We had the good fortune of connecting with Miranda Squillace and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Miranda, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Although I always loved creating art, I never thought I would be pursuing an artistic career. I spent my undergraduate career studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a concentration in Entomology. I didn’t even pick up a paintbrush for those 4 years.
After graduation, I was incredibly eager to be hired for a position in Ecology. I spent hours applying to jobs, but after months and little prospects of success, I settled for a part-time job as an art instructor. It was enjoyable, but I always viewed it as temporary. I worked there for several months before landing a job in San Diego as an employee for the Department of Agriculture. It was going well at first, but not long after I settled into the job, the pandemic came.
I was an essential worker, so even though things were changing drastically around me, my job never did. I was working 40+ hour weeks, making less than I did as an art instructor, and questioning if I should quit and become an artist. Fortunately, I didn’t need to make that decision, because I was laid off due to Covid. Shortly after, I decided to devote my time to selling more art, teaching classes, and building my own business.
This pandemic has made me realize that life is too short to be doing something that doesn’t fulfill me. Ultimately, I knew that I’d always regret it if I chose not to pursue art simply because it wouldn’t be easy. So I took the risk, and now I can officially call myself an artist!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There are plenty of amazing artists in San Diego, so it’s important that I stand out, especially as a self-taught artist. I needed to find my brand and focus solely on that. I experimented with all media and subjects, but I found my niche to be erotic art and nude figure paintings. My subject matter is somewhat controversial, which has definitely helped set me apart from other artists. The nature of my art has also sparked debate on social media, which was quite exciting because it lead to one of my paintings getting 1 million views on TikTok!
Starting my business was one of the easiest decisions I’ve had to make, but it’s definitely been a rollercoaster. Some months are better than others, and it’s easy to get discouraged. However, I’ve gotten to where I am because I’ve stayed positive and confident in myself as an artist and business owner. The challenges are always going to be there, but it really boils down to how much work I’m willing to put into my business. My level of dedication has allowed me to make sales and to effectively advertise my art. I’ve marketed my art over various social media platforms, vamped up my website, and started displaying my art in a local gallery, Connect San Diego. In addition, my art will be exhibited at the Bondage and Brews event in the spring.
One important lesson that I’ve learned as a female business owner and artist is to never sell myself short. My art deserves to be valued highly for the time I spend on it and not just priced to sell. People who are serious about buying art will buy it, even if it’s expensive.
Another lesson I learned is that it’s okay to turn down a commission. As an artist I always want to give people quality art. If the commission isn’t something I’m particularly well versed in, it’s not appropriate to accept the job. Neither me nor the customer would be satisfied with the result. Plus, I wouldn’t want to make a painting that won’t fit in my portfolio.
Finally, I want the world to know that I’ll undoubtedly be a well recognized artist in the future. I’ve always had the drive to be successful in life, and that isn’t changing now. So, I suggest buying my art before my prices increase!
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?
Monday: Kayaking in La Jolla Coves. I love watching the sea lion pups in the summer.
Tuesday: Stroll around Old Town for Taco Tuesday and live music. In the late spring you can pick loquats off the trees for a little snack.
Wednesday: Check out the Spanish Art Village in Balboa Park or go to a museum, then finish the day at the farmer’s market in Ocean Beach
Thursday: Take the ferry from Downtown to the Coronado ferry landing and shop at the boutiques
Friday: Visit Connect San Diego in North Park to see local art, including mine, and thrift!
Saturday: Spend some time in Little Italy at the farmer’s market and have brunch at Morning Glory
Sunday: You can’t visit San Diego without going to the beach. Lay on Pacific Beach, and have a drink at PB Shore Club while watching the sunset. Their tropical slushy is my weakness
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, I need to dedicate a shoutout to the people who have purchased art from me, shared my art, and supported me from the start. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without them, and I’m incredibly grateful. I’d like to shoutout my fellow San Diegan artists who have shared art show opportunities and sent customers my way. I’ve been able to participate in events I never would have known without them. Lastly, I want to shoutout the people who have rejected my art from galleries, events, and memberships. I’ve grown as an artist because of their feedback and critiques.
Other: TikTok: mirandapaintsb00bs
Steven Gauvreau Visendus Media