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Conversations with the Inspiring Mindy Lee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mindy Lee.

Mindy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The name Happy Mindy was given to me by my college professor who told me that I seemed happy all the time. Even during stressful, high-pressure and uncertain moments of my college years, I held my smile as I journeyed through each day. I used my smile as a shield because underneath it were deep, sometimes dark and squishy layers of unknowns, feelings, ideas and opinions that I did not know how to express. But through my journey of growing as an artist, I’ve discovered that my smile became my strength and constant fight to SEE THE GOOD in the weird, the dark, and the uncertain, in people and in everyday moments. The more I defined my smile, the more my brand and art came alive to be an expression of practicing courage and shifting my perspective to see beyond the physical, as ugly and hard as it might be at times. I started creating more art during a time when I thought I had to give it up. When my husband and I had our first son, I had no energy, I was forgetting everything about anything and postpartum became a real battle. After months went by, I had to muster up my strength to go back to work and dedicate my time at home to my son. I did feel like I lost a bit of myself that I can never have back, but found new energy and hope while grappling motherhood and learning from a new artist in the house, my son. Our greatest creation, our son, became my biggest inspiration and now undeniably part of my creative process. 

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My biggest obstacle is sometimes my own lies and excuses I create due to fear of rejection. It sounds like this: ” You have no time to do this”, ” It has to be perfect”, “You need more money”, “You need to focus on your son” “It looks weird”, “You need more followers and likes”, “You are wasting your time.” These voices are not the truth. Showing up each day, facing yourself and your passion, having an opinion, and taking a stance takes courage, not confidence. After ten years of being a designer, “building confidence” to create and do the work is something I can not rely on because failure is a natural part of our process. But whether I believe success will come or not, when I put my work out there, practicing the courage to believe in my voice and doing it ANYWAY is worth being an artist for. As for our unique sufferings and pains that bring self-doubt and confusion into our journey, I say, USE IT… PUT IT IN YOUR WORK… and be vulnerable, crazy, weird and all the colors in between. I’m still learning how to do this for myself every day. Some days, I just want to say my work is too insignificant to do anything or get anyone’s attention, but I want this beautiful life I was given to be expressed and experience through my art.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
My work includes: graphic design services, illustrations, hand-drawn collages, drawing on my son’s toys and creating art for home goods and apparels such as blankets, pillows, T-shirts, scarves, handkerchief etc. My most recent and proudest work is based around my little muse, my son. I created a series of Coloring posters when my son was obsessed with coloring EVERYTHING in the house. He was also very amused by my drawings of “eyes”, so I created a whole world with weird creatures coming to life (by drawing eyes on them).

Entertaining my kid with art has motivated me to share and sell my work for young and big souls. I also love it when art becomes tangible and part of our daily lives so I had one of my drawing woven into a blanket. I love it when people tell me how it keeps them warm.

It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
Other than listening to NPR, my favorite podcast is DESIGN MATTERS with Debbie Millman. I am also obsessed with Vincent Van Gogh and believe everyone should read “Lust for Life”, a biographical novel of Vincent Van Gogh. Also a MUST-READ book just came out by James Victore, “Feck Perfuction”.

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