We had the good fortune of connecting with Mika Aubin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mika, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work life balance is ever changing and always a challenge, personally. Back in March of 2020, the beginning of the pandemic caused an abrupt ending to many things in my life. Suddenly, I was unable to be the first in my family to walk at graduation (I still need to take grad photos!), my work shut down with expensive rent to pay, and I had to move back to Orange County– back home to two cats, with a prey-driven rescue pitbull I just adopted weeks prior. With small businesses plummeting around the country and worrying about my own family’s, I picked up two jobs to work full time as soon as I could. There was no balance, really. I woke up, walked Ruby, and went to work. On my one or two days off, I napped, ran errands, or visited my partner. All this to say, almost exactly a year later, I am exactly where I need to be. In a week from now I will be starting a new position as an Art Instructor! Somehow, I think the year of imbalance was necessary, although not at all sustainable. I grew a lot working so many hours, and now I have this great opportunity to start my career in Art, where it won’t feel so much like work. I’ll have energy and motivation again to paint and develop my portfolio, and maybe even visit San Diego. The year long hiatus from balance was definitely worth it, yet I look forward to this new path where I will definitely be prioritizing it.
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.
My work focuses on the human figure and it’s relationship to landscape in both a metaphorical and literal sense. I am interested in each and every contour of the body– and whether that contour, mark, or scar always existed, developed naturally or was caused by an external factor. Love, age, transformation, pain: all stories to be told by our bodies and their expressions. While these narratives are up for interpretation and are told by my figures– they are often times introspective. I have explored themes of toxicity in relationships, vulnerability, and isolation. In future work, I look forward to explore the narratives of others more personally, aiming to empower figures by rendering their skin through the lens of their own story.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Let’s say our week started on Wednesday, I’d take my friend to the farmer’s market in Ocean Beach to get some great food and listen to bands play, then we could walk down to the dog beach to sit on the sand and watch the pups play (without a dog, shamelessly). The next day we’d go to La Jolla to get tacos at The Taco Stand, and picnic by the beach while watching the seals bask in the sun on the shore. Sunset Cliffs would be our next beach destination, where we could sit too close to the edge and watch the waves crash beneath us while the sun goes down. There’s something about the beaches in San Diego that feel much more comforting than other beaches I’ve been to. Then we could hop around local art galleries, visiting Bread & Salt, The Front, and museums in Balboa Park.
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?
My incredible professors from San Diego State University deserve recognition. To name a few: Eva Struble (@evastruble), Carlos Castros Arias (carloscastroar), and Mix Luera (@mixluera) were all so inspiring and made me realize my growing love for art education. I’d also like to thank Nalini Sairsingh, Manager of Audience Engagement at Orange County Museum of Art, for giving me the opportunity to work at the museum which kept me going throughout the past year (even if they were closed down for a long while), and for giving great advice.