So I’m trying to switch it up around here by not focusing on myself for once so that regular visitors will see that there are other things to look forward to when coming here besides my self-absorbed posts! Haha.
On a serious note, I’ve always wanted to let people know about my talented friends, and not in a stuck up, conceited, my-life’s-better-than-yours kind of way either. I want to focus on the working class creative people out there who do their thing while living life and all the responsibilites that come with it and Roxy is definitely one of them. I met her online years ago and she became one of my good friends in real life. Her interview begins NOW.
Hi Roxy! Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. You know I’m a HUGE fan of your work. Can you tell us a little about who you are, where you live and what you do?
I grew up in Hawaii, but currently live in Las Vegas. I came out here right after I graduated high school to attend the Art Institute because Hawaii didn’t have art schools at the time. While in school I met my husband, got married, had two boys, and we’ve been in Vegas ever since where I work as a fine artist, graphic designer, and instructor at IADT.
I have always known you to be a creative individual. How did you get into art?
I always felt the need to get images out of my head when I was little and kept a lot of journals that I’d write and doodle in. My sister and I have an 8-year age gap, so that being said we never had anything in common so I had to play on my own and keep my self occupied. I wrote a lot of stories and illustrated them. Kind of like imaginary friends on paper, but none of them were human. They were all magical little animals. I still prefer to paint animals to this day. I think they are much more interesting than humans.
Since I know you personally, I also know that you are a graphic designer and also an instructor! How did you get into that? Do you prefer one over the other?
I’ve always wanted to teach! But what I didn’t expect was to be teaching at a college, I always told myself maybe high school? Or maybe even a Jr. high art class, but college never really crossed my mind. A good friend of mine got hired as the program chair at IADT and wanted to build a solid team of new instructors and asked if I was interested. Before interviewing I sat in one of her classes to see if it was for me, and I fell in love. The rest is history and I’ve been there for 3 years now and love what I do. I love school because I’m a huge nerd. If I weren’t an instructor, I’d probably be a student.
Also, I don’t think I prefer one to the other because I teach what I love to do.
Do you gravitate towards a certain style of painting, designing, overall creating?
I think I’m still and will forever be trying to find my style. I am inspired and love so many different art movements, artists, and styles, that it’s only natural to include a little bit of everything in certain art pieces. I also love to experiment. But when it comes down to it, the core of my fine artwork has a strong Pop-Surrealism background and influence.
Design work is a bit trickier since I work for clients, but one thing I am a fan of is fresh and clean work. That will NEVER go out of style. I like to keep up with design trends and incorporate them when I can to keep my work up to date and marketable.
On the topic of instruction – what is the constant question that your students ask, or a topic or concept that they tend to struggle with?
Funny you should ask, but believe it or not, a reoccurring question I get at least once a quarter is “How much should I charge for my work?” This is such a broad question and I don’t give any solid answers, but instead try to give some advice on finding their worth. I also let them know that some of my best portfolio pieces were done for free, but the experience and exposure were priceless. It gives them a lot to think about and it has them view the graphic design and art world in a whole other perspective.
When you start a painting, do you have a routine or way of doing things? Does it have to be quiet or do you have tv or music on?
When I start a painting, it’s always intense! I feel like a surgeon about to perform heart surgery. I need all of my tools ready and laid out perfectly. I need all of my tools, cleaned, and I need to be focused. Once I sit down I am NOT getting up unless the house is on fire (because there is nothing more frustrating than having your concentration interrupted!) After I triple check my work area to make sure everything I need is there (including coffee and extra water,) I put on my painting playlist and slip on my earphones. Everyone knows not to bother or talk to me till I’m done.
I notice that you paint bunnies A LOT. Why bunnies? Is there a meaning behind it, your spirit animal perhaps?
Besides being cuddly and cute, I’ve always had rabbits growing up. I’ve read that rabbits represent creativity and fear and always felt that was an interesting combination….
Where do you get your inspiration from? What motivates you to create?
I love and collect antique children’s books. I love any nostalgic imagery and the books I have are filled with amazing illustrations. My favorite illustrator is Richard Scarry.
What motivates you to create?
