We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Sandra Mack-Valencia. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Sandra below.
Sandra, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. It’s always helpful to hear about times when someone’s had to take a risk – how did they think through the decision, why did they take the risk, and what ended up happening. We’d love to hear about a risk you’ve taken.
That’s a good question. Four years ago I decided to quit my office job and become a full-time artist. That was a big risk, considering that during my adult life I always held a day-job, and I was used to the structure and financial security that it brings along. However, I had this “itch” in my mind. The “What ifs” started piling up in my head, and sooner than later, that itch became a goal of pursuing painting as my full-time job. Here I am, four years later, and I couldn’t be happier about having taken that leap of faith.
Sandra, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I am most proud of calling myself a full-time artist. This is not an easy career path, and being a Latina immigrant doesn’t make things exactly easier. However, I was born with this “stubbornness” deficiency, lol. Being determined, disciplined and passionate about what I do is what keeps me going, and I have no intentions of stopping -ever!
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
Yes! Growing up, I had this romantic idea about art being so pure that money attached to the idea of making artwork was such a sacrilegious thing to do. Now that I pay bills, and like the rest of humans, I need to eat to survive, plus go on a couple of vacations for my mental health…I had to unlearn that concept.
Earning a living from making art is not only OK, it is amazing! There is nothing wrong with making money from your passion. However, I am always careful to find a market for my paintings and not the other way around. As much as I like money, it doesn’t determine my creative process, but I also don’t feel bad about marketing my work and finding an audience for it. Selling feels good!
How can we best help foster a strong, supportive environment for artists and creatives?
Acknowledge, appreciate, and care. Those three words come to mind with this question.
Being an artist is a lonely profession. It is also often overlooked by society, and it still suffers from the “starving artist” stereotyped idea. A first step to supporting creatives would be to recognize that pursuing art as a career is as valuable as being a doctor, an accountant or a lawyer. Show appreciation by attending your artist friend’s exhibitions, or commenting on his/her posts, introduce him/her to new people that you think might be interested in what they do, and if you love it and have the means, buy that work of art that would make you and the artist happy.
- Website: www.SandraMackValencia.com
- Instagram: @sandramackval
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sandra.mackvalencia
Matthew Papa, Paul Takeuchi, Kenneth Fisher-Mack, Janet Montagne