“Be mindful of what you consume visually every day.”: Monica Ahanonu, Catapult Artist for April 2020
“I try and represent many types of beauty to show that everyone is beautiful in their own way.”
Monica Ahanonu: For me, being an artist, the way I am currently, wasn’t something that came early in life. One thing that has always stuck out to me are words a classmate had said to me in the sixth grade. I spent the entire class period drawing a children’s book. Afterward, I read it to her. While laughing out loud at my wild drawings, she said, “I swear, when you get older you’re going to be doing this for a living.”
While I was an intern, I received a lot of positive reactions to my illustrations and color combinations that I thought were things that everyone naturally understood how to do. This really helped me fully believe that my interests in becoming an artist professionally were valid and possible.
3. Use a planner or calendar and make lists. This allows you to see the gaps in your schedule where you can fit time to work on your side hustle and passions outside of school or a full-time job.
4. Know your industry. Research the industry you want to get into: the steps it takes to get a job in that industry, the specific job(s) you want in that industry. Research what the day-to-day is like for someone doing the job you want and see if that’s a day-to-day lifestyle you would enjoy.
5. Keep yourself motivated by putting up quotes and affirmations around your living space or reminders in your phone that keeps you in a positive mindset throughout your day.
6. Diversify your friends not just by race, but by age. You learn so much from people that have either gone through what you are going through or younger people who may be more knowledgeable about specific new technologies or trends taking off.
7. Be mindful of what you consume visually every day. Follow people and things on social media that inspire you and motivate you. If you feel something isn’t serving you mentally or lifting you up mentally, just hit that unfollow button.
8. Do what makes you excited, do what you are excited about and interested in that very moment and if that interest changes, that’s okay. If you are really passionate about something, you will focus on it and become very good at it faster than something you are forcing yourself to do.
Love what you said about diversifying your community along lines of age as well as race. How have you found community within the art world?
Instagram and Soho House have been two places where I have been able to find a great community within the art world. I love Instagram in that I can connect with other artists all around the world and we can support each other as well as inspire each other as we create new work and go through the challenges of developing new ideas and visuals as an artist.
Soho House is a community where I am surrounded by artists in so many fields as well and often from other areas of the world. I love that Soho House members travel so much so you are always learning about things going on in other industries in other cities within the US as well as across the ocean on another continent. Everyone is very passionate about what they do whatever field they are in and a majority of the members are in some form of a creative field. It’s nice to take a step outside of my work and the projects I am on to hear about what they are working on or creative problems they are trying to solve.
How has the process of creating been during these turbulent times?
My process of creating at first was more difficult as I rely on social interactions to balance out the long period of time where I am working alone. It took me a while to find that balance again while having to stay at home by myself. I have now developed a few routines for my day as well as found other ways to get that social interaction and mental break from work while staying safe during these difficult times.
Social media has been a big help seeing how others have begun to spend their time and habits they’ve developed that have helped them get through the days when inspiration isn’t coming. I have also been watching a lot of documentaries and listening to more podcasts to get my mind wandering into areas I don’t normally dive into.