We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrea Macasadia and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Andrea, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
For as long as I could remember making things and adding pieces of my creative style anywhere I could, whether it be overdoing it in a PowerPoint for class or overdressing to go to the grocery store, it all brought me so much joy and I felt so fulfilled. I truly believe I couldn’t have taken any other path other than that of a creative career. My earliest memory of the actual starting point leading to a creative career was when I was 5. My parents set up an art gallery themed party for my 5th birthday showcasing all my random drawings and paintings I’ve made over the years. It made me so happy that I got to make as many pieces as I wanted to fill the walls in our house. Looking back at it I am so grateful to have had my parents nurture my creative tendencies at such a young age. By then I knew I had the potential to be an artist of sorts. I went on in my journey of higher education with no expectations for my future career. I thought about becoming an engineer mostly because it sounded the most practical even though I was horrible at math. Going to community college undeclared really relieved some stress off me. I had time to figure it out. After a few architecture classes, I found that it was a subject where I could really let my creativity do it’s thing. After I committed to studying architecture, I never looked back and here we are. In my opinion, the world could always use more minds in these creative careers. Being “creative” isn’t just defined by being able to design or draw, being creative means being able to think outside the box to find solutions to problems that could only have come from your perspective on the world. I think this technical way of thinking brought me to pursuing my education in architectural design. Architecture is the perfect balance of technical and creative thinking. Coming up in Southeast San Diego also has had an impact on my choice to nurture my creativity into the career path it is today. Being surrounded by such talented and driven people trying to make a name for themselves and the neighborhood we came from really pushed me to be who I am. Being a young, woman of color from Paradise Hills pushing way in the architecture and design world is something I’ve never seen before so I really wanted to become a role model in this field for the young people where I came from and to send out the message that it doesn’t matter where you came from or the limit of your resources, success in any creative field can be what you make it. Trusting in my creativity and the process has brought me higher than I thought I ever could’ve gone.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m currently studying architecture at NewSchool in Downtown San Diego but I also freelance in illustration, graphic design, music production, and photo/video editing. I use all this as a creative outlet outside of the creative work I do in school, it’s my version of work life balance. I love looking back at the videos, illustrations, and designs I’ve created and I almost validate myself looking back at the growth of my style over the years. These days I’m finding more and more people around the world up and coming like me, architecture students who also apply their design skills into different creative mediums. Our styles are all so different and I’m inspired by all of these creators I come across. I think what does set us apart is our unique style and process. I can say with 100% certainty that there is no one else in this world who has the exact creative process and ideas that live in my mind. Like all creatives, my style is unique. I’m often inspired by others but the work I put out is distinctive to me as an artist. I think at this point in my life I’m proud of all the happiness I’ve been able to bring to people with my commission work and all the validation that I’m in the right place in terms of my career path and freelance work by the people around me, my peers, faculty, and even strangers. It’s just something that continually makes me excited for the future. To sum it up, I’m most proud of myself for choosing happiness for myself and putting myself in a field where my work is valued and where I’m able to grow and nurture my creativity further. I’ve slowly learned to really put myself out there in terms of my work, so my illustrations, designs, and architectural style; I would say becoming a “people person” and learning how to collaborate with others in any kind of situation has brought me to where I am today, professionally. I’ve picked up a lot of things from Community college and even at NewSchool, where I’m currently studying architecture, about professionalism in the field and really learning to stay true to your designs and ideas. I’ve learned to take criticism in a beneficial way in which I can take it and learn something new about myself and my work style and ethic with it. It was more so a journey of self-discovery and understanding my limits as to how far I’m willing to change my ideas. Ultimately the biggest thing that continues to push me is my drive and trust in my own skills. My design/illustration style won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I know the best I could do is my best, and that satisfies me. I can’t say it was the smoothest journey, there were some doubts and moments of uncertainty super early on (so in high school), but after I took my risk with steering towards the creative field it was all smooth sailing from there. The biggest hurdle for me was my doubt in myself. I didn’t think I could be successful as an young artist. Little did I know I would find a whole community of creatives in the coming years. Looking back, in high school, there was a really strong pressure to get into a UC or CSU school right off the bat and like many of my peers I felt that pressure. So I applied to all the UC schools for civil engineering. I’m not knocking civil engineers (in fact I’ll have to work alongside many in the near future and understand everything they do) but I knew it wasn’t for me. It was more of a safety net and a front that I put up as all my friends applied to all the same schools. When I didn’t get in it was almost a relief, I knew I wasn’t ready to commit to a field I knew almost nothing about. After starting at community college, I was really given time to find what I really liked. There was even a moment I thought about majoring in anthropology or urban planning, but there were a lot of common threads in these fields of studies and that was space. The buildings and spaces that were being occupied. Culture, people, and the urban environment can all be expressed through architecture and buildings. We literally live our everyday live in and outside of these structures. So to say after getting over the challenge of finding something I could really put all my creative energy into it’s been the best learning experience of my life, and here we are. I’ve discovered a lot about myself and how far I could take my creative tendencies. From school and other creatives I’ve picked up knowledge and tools that I could apply to my personal work and my life. Something I carry with me and in a lot of aspects in my life is how to handle criticism. In architecture, designs and ideas are always critiqued and I’ve learned to never take it personally and that really takes off a lot of stress on my ego and my mental health. From that I’ve learned to be confident and not so competitive in the work I put out into the world because I know my ideas and those of my peers are all unique, I love learning from and adapting different ideas and perspectives from the people I collaborate with. This is the advice I give to many who may experience imposter syndrome. “Anyone can create something, but no one can design what you have in your mind”

