Everything Is Okay: Monique Munoz on Art, Development, and Strength.

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Monique Munoz is an up and coming artist out of Toronto, Canada that is creating magnificent psychedelic art. Influenced by artists like Hayao Miyazaki, Alex Grey, and Japanese Role Playing Games, Monique is creating a more Eastern (almost minimalist feel when viewed side by side with some of her contemporaries) standard here in the Western world.

With many digital artists gravitating towards more realistic pieces, it is quite refreshing to see an artist produce works that are unflinchingly whimsical and upbeat. With such an eye for color, it is no wonder that Monique's work has captured the eye of gallery owners and clothing distributors.

Marvelous messages about childhood, compassion, and positivity are prevalent themes throughout her work and it's wonderful to see that she is beginning to make waves with her art.

As she continues to grow as an artist, I was growing increasingly curious about is how her perception is changing on what it means to be an artist.

"I’ve noticed that my art is more of a release of emotions now. I think it was always like that, it’s just now I’m a lot more self aware of what art has and continues to do for me. I’ve always loved drawing but recently, I’ve noticed that art really gave me a way to express my emotions when times were rough growing up. I was very fortunate to have an out from the chaos.  When I was younger, I just wanted to draw all the time; it was a compulsion I couldn’t control. I didn’t understand it."

I got the chance to ask Monique some questions in this new interview.

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Prox: It’s been a while since our last interview! What are some new circumstances and revelations in your life that have contributed to the way you work these days?

Monique: Yes it has ! Thank you for interviewing me again. It’s always a pleasure.

Well, I had many revelations last summer. I had a full conversation with my aunt who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. This was a heavy day for me, as I listened to someone expressing their thoughts on their life.

This day really made me think about the fragility of life.

It also made me realize how hard we are on ourselves.

"Everything is okay" is a powerful lesson to learn for peace. I know I can work on that one myself. Although incredibly sad, I felt happy I could be there to lend an ear. I felt really connected to her. Other people for me are a powerful source of learning. 

My aunt has recently been declared cancer free for those wondering. She is a strong woman and overcame it.

These kinds of emotional moments always inspire me to draw.

Prox: Could you tell us a bit about the growth and evolution you’ve noticed in your art in recent years? Are psychedelics and spirituality still a resource that you use to aid in your process? 

Monique: I realized how important it is for me to express myself. Every time I finish a doodle or illustration, I feel so accomplished and I get a sense of release. This is especially true now. I work 40 hours a week as an illustrator; I’m constantly drawing for someone else. So I really think it’s important for me to draw for myself.

I think that psychedelics and spiritualty will always be a source of inspiration for me. Although, I don’t use psychedelics nearly as much anymore, I am forever grateful of the knowledge I gained through them. And I think they’re such powerful tools. Learning and growing will always be a life long journey for me. I’m just always asking a lot of questions.

Prox: As you mature as a human being, what does it mean to create to you? Has art gained a deeper meaning for you now as opposed to when you were younger?

Monique: I’ve noticed that my art is more of a release of emotions now. I think it was always like that, it’s just now I’m a lot more self aware of what art has and continues to do for me. I’ve always loved drawing but recently, I’ve noticed that art really gave me a way to express my emotions when times were rough growing up. I was very fortunate to have an out from the chaos. 

When I was younger, I just wanted to draw all the time; it was a compulsion I couldn’t control. I didn’t understand it.

Prox: How has art helped you develop your voice and connect with yourself and others? What do you attempt to say to your viewers with your pieces?

Monique: I think I’m still developing my voice. I’m trying to refine it so I can better relay the messages and feelings I want to give my viewers. My art has definitely helped me connect with others. I don’t really share my intimate inner thoughts with many people, only those who are close to me, so my art gave me a way to do that.  

What I’m really trying to get my viewers to see is me.  How I feel, how I think, how I see the world, etc.  It’s so very hard to see someone without being clouded by your personal history and judgments so I love that art is a very pure way for someone to see me.  I hope that me, putting my soul out there, with all its experience and emotions, can bring up some of your own experiences and then we can connect. 

Prox: Are there any new mediums that you’d like to explore and/or incorporate into your craft?

Monique: Yes! I’d really love to incorporate more gouache and acrylics into my work. I noticed over the past year, I’ve been a lot more digital. I’d like to incorporate more traditional mediums. I always love the freedom I get from splashing water colours on a piece of paper. I’d also love to try some new abstract painting techniques.

Prox: Could you discuss your current work setup? 

Monique: My current work set up is a drafting table for my water colours and traditional mediums. And right beside it is my computer desk, with my iMac and Cintiq. I have tones of artworks that inspire me all over the wall above my desk. They range from works from Kidchan to Alex Grey

I’d love to one day get a bigger studio so I can have lots of greenery around me. Being surrounded by nature gives me the biggest sense of peace.

Prox: Any artists, creatives, intellectuals, musicians, or movies/shows you’d like to recommend? 

Monique: Lately, I’ve been very into talks by Jordan Peterson. It was a treat to hear him speak. I’ve always loved and studied psychology in my spare time. He also gave me a very unique perspective into the Christian religion. I love learning about religions and different schools of thought.

I don’t necessarily have to believe them, but I am intrigued by alternative points of view.

I’ve just recently seen Ram Dass, Going Home on Netflix. In this short doc, Ram Dass reflects on his life. This one got me very emotional. I enjoy these types of spiritual documentaries a lot. I felt very inspired afterwards.

Prox: Is there any information you’d like to share about upcoming projects and releases you have in store for us?

Monique: I found a wonderful local artist that would love to work with me. So you just might see my artwork on murals in Toronto soon ha ha.

Prox: Final Thoughts?

Monique: Thank you for listening to me.

You learn more about Monique and purchase her work, here.

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