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

Hi David, why did you pursue a creative career?
Ever since I can remember, I have always been a creative person. You would always find me sitting at the kitchen table, drawing or painting something, or maybe even trying to create an object of some sorts out of construction paper, pipe cleaners, etc. That was the kid I was and it has stuck with me ever since. I am a visual learner, so I always gravitated towards effective and creative visuals to help me learn something or understand a concept. I found that art and design had a way of making me feel calm, lost in my work, and appreciate the design of life through good visuals. As a child, I always knew I wanted to pursue a creative career, I just didn’t know what yet. When I went to college, I still had no idea what I was doing in life, but eventually learned where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing, hence the career I am pursuing now.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Given I live my life with Type 1 Diabetes, and have been living with it for the past 12 years, I have always struggled in my teenage years with this life I called Diabetes. When I was still fresh in college, I knew I wanted to do something in the world of Diabetes, I just didn’t know what yet. I searched and searched for the right career, but could never find it. When I decided to study graphic design, I was still unsure of my emphasis. I still, in the back of my mind, wanted to incorporate Diabetes into my career somehow, as a way to deal with my own Diabetes, as well as help inspire and motivate others to live beyond their diagnosis. When I fell in love with photography and digital illustrations, everything CLICKED! I had always been shy to open up about my Diabetes, but I pushed myself to create a piece of work for one of my projects centered around Diabetes. As hard as that was, I did it, and the feedback from my classmates during my critique session was amazing. I was encouraged to continue to make art and design work, centered around my Diabetes and the stigma behind it. I also choose, to this day, to create design work, relating to Diabetes, with a positive twist and in a way that helps others live the life THEY want. As the classes and years went by in college, I began to design a full body of Diabetes-related artwork. I designed a digital Type 1 Diabetes board game called The Diabetic Rollercoaster, created a full panel of photos of other brave individuals living with Type 1 Diabetes daily and the amazing things they do that makes them… them! After creating more and more design work centered around this one theme, I had constructed many projects, ranging from photos, illustrations, installations, a logo, business cards, printed promotional materials, and a photo look-book. This all helped me as I began to create my gallery exhibition as my exit from the program upon graduation. I feel as though my artwork sets me apart from others, as I had never seen another individual who lives with an auto-immune disease daily create design work centered around the lifestyle of their disease. You hear about fashion designers and industrial designers, but never health-related designers. That is what I felt my calling was. I am most proud of how, only a couple of years after college, I have been able to create my own online Type 1 Diabetes-based apparel shop, work on other Diabetes-related graphic design content for the community that I serve, and work on some amazing and exciting projects that have helped shape and form the designer and Diabetic that I am. I always want my work to have some form of Diabetes education. As mentioned, I wanted to do something with my Diabetes, regardless of what I do, so today, I am currently in the process of becoming a Certified Diabetes Educator, with hopes of using my creative visuals and designs to help educate and allow others to learn about and live with their own Diabetes, despite the day-to-day challenges. This was all a very long and difficult process when I look back at it, however, it taught me SO much and has been so very rewarding, every step of the way. I am beyond thrilled for the journey ahead, as well as what it has been so far. I am aware that my path is very untraditional and unique, however, if there is a will, there definitely is a way! I overcame the obstacles by creating more work and continuing to educate and discover new ways to actively grow in this field as a creative, as well as one in the health space, as a way to always be in the know and provide effective and helpful work for those who can benefit from it all! If anyone takes one thing away from my work, I want people to know that Diabetes is tough, trust me, I know, but through good design and helpful education, life can be however you create it to be!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would definitely take my best friend to Disneyland, hands down! I would suggest we buy the three day park hopper ticket and space out our visit over the entire week. While we are not at the parks, I would take my friend to the Anaheim Packing House, which is full of so many amazing restaurants, coffee and juice shops, and dessert bars! This place is not far at all from the Disneyland area, so I would suggest spending most of our days in the city of Orange County. Along with these two spots, if my best friend was interested in strolling around and shopping at the nearest outdoor mall, I would take them to the Irvine Spectrum, which has something for everyone! Your favorite shops, restaurants, picture spots, rides, etc. You name it, it’s there! We would mostly spend our time this week eating, laughing and having a blast at Disneyland, and creating lasting memories in one of my all-time favorite cities that I grew up in! Oh! And we can’t forget about the beaches near by! I’d take my best friend to Newport Beach (my favorite!) during the morning hours for a hike up the hills and a cool down by the beach as it gets warmer, and then Urth Café for lunch. Now THAT is a fun-filled week! Trust me!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Yes! Absolutely. I would like to dedicate this shoutout to my design professor from college, Tim Musso. He taught me in my very first quarter and beyond on this road to becoming a creative individual. He helped inspire and shape my design style from the start. I will never forget the very first class he taught me, Design Principles. That class was the core to the beginning of this creative life for me. I remember my first day of class, I was very nervous and doubtful, but as I saw how Tim lived his own life as a creative individual, I was immediately inspired and felt that I was in the right place. I felt as though he understood my passion for creativity and allowed me to grow with that. Over the next three years, Tim was my creative mentor and helped me pursue all the creative ventures and projects my heart desired. He was a great leader in helping me discover what my field of interest was in the world of art and design, as well as encouraged me to become more active and involved in a particular group to expand on my creativity. He alway supported my thoughts, ideas, and perspectives, which motivated me to advance in the right direction. Along with Tim, I would like to thank all the other amazing professors in my department in college, as well as my entire graduating class and classmates who I was surrounded by daily, which helped us all expand as creatives and form a special bond/community! Thanks Tim and my A + D fam!

Website: type1livabetic.threadless.com
Instagram: type1livabetic

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