ARTIST INTERVIEW: CATALINA CHENGBy clubartrepreneur
MEET ARTREPRENEUR: CATALINA CHENG
CA: Please share a little about yourself and your artwork!
CC: I am a Tampa-native multidisciplinary fine artist and recent graduate from the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business. Drawing from my daydreams, I utilize illustration, ceramics, printmaking, and digital art to manifest my own prismatic universe in a lighthearted and humorous way. Collectively, my works act as a record of the emotions I experience—the strongest being love. I am a romantic and strive to create objects that have an extraordinary effect on myself and others. I aim to make people laugh and incite the same joy that I experience while creating.
CA: What does the word ARTREPRENEUR mean to you?
CC: It is an all-encompassing job: artists who make and sell their own work take on the role of marketing/advertising team, curator, sales, financial manager, web designer, promoter, photographer, and social media manager. In this business, clientele are not just customers but patrons of the arts. It is gratifying to be in charge of the whole process from conception to sale.
CA: What is some of the best business advice you have been given in this creative industry?
CC: Some of the best advice I have gotten while working in the creative industry has come at times when I’ve been snubbed in business deals. “There are instances in life when you have control over an outcome, and there are instances when you don’t. When the situation is out your hands, you can only control how you react.” You can feel down about bad deals or you can grow and learn from the experience to become a savvier business person.
CA: What is currently inspiring your work at the moment?
CC: I am most inspired by the things in life that exhilarate me. When I am not making art, I am either skateboarding or spending time with the ones I love. Being in love and skateboarding are similar because the thought of falling and getting hurt can be intimidating, but it is the most fun and thrilling experience when you go all in. I think that joy and excitement emanates from my art. When the only representation of people like you is stereotypes, that is all people will see. Every action becomes about denying or affirming their preconceived notions. It is my duty to keep creating and representing myself as accurately as possible. My work provokes thought about inequalities and see through my eyes. I am proud to be a Colombian and Chinese American woman and aim to create art that captures the dichotomy and duality of these parts of myself.
CA: When did you first realize that you wanted to pursue your passion to the fullest?
CC: I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t pursuing art and business. When I was six, I was sculpting and selling clay dog figurines. It has never been a question of whether I should pursue art in a way that I can support myself. To best prepare to enter the art industry, I decided to go business school. A lot of times I see artists getting taken advantage of by corporations and I decided to prevent that by learning the business side of things myself.
CA: What advice would you share with aspiring Artrepreneur’s?
CC: The only thing that can stop you from pursuing your own art business is yourself. Self-sabotage and negative self-talk can be your worst enemy. Do not compare yourself to others. When viewing other people’s accomplishments, it is important not to let jealousy fill your thoughts, but to instead use their achievements as something to aspire to.
CA: How do you seek out opportunities and stay motivated?
CC: The convenience of being able to connect with others online has helped expand beyond my bubble and opened up the world around me. Through social media, I’m able to connect with artists I admire and talk about their practices. These connections have led to opportunities to show and sell my art in the community. At these events, I am able watch people interact with my art. A typical response is a big smile or a laugh and it is touching to watch something I made have a positive effect on someone. Making work that brings joy to others while expressing my inner thoughts and feelings is something that motivates me to make and share my art.