Today we’d like to introduce you to Monica Guerrero.
Hi Monica, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Growing up in Lima, Perú, I was the kid always painting and drawing, dreaming of becoming an artist. I loved collecting stationery, especially Sarah Kay’s vintage designs. Strawberry Shortcake and Snoopy were my other favorites!
But instead of pursuing art, my life took me on a different route. I moved to Germany and also lived for a short time in Switzerland; I loved it there, and love the museums. I returned to Peru with the goal of getting an Art History degree, which I did. I have a degree in Art History with a focus in Latin American Baroque Art. I love the research and to play the detective with art pieces. Also, it feels really great to be working steps away from masterpieces.
It was later in life around 2011when I was living in Tampa that I rediscovered my love for art. Back in Peru I took classes in ceramics and drawing at places like Escuela de Bellas Artes and the Mokichi Okada Foundation. But it is here in Tampa where I learned to make pieces on the potter’s wheel. I took classes at the former Hyde Park Art Studio in Tampa, where I learned so much from my instructors Kathy Pena and Scott Aubrey and made the best friends. Later I took classes from the master potter, Charlie Parker, in St. Pete.
I started selling my pottery pieces at Florida Craft Art and did a few small shows with my studio classmates and the Tampa Etsy Group. I noticed that people were very much drawn to the images I draw on my cups and bowls, but they couldn’t afford to pay for the unique pieces. People suggested that I make something really affordable with my drawings, which is when I began making greeting cards, and that has opened up the whole imaginary world I have inside of me. There is so much more one can draw on paper than on clay, and it is way more affordable. Once I’ve painted my watercolor, it gets digitalized, and I can print many different items with that design.
And that’s where I am now: I opened my business, Designs by Moni, a line of whimsical stationery and home decor inspired by my imaginary whimsical world. I sell my artwork in stores and galleries in Florida, Louisiana, and North Carolina and online on Etsy, Society 6, and Redbubble.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
For me creating is the easy part but selling and marketing is the greater challenge. That is why I love the galleries that represent me: they do the hard part of selling. I’m currently focused on increasing my social media presence and getting my name out there. And I am planning on doing more shows. I will be at the Shopapalooza Show in St. Pete the Thanksgiving Weekend, November 27th and 28th.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
If you look at my work, you’ll see that all of them are whimsical and fun. Regardless of the medium, I tend to draw happy stories and characters and an idyllic imaginary world where bunnies make pottery, chickens do yoga, squirrels are playing, and birds are having a good time.
I feel enormous joy when people tell me that my drawings make them happy, and they buy my pieces as gifts for their loved ones.
I draw what comes to mind. It is like having voices in one’s head that only quiet down once they are part of real life. Sometimes they need to be on paper, and sometimes they need to be on clay. I don’t follow trends because I’m never aware of them; I am busy trying to create my own things.
Can you share something surprising about yourself?
I have been thinking a lot about this question. I guess what most people don’t know about me is that I have been dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis since I was 4 years old. For whatever reason, I always thought that I have to keep that a secret. I used to disappear from life and friends when I had flairs. Then I moved to the US and noticed that people are very open about almost everything and very supportive. I remember after I had my first knee replacement, I was at the beach a bit self-conscious about my big scar and a woman saw me and asked me if I had a knee replacement. Her forwardness in asking about something so private took me by surprise, and when I told her yes, she said she had her knees replaced as well, and she also said that it will get better, and I will be glad I had the surgery. She was right!
After that, I was no longer shy about my scars. Here I have learned that I should feel proud that I recovered and that something so terrible as RA did not stop me from fulfilling my dreams. Also, if I can do it, anyone can! So, in case of a child reading this, I would like to tell her or him, that life gets better and having RA is nothing to be ashamed of.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.Designsbymoni.com
- Instagram: @designsbymoni
- Facebook: designsbymoni