We had the good fortune of connecting with Reilly Jo Quevedo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Reilly Jo, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
My happiness is in the mountains, out in the deserts, on the beach. My happiness is a place that makes me feel free and inspired- anywhere that gets me in the mood to make art. My happiness is also moments with myself- solitude is a good word. I like being alone time to time in order to recharge and reflect. I don’t think I’d be happy without these moments… in solitude and in nature. A lot of my happiness is also in just loving myself. I know that sounds cliche but it’s so much easier said than done! For me it was almost like I had to retrain my brain to think about myself in a more loving and forgiving way everyday. I’m really critical of myself… and that’s not self-love. We all have things that stunt our happiness sometimes, but I really enjoy working on those things. I think the motivation to self improve is what increases my overall satisfaction with life and brings about more happiness. 🙂
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.
I started out at an early age really interested in art. I grew to really love painting and was involved in a few art shows over the years with my artwork. It wasn’t until about 4 almost 5 years ago now that I picked up a camera and actually liked it. A friend introduced me to my first film camera, telling me that shooting film is more hands on than digital photography, and that I would probably prefer it. Oh I did. I haven’t stopped shooting film since. I still paint, but I haven’t been able to tear myself away from my cameras long enough to really focus on other kinds of art lately. I still wouldn’t call myself a professional in this field of work, there’s a lot Id like to improve on and learn when it comes to photography. However, I have begun to make it into some sort of a business. The brands I’ve worked with thus far have all been women owned and run- which I LOVE. That’s a huge plus for me because my art is all about empowering women and expressing that our bodies are art. We are all beautiful works of art. I really enjoy working with brands that allow me to express that in my photography. It’s all the brands and creatives I’ve worked with along the way that have led me to really focus on portraiture. With practice, I like to think I’ve gotten really good at directing a person in front of the camera, and making my subjects comfortable. I don’t think I could ever get tired of photographing humans haha. I’d like to think that what sets my photography and my art apart from others is the rawness in it. Hardly ever are my subjects dolled up in makeup surrounded by fancy props… I strive to focus on the natural beauty in each subject, and bring that to the forefront. I want my work to be timeless, never a trend. If there’s anything important and worth mentioning that I’ve learned through navigating my photography business, it’s that sacrificing your artistic vision for a dollar sign is NEVER worth it. Always do work and art that you feel in alignment with. That’s like the big #1 for me. Second to that, I’ve learned that my best work comes from when I’m in a good head space. If I’m stressing over my work too much, I have to take a step back or slow down… it shows in everything I do, and it’s a good reminder to take care.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In the city? That’s tough…. some of my favorite places are on the outskirts of San Diego. I’d have to say my top favorite place downtown is Balboa Park. There’s so many museums and sights to see. Definitely a photographer.’s playground! if I had friends in town from out of state though, I’d pile them into the car and drive them to Julian. It’s east county, but year round it’s literally one of the best places for a day trip. I have a favorite cider mill out there called Calico Cidery and the people behind the bar are amazing. There’s hikes to do in the area, and Lake Cuyomaca down the road from town. I’m from North county, so just to name a few of my all time favorite places to eat and drink up here… Milk Organics for coffee and brunch in Vista of course. Pour House in Oceanside for drinks and food, and The Belching Beaver Tavern in Vista for drinks and food as well. There’s a lot to do up here, if you’re not drinking or eating, I’d say the next best thing to do is hit the beach when the weather’s not randomly chilly.
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 partner in life, Diego, has been so incredibly patient with me as I pursue my creative career goals and has cheered me on every step of the way. From putting up with a hoarding of film cameras and half started art projects, to helping me at every art show with heavy lifting and running for snacks, he’s always there, being kind, showing me love, being the best. He’s been through it with me for the craziest start up years and I’m so blessed to have him in my life. I also have to give most of my thanks to my parents for simply raising me in a way that allowed me to blossom as as artist. I can’t even imagine growing up any other way, they let me explore any medium I wanted, and not only that but encouraged it. I wouldn’t be who I am today without their patience and encouragement as well. Blessed.