Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrea Valdespino.
Andrea, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be an artist. Specifically, when I was little, I would say a book author and illustrator. My Father and sisters were/are all very creative. I was always drawing and dreamed about creative things as long as I can remember.
I went to the Art Institute of Los Angeles for college looking to peruse and education in illustration, but ultimately took classes in animation and graphic design. I received my degree in animation and media arts.
After college, I freelanced as an illustrator and graphic designer, showed at as many LA art shows that I could get into and had a day job as a graphic artist. I found working for bigger companies in design to be unfulfilling by being asked to just copy popular designs. I was seeking something more original and creative based not on ripping off “best sellers”.
I moved to the Antelope Valley with my husband around 2008 and became a full time freelance artist, hobby model and continued to do art shows. I got a weekend job at Willow Springs Raceway for Cali Photography where I started learning photography from Clinton Ermy which ignited an interested in using photography as a medium in my art.
I worked as the second shooter for Calicreative photography under Clint mostly doing weddings which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, I have battled anxiety, OCD and depression most of my life and this got in the way of my career as a wedding photographer. In 2017, an awful medication issue coupled with the stress of balancing art/work with family and not being on top of my mental/physical health sent me into a tailspin of health issues in the span of seven months, I stopped doing everything I loved including eating and art. I became very ill and unable to eat without strange reactions to my bod. I was 100 lbs by June 2018. I had no idea what was wrong with me and saw 20 doctors in search of a solution. I was sure I was going to starve to death when I found a wonderful Dr. I found in Pasadena, Dr. Shine who sent me to Reasons in Al Hambra where I was diagnosed with ARFID a type of eating disorder stemming from anxiety and the fear of the physical reactions I was experiencing. I spent over 2.5 months away from my family healing with Reasons and learning about Eating Disorders/anxiety and met many other people just like me. I came home Sept 2nd, 2018 wight restored and ready to continue healing. I continued my journey with a revolutionary virtual intensive outpatient program with Eating Recovery Center. Through recovery and art therapy, I have been able to engage in art again. I actually feel joy again and am starting to feel a sense of balance in my life as I continue to manage my, life. Currently, I am doing my Art and photography as a hobby, I try to include my children in my art as often as possible and was just hired at Michael’s craft store where I can be surrounded with creativity, but with a fun and purposeful job not draining me of my creativity and agitating my anxiety. I’m excited to start this new chapter of my life and see where my art, photography and family life take me.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I don’t think my journey has been smooth. It’s had it’s sharp ups and downs. Balancing my mental health, work and family life have been a huge battle, but they are all important to me and fill a purpose in my life. It’s definitely a battle balancing everything, but I have had such huge support with the amazing programs from Reasons and ERC. They truly saved my life so that I can continue to grow, love, create and figure out how the heck to balance it all.
My advice to other women, young and old is to not compare yourself to others. Really sense what it is YOU are passionate about what are your values and focus on that. If its compromising your health using your passion to pay the bills then find a job that will not drain you physically and mentally and continue your passion on the side. There’s time for both. Seek help if you feel you can’t battle your roadblocks on your own and learn and grow as much as possible.
Never give up.
Please tell us about Andrea V Photo, Andrea Young Designs.
I am an artist specializing in creating images that I purge from my brain created by the influences of this interesting world. I used mediums of pencil, camera, and computer. My creations have been described as creative, kitchy, dark, cute and fun.
I feel most proud when I touch someone else with my images. When I create something truly from me for me, and it can touch and help another person out there that feels amazing
I’m not sure that I’m any different or set apart from others. I feel like we all have strengths and struggles. I do try to be as open and transparent as I can be so that if others are struggling, they can see that they aren’t alone or unusual.
Who have you been inspired by?
I have so many women in my life that have inspired me! First off, my three older sisters have been a huge inspiration to me my whole life. I have some amazingly creative, strong friendships that have carried me through this life in many different ways. It’s amazing the support I’ve received while being in treatment. It brings me to tears when I think about it. I’ve made many new friends through my struggles this last year and have received so much support from them as well as we all struggle through.
My sisters are Stephanie, Johanna, and Jessica. Female friends that pop up instantly are Cheryl, Ivy D’Muerta, Shannon Brooke, The Carrie’s, Megan, Nathalia. There are so many I cant name them all.
My therapists and dieticians in treatment were all female and they were all amazing: Bridgette, Erica, Michelle, and Christina. The MHW’s at the facilities are some of the strongest I’ve seen. They had to help us and battle our extreme fears as we navigated through our disorders and traumas. They held my hand along the way and helped me get stronger so I could finally come home.
- Photography images start at $199
- Website: www.AndreaVphoto.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @andreav_photo_and_design
Michelle Vanity, Shannon Brooke Imagery, Vanessa