Not too sound overly emo, but the best motivation I have ever had was a broken heart. I paint my best work when I’m depressed.
This is a random question but what are your pet peeves?
When people are late. Biggest pet peeve ever.
Honorable mentions: Bad parenting (like parents who bring their kids to R rated movies!) people who misspell “they’re,” assholes who take up two parking spaces, stupid baby names, people who go shopping during peak hours and use a bazillion coupons, dirty keyboards.
Ok so now, the opposite of that question – what do you love, admire, obsess about?
Typography, Radiohead, alchemy and symbolism, analogous color pallets, blood, thick cuts of fatty marbled meat, pictures of ice cream, cholas, silly tattoos, sushi, human anatomy, vintage children books, hello kitty, my kids, my husband, and my best friends.
What goes on in that brain of yours? Do you have deep thoughts about life’s greatest mysteries, or do you get paranoid about the government watching your every move?
I am always thinking of my purpose, because I think everyone in this universe has a purpose.
Any guilty pleasures?
Food porn, silly pictures of animals on the internet and making up captions to what they would say and how they would sound like out loud, vampire shows, reading Teen Vogue instead of adult Vogue. Ugh, I’ve already said too much.
Jesus or Satan?
One of my favorite movies of all time is Constantine, and I’m always daydreaming of being the female version of him. How rad would that be? Anyway, team Jesus all the way. WWJDOMGFTW.
If God (or aliens) decided to destroy us and it was up to you to represent us, what would you say are the redeeming qualities of the human race?
Despite our imperfections and capacity of evil and greed (let’s forget about all of that for a quick second,) humans will never stop fighting for what they believe in. We’re the only species that keeps advancing; we’ve built pyramids, been to the moon and cured diseases. Regardless of some of our actions, which can be ugly, we have the ability create beautiful things.
What do you think about art on the Internet and the amount of copying people do (whether it’s intentional or not)?
I think it’s more common than not, especially with young artists just starting out. It’s a cycle. We all get inspired and subconsciously (or not) we’ve “borrowed” elements or techniques we’ve admired and included them within our own artwork. Now, if someone reproduces your work, and continues to do so, that’s a problem. But there is nothing wrong with being inspired and openly letting people know where the original idea came from, for the sake of not looking like a douche. The idea behind this is to eventually find yourself and your own style. There is a difference between being a reproduction artist vs. someone completely original and known for his or her own unique style.
Speaking of the internets, what websites do you frequent?
The usuals. For design I like to check out what the people at Behance or Dribbble are up to. I have a handful of artists I like to follow, including Shermgrafik.com. Then of course guilty pleasures like Facebook, Pinterest and Allrecipes.com (because I love to cook.) And if I remember, I visit Postsecret on Sundays.
Are you a lover or a hater?
I wasn’t sure so I googled “Lover or Hater Quiz.” I took it and it said I was 50/50. It also gave me some advice: “I know you mean well, but you should be more open minded, and socialize more.” After taking the quiz, I feel slightly more hater than not.
Any advice or words of wisdom to those who are just starting out in the creative world?
Read “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon. Also, try to give back when you can. Not every gig has to be a paying one. Paint a mural for your community or design a logo for a charity out of the goodness of your heart (I love doing benefit shows and knowing my piece will help towards a good cause.) You were given a talent; never stop being thankful for that. Like any good thing in this world, nourish it and appreciate it. Keep evolving and even when you’re satisfied with a piece of art or design, start brainstorming how the next one will be 10 times better. Know there will always be someone better than you. Stay humble.
Is there anything else you’d like to say or let people know about yourself?
No animals were harmed during the making of this interview.
Any social media links or places we can follow Roxy or buy your art?
For sporadic postings which will maybe range from once a day to once every 6 months (horrible, I know) check out my new Tumblr page:
Stalk me on Facebook!
facebook.com/roxybmontoya for art
facebook.com/roxybmontoyadesign for graphic design work
porviida for IG, because I am obsessed with Instagram!
And for any other questions, love letters, complaints, work inquiry, or if you’re looking for a random internet penpal who may or may not write you back, I’m available at firstname.lastname@example.org :)