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would want them to feel the most at home, so obviously I would take them to the places I love. There are so many amazing things to see in this city. I’m probably bias being from here but there’s so many cool things to see and do that a single week cannot do it justice. I know Balboa Park is one of the hottest spots for tourists and to some San Diegans it might be overrated but its popular with good reason. I would want them to see the SD treasure that is Balboa Park but I would take them on a walk, one that I have frequently gone on with friends in the pandemic, from Bankers Hill through the park. The variety in the architecture in the area bordering North Park and Downtown is amazing (coming from someone from southeast San Diego). It’s one of my favorite things to do to get outside more. Then I would stop for coffee and a sandwich at Influx Café in Golden Hill. Maybe in a time outside the pandemic, I would take us for some day drinking and a walk around Little Italy. Another spot I would have to suggest would be Golden Hill park to hangout and enjoy the views of downtown. If we were looking for an event or cool flea market there’s a local gallery spot and hub for local artists and creatives made and brought up by amazing people host some of the coolest music, fashion, and art events, 1835 Studios in Sherman Heights. Being from a little more down south we have to go see some of my favorite spots. I would stop at Humberto’s on Broadway or 43rd for a taste of that Mexican food San Diego is so famous for (it’s my personal favorite). I spent a lot of my childhood between Paradise Hills, National City and Imperial Beach. PH and NC are up and coming with more local businesses these days so I would recommend taking a drive around, especially if you’re looking for the best Filipino food in San Diego (don’t come for me). Imperial Beach is also growing since I’ve been there. Getting Ice cream bars from Oasis and hanging out at Imperial Beach is always a good time. On the topic of beaches, my favorite has to be Silver Strand. It’s so far from everywhere else it feels like a completely different place. Going back up the coast either in a car or on bikes brings us almost full circle and driving around golden hour on a clear day in SD is to be beat. There’s nothing like it.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
To my family, friends, and community in PH that continually hype up and support my creative ventures. I am no one without you.

Website: https://andreamacasadia.myportfolio.com/

Instagram: @badgrldre & @artgrldre

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/andrea-macasadia

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaMacasadia

Image Credits
Sadeem Almutairi, Kristen Trinidad, Jacky Ang, Lauren Butao, Eric Olermo, Simon Abera

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