My name is Monica Ikegwu and I live in Baltimore, Maryland.
I currently attend Maryland institute college of Art and I've been attending art based schools since I was in middle school. From childhood I would always draw ( on paper, the walls, etc.)
My parents saw that it was something that I liked and pushed me to do it in middle school where I found that I was increasingly liking it.
I then went to an art based high school where I won some awards and improved my skills. I then decided on a art based college as well (with the constant urges from my teachers). That leads me to today and the path that I have chosen.
I loved doing art, but I was actually going to go to medical school at first. I've been to competitions where the judges would question me as to what I was gonna do next and when I replied with medical school they all gave me this look of confusion and say "why”.
One judge in particular told me that I should never chase the money and if I did then i would end up in a job that would ultimately destroy my happiness.
With that advice from him and others I then released the idea of medical school and am trying hard to find a career in art. I feel that art is something that will have more positives than negatives if you put all your time and effort into it.
One situation that I can say inspired me would be when I had the pleasure of being critiqued by Amy Sherald.
She basically told me that I could be onto something and to continue with my work. That inspired me because it let me know that I'm on the right track and that I'm taking the proper steps to move forward.
What I dislike about the art world would be that it is not so easy to become discovered. Some people can have great and immense talent but be overlooked because they don't have a big name in the industry.
Without being distinguished people wont be able to make a proper living and may have to drop the art for something that will give them fast money to pay their bills, debt, etc.
Advice 1: that I would give to another artist would be to practice and enter in as many competitions as you possibly can. You have to practice because you can't get better if you just sit and wait.
- Monica Ikegwu
Advice 2: Enter competitions you may not win, but your work will be introduced to a select panel of judges that now know your art and may have it imprinted in their mind (Also if you win they offer a good amount of money)
For me its not relatively lonely since I am in school and am surrounded by artists almost every day. The challenging part would be to come up with concepts that read well in my work. I have ideas but translating them into a work of art is a little difficult. Most of my paintings are not how I had imagined them in my mind even though they still come out nice.
A memorable response to my work would be on one occasion that I had my work on display at my school.
Someone who was visiting the school recognized it from my Instagram page and messaged me saying how much they loved it and how it looked much better in person. I don't know why, but I love that one memory.
Three artists that I deeply admire would be Aaron Nagel, Casey Baugh, and Michele Del Campo ( i would recommend any one of those for the next issue, they're all on instagram)
- Monica Ikegwu