same, so when I did they ended up putting him in an advanced drawing class. He wasn’t too happy about that. But I had always had a passion for it. I had truly wanted to pursue art after high school. It was and still is the only thing I am good at. I tried other things like being a day care worker, receptionist and other jobs, but it doesn’t feel the same as being an artist. It just works for me.
You never seem to be far away from a drawing pad. How do you decide what to sketch next?
I always look at life for inspiration. How the light looks on my house, how the lights glow across the city. It sounds strange but lately I’ve been inspired by lights. I have these phases where certain things will pop up into my mind and I’ll expand on them. I had drawn cat people for some time and filled a sketch book with them. For the longest time I had drawn fairies and mermaids. One period of time I would make up strange creatures with pig noses and goat like features. Now I’m painting abstractly with splats of paint. There is always a feeling I’m trying to put across my sketches. Some end up being squiggles of lines and nothing more. Other times they end up being repeated characters throughout my sketch books. I sometimes decide on what ill sketch depending on my mood. If I feel that I haven’t been drawing enough I’ll go outside and try to find a spot to look upon and draw. Whether it be a beach, house, cats or grass I’ll find something that interest me. Just yesterday I found a neat spot on campus that had a huge spider web with a deep pink colored flower blooming out of it. Sometimes nature just sets itself up to be seen if you find it.
Do you have a favorite medium or subject matter?
My favorite medium is water color and ink. I had painted a picture in high school for a project out of water color and it had stuck with me since. I love how you can control it or let it loose on the paper. It can let itself vary to how you want to use it. I have been recently practicing with acrylic and oil paints, and out of the two the oil has been more in my favor. I do love oil so far and hope to paint my own projects with oil.
I love people. Even though a lot of people draw people I still try to enjoy that I draw them my own way. I love looking at a misshapen nose, or someone’s ear and draw it. I’ll be passing by a beautiful woman and just want to draw her face. It’s a weird craving, but to capture some one’s soul into a painting temps my creativity. I love drawing beautiful women and weird looking men. I find attractive men boring. I love the character they bring into my sketches. And to be clear most women I feel are beautiful in their own way but I do feel that all women have this unique beauty about them.
So now you’re in college studying art. Have you decided what you want to do when you graduate?
I had discovered this year that I’d like to be a college art instructor. I love talking to people about ideas, I love going to class and discussing art. I was talking to my art instructor about this and she had explained that I can make my own art and teach at the same time. She had actually told me I should go for it. That was late last year around this time. I still think about doing it so I’m going to get my bachelors then my masters. And if I don’t like how that turns out I’ll find a new path. But for now that seems like a great direction for how I want to live my life, artistically.
Does anyone or anything inspire you artistically?
I have been inspired by anything with soul. If I feel the harsh tones in music by someone who is struggling or feeling joy I’m just drawn to it. I love live music, even though the band may not be famous yet, it somehow makes me inspired to follow my dreams. I’m inspired by dark comic book artist like Andy Brase and Wylie Beckert. They have a way of making their characters come to life in a dark and mysterious way. I’m inspired by the textures in brick walls, and the lights at night. I love the glow in lights and how they are complemented by a dark blue sky. I love looking at the buildings when they change color during the day if it is hot, cold or warm out. I’m inspired by patterns I see in the bushes or the flowers. I also am inspired by the little things in my life. Whether it be the questionably pregnant alley cat in my neighborhood or how read the trees have gotten over a short period of time. I question why that man is wearing a poncho in the rain walking about like it’s a bright sunny day, or is he leaving to get some milk? I then draw him and wonder about his day, like where is your car? Are you alone? Did you buy that rain poncho on purpose because you have no other means of transportation? What is your story?
I try not to compare my art skills to other people, but sometimes I can’t help it. Some people are just so good at what they do that I try to think of them as an inspiration rather than a competition. I do love paintings from Rembrandt to Instagram artist. Everyone has their own style whether it be cartoons, Caricatures, landscapes, abstract, photography, sculpting and so much more. I find myself more inspired by patters and textures in everything I look at. So it is up to me to find my style and how I make my own art.
I’m always thinking of what could be interesting and I’m not afraid to let my mind wander. In college I have learned that there is no wrong way to produce art, there is no bad art.
I also love visiting art museums. There is so much art that its impossible to explain the impact each exhibit has had on me. I always try to go.
Do you have any advice for younger artists?
To start off, I am the young artist. I’m just kidding. For those younger than me still in high school or middle school and even younger than that, you should definitely finish school. You are responsible for who you are and let that be a good thing. To be educated lets you be more yourself. And isn’t that art itself, to be you and to grow on that? I wasn’t all for school when I was younger, I had almost dropped out and didn’t want to go to college. I was lost. But I took myself seriously and asked what I wanted? I wanted to be in a room, filled with people who were like me and had the same interest. And being in art classes for over a year and a half have filled that dream of mine. Even though it is hard work and you won’t make to the next day or you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, it’s still worth it to finish. Finish your goals, finish your homework. Graduate school. Paint that picture or write that poem. Also find life in yourself. Find what makes you, you. Get out and do the things you like. Whether it’s getting coffee at 8pm, going to that show or eating doughnuts at 12am.
I try top things that scare me, like walking at night with friends. Being up late working on a painting that I have no idea where it’s going. Painting in an actual reading book. Saying what I feel to myself about hard situations and crying over them. I love to cry, it’s so relieving. But I also love life. Even though it is hard to guide yourself even with someone’s help I still get up and go do the things that scare me. I left my good paying job this January because I wasn’t happy. I started waiting tables and now I love that job for being in college. I was scared. My family depended on me with that job, but I made a smart decision for my own well-being and got a better job.
There are still other things that scare me but I’m somewhat ready to take on those challenges. When it gets tough, I just take a break and turn on Netflix. But not for too long. I might get stuck for about 6 hours and lose my day.
Josie, thank you. I loved your responses and am pleased to present some of your work that demonstrates a variety of subjects, styles, and techniques. It has been a pleasure and I wish you great success in your future plans.