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Interview with MJ Lindo

In anticipation of tomorrow's fantastic print release with San Francisco, California based artist MJ Lindo, we sat down to ask the talented young artist a few questions which she excitedly answered with wonderful details and some deeply personal thoughts.  You can read them below!

Tell us a bit about yourself, where you're from and where you live now?

I was born in Miami moved to Oklahoma, then moved to Canada (Toronto for 5 years), then to Nicaragua where my parents are from and then Santa Rosa, CA for the last seventeen years.

When did you first begin to create art?

I have always made art since I was a very little girl. I have always been drawn to it and became more attached as I grew older, moving around so much.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

I have a lot of illustrative influences.  I love the Studio Ghibli films, Sailor Moon, Norman Rockwell… Disney films as well!

Could you tell us a bit about your release with us?

So, the piece is called "All I want to do is save the world" and a lot of it has to do with me dealing with anxiety and stress. I had the worst year of my life last year and I think I have been using my art recently as protection.  I love incorporating a large figure with small animals so that the animals have a sense of protection and security from the "mother like" figure.  I also like to add a sense of warmth to my pieces whether it be through the color palette or the fact that the figure is holding a warm cup of tea.  A lot of the time, when I am in an uncomfortable situation I start to shiver and feel cold, even if it’s not, so it’s another way to show a sense of security.

What's a normal day in the studio like for you?

A normal day in my studio consists of chasing my dog out (I have a 140 lb Neapolitan mastiff who loves the taste of expensive art brushes) and cleaning up before I start.  Specifically, when I have deadlines my studio becomes a chaotic bloodbath of paint and tape and paper.  I don't know how it gets so messy so quick!  But I can’t start a day that way so I make myself a cup of tea, turn on some music and clean so I can start to paint.  Then I put on a podcast or listen to some Japanese audio courses so I can start painting.  I try to film most of my pieces as well.  So a lot of the time I also spend fighting with my lighting and camera equipment.  Gotta love technology!

What do you like to do when you're not in the studio?

Well I have a full time job doing customer service so all of my extra time is spent in my art studio (it’s basically like having two full time jobs).  I wake up at 5:30 am to paint for a few hours before going to work, then I come home and paint.  But right now all my other extra time is spent wedding planning!  Ahh!  My ideal situation however would be taking up some sort of martial art, I really would love to learn Jiu Jitsu.

What's the best artistic advice you've ever received?

I've been given two pieces of advice in my life that have stuck, one by an asshole teacher I had that wanted me only to paint what he considered relevant and wanted me to throw a ton politics into my work.  He basically told me what I painted was shit and that it had no meaning.  Which pushed me to work harder and prove him wrong.  And the other piece of advice was to paint not thinking of selling.  I truly paint what I love.  And at this point I am in competition with myself and working to get better than where I am right now.

How do you feel about social media's influence on the art world?

Right now social media is so important but also incredibly frustrating.  Right now we have the tools to become self sufficient through our art and platforms like Instagram were perfect for artists up until recently when bought out by Facebook.  Social media can bring you up and then kick you back down so quickly.  I think it’s important to stay consistent and try and put your best foot forward with social media but equally important to stay true to what your vision is.

What's coming up for you next?

I always have art shows coming up and I am really trying to focus on YouTube and producing better, more planned out and higher quality content.

If you could visit one place where would it be and why?

Japan!! I’ve been wanting to go there since I was a little girl, I’ve been trying to learn the language and I love the little bits I know about the culture.  I have always appreciated different cultures than my own and I have been drawn to Japanese culture ever since I can remember.  I hope to visit next year ^__^

"All I want to do is Save the World" will be released at 1PM PST, Thursday July 13th in our shop.