We had the good fortune of connecting with Kirsten Mishay and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kirsten, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor would have to be friends, family, and the people that I connect with along the way. They are my biggest support, and a HUGE part of this journey. Their encouragement means a lot to me, and it has helped guide, and grow, my personal voice as well as that of my brand. They inspire me to keep heading towards my goals; this year especially in the moments when I didn’t have much motivation, or confidence, in myself or my work. In addition to that, motivation to keep growing is another significant factor for me. I’m always looking to try new projects and new ways to express myself. Whether it’s taking workshops to learn new skillsets, going to conventions, art markets. Just to put myself out there and see where it takes me (even if they did have to be held online this year).
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The other day I made a new print for an art exchange called The Relief Conspiracy. I didn’t think it would be that difficult to make something to send out to 20 strangers across the globe, but it was. All these people I had never talked to would have my work. It was an introduction to me; a first impression of sorts. The different parts of my creative identity were fighting to be heard. I strategize as a Graphic Designer which can clash with a more emotional or spontaneous part of myself and I think that’s what sets me apart the most. There’s a moment when I’m creating a print (whether digitally or printed) where I can play on both of those creative parts and then they translate through my artwork. It’s exciting to explore different creative outlets and see what the outcome could be from combining them. Even though, sometimes, it can feel like you’re mixing oil and water. Which is a sort of metaphor for how I see the different parts of my own identity.
Growing up Mexican-American I knew I had a little bit of this and a little bit of that; I never really felt that I was from one place exclusively, that I am one thing, that I identify with one part of myself. It has helped in my approach to a multitude of challenges, with my art, and personal and professional growth. It can be a challenge when I’m asked to put myself in a box and narrow my identity to just “one thing.” It feels restricting and can take a toll on my confidence, at least until I remember I don’t have to do that. Overcoming those restrictive feelings is a process. Sometimes that process can look like talking it out with people I trust the most, journaling, meditating, going on a walk to feel centered again.
Trying to do all of things I’m interested in (personally and professionally) can be risky. It can come off as indecisive or unfocused; I just want to try to do everything I possibly can at least once. It’s exciting when I allow myself to see those goals as a possibility. I’ve taken on an array of roles professionally and in each one I am able to apply something I’ve learned from the last role into the next no matter how different they are; that’s exciting. One lesson that has been consistent is that you’re not going to please everyone you meet, so speak the truth and stand up for yourself no matter the outcome. It always feels better to speak up than to stay quiet even if it feels like no one heard you in the end. At least you tried and know that you can try again. With that, I’ve started applying to Masters programs to further my education, I’ve fallen into the role of lead graphic designer, and I’m using my personal projects to unapologetically express myself alongside taking on new clients for original artwork.
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 think using an itinerary is a good base but I definitely enjoy keeping things spontaneous. The things I look for the most when friends go to visit San Diego would be places to eat, where to go for walks or hikes, concerts that are going on, bar hopping, farmers markets, art markets, museums, maybe do a bit of shopping, etc. There’s just so much to do! THURSDAY 7pm: Friends Arrival Arrive and grab some tacos at SALUD in Barrio Logan and drinks at Border X Brewing. FRIDAY 9:30am-Afternoon: Mission Trail Hike & South Park Brunch at Cafe Madeleine for some crepes and check out the local shops like The Book Catapult, Thread & Seed, and Vinyl Junkies Record Shack. 6:30pm-Closing Time: Normal Heights Hit up Nozaru Ramen for dinner then walk over to Blind Lady Ale House for a beer before the doors open at Sycamore Den to hang out for the rest of the night and listen to the local band. SATURDAY 9:30am – 12pm: Little Italy Breakfast at the Farmer’s Market and hang out in the plaza by the Little Italy Street Sign; maybe check out some of the small shops like Love & Aesthetics and Vitreum where you can find a ton of cool trinkets and accessories!
If we’re feeling sweet Pappalecco’s is a great spot to get some gelato. Later, go back home for some sushi to-go from Sushiya. 2pm – 6:30PM: Relax Hang out and take a walk down a short trail at the park near by. Get ready to go out. 7pm – Closing Time: North Park Take an Lyft to Coin Op for some arcade games, food, and drinks. I could spend hours on those pin-ball machines! Once we finish all the coins we have head over to Seven Grand SD. Sometimes there’s a band playing, you can play pool, or hang out in the back part of the lounge where they play a bunch of great throwbacks. Florence Risorante is a great place to stop for some late night pizza afterwards. SUNDAY 10am – Afternoon: Balboa Park Grab a coffee Daniel’s Coffee in the Spanish Village Art Center (which is made up of a bunch of little boutiques where artisans sell their work and put on workshops) and then head toward the Botanical Gardens. The gardens are a great spot to sit and hang out; it’s very peaceful. The park is very big and lots of space to lay out in the sun and hang out. 1pm-Late Afternoon: Liberty Station & Waterfront/Seaport Village There are so many food options at the Liberty Station Public Market it’s easy for each person to choose something to eat especially if we can’t decide on one thing.
Later on – head to the Waterfront and take a stroll down the marina toward Seaport Village. There are so many photo ops along the way such as the USS Midway, the statue of The Kiss, and USS SD Memorial. Seaport is also a great spot to do some window shopping (or real shopping) at the gift shops whether it’s accessories, clothing, artwork, foods, and more. MONDAY 11am – Afternoon: Point Loma Lighthouse + Cabrillo National Monument Go for a walk around the monuments and the museums. 2pm-4pm: Harumama Anything you order at Harumama is going to be great. My favorites are the Boa they decorate as cartoon character, it’s just so cute! Head over to Nona + Zucchero for some gelato and coffee. TUESDAY 10am – 1pm – Explore La Jolla See the seals at Children’s Pool Beach, hangout on the sand for a bit, walk around and have lunch at Piazza 1909. 3pm – 5:30pm – Sunset Cliffs Walk down the beach and head up to the top of the cliffs to see the sunset. WEDNESDAY 8:30am – 1pm: Breakfast + Departure Breakfast at Breakfast Republic at Liberty Station for a waffle platter and some enchiladas before heading to the airport.
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 would love to give a shoutout to: My family and friends – They are my people, my go-to’s. They’ve seen all of my ups and the downs. They’ve shown up during the set up for events and stick around after break-down. I’m not sure I’ll be able to every fully express just how grateful I am to have that support. Sherri Sheck-Merrill – She gave me my first official job as a Graphic Designer and my first internship which has helped lay out the foundation for my professional and personal journey in more ways than one.
You Belong Here SD – Nic is incredible. She sat down and helped me go through each step in registering to get my business license. It was a big moment towards really starting my small business! Girl Scouts SD Marketing & Communication Department – The ladies there were all very supportive during my time there. They were like a family and I will never forget the all the encouragement they had for my personal projects. All those who offer events that support local artists and businesses: Alternative Events, SD Made Factory, Cafeina Cafe SD, La Pulga Flea Market and so many more! Thank you all! None of this would have been possible without you.