We had the good fortune of connecting with Brenda Mak and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brenda, why did you pursue a creative career?
For as long as I can remember, art has been something that I’ve always gravitated towards, whether it was in the form of after-school cartoons, a beautifully illustrated storybook, or a brand-new pack of markers to color in my latest childhood “masterpiece”. I had no concrete reason back then why I loved that world so much, but as I got older, I came to realize that it was a form of therapy for me, as it was always soothing to put pencil to paper and draw whatever came to mind. Pursuing an artistic career allowed me to come full circle and realize that it’s always been my dream to want to create immersive, infinite worlds and characters for a living that my childhood self would’ve been proud of and excited to see.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When it comes to my art, I love creating pieces that have bright, saturated color palettes with a lot of linework details. I enjoy coming up with fun, whimsical pieces that make people smile and hopefully remind them of only the good moments in life. What I’m most proud of is the amount of hard work I’ve put in to improve my art skills and the noticeable differences I see every year. In these past two years, I’ve taken the time to really figure out what my next step is and what I really want out of my artistic career. It wasn’t until very recently when I was helping out a past art student of mine that I realized that character designing was what I loved most. That moment for me was really the point that set me on the path to where I am now. This year was definitely a difficult year (as it was for everyone, understandably), but I decided to take advantage of the downtime and create a whole new character design portfolio for myself, something I wouldn’t have had the confidence to jump into in the past. It definitely wasn’t a straight path for me when it came to the arts, and it wasn’t easy because like many other artists, I do tend to struggle with “imposter syndrome”, and in those moments I tend to feel doubtful about my skills and whether or not I’m on the right path. I’ve learned that it’s okay to take a break when you really need to, so that you can rest and recharge and in turn, perhaps you’ll end up finding inspiration for your work when you’re not looking.
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’m big on food, breakfast especially, so we’d definitely be going to more than a couple breakfast places. Russel’s in Pasadena is definitely one of my favorite spots, a bustling, charming little diner off Colorado Blvd that always seems busy no matter when you go. I also love visiting the Getty Museum as it’s so big, you could spend hours upon hours there. Also, when visiting California, who wouldn’t stop by the beach? My favorite area is Laguna, as the water there seems just a bit nicer, the crowds a little less crazy depending on the day you go- there’s nothing better then the warm sun on your back.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I owe a lot to my closest friends, some of which are also artists, who have always supported and lifted me up. My good friends, artists Chi Nguyen (Instagram.com/Chiezart) and Kim Alderete (Instagram.com/LoveFromMyLola)