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Meet Cynthia Cabrales of Small Anxieties in Downey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cynthia Cabrales.

Cynthia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
It all started after I had just graduated. I was 18, had been rejected from five different universities and wasn’t quite sure what to do with my life and had a lot of time on my hands. One day, I was invited to a show at the Smell in Downtown Los Angeles. I remember looking at the lineup and then the artwork for the show and wondered, “that’s something people do?”

To appease my parents, I decided to enroll into a community college to study psychology. I had always wanted to be a therapist and help young adults get the help and support that I had been lacking when I was growing up. Though the workload was heavy, I was still attending shows, having fun with my friends and showing as much support as I could to the budding DIY music scene in Los Angeles and Orange County. Inspired by the shows and the women within the music community, I decided to start my own music zine–making playlists, interviewing local bands and also including very personal comics and illustrations of what would now be known today as my alias “small anxieties”.

After getting to know the community a little better, I was able to co-host my first show at a small art space in Echo Park and was able to meet some great people who I still work with and would also turn out to be my closest friends. That show made me realize that I love to curate events but more importantly, design for them. This was also around the time I had dropped out of college (the first of many times).

When I had decided to go back to school, it was going to be for art and design. Though school helped me out a lot, the actual experience I gained from working with the music community, whether it was a flyer for a house show or for a show at an actual venue, is what got me to where I am today.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Anxiety and depression play such a huge role in why I started creating my work, the music zine that I had started including comics about my thoughts, my feelings or sarcastic illustrations about why I am the way I am with some people being able to relate to it in one way or another.

Anxiety and depression are also a huge factor as to why I dropped out of college so many times. No one really talks about how debilitating and exhausting it is to try to function like a normal person while battling these internalized issues. To some, it seems like it’s pure laziness but to those that have dealt with similar traumas as I have, it’s a daily battle to get out of bed and many normal tasks that might not seem like a big deal to others is daunting.

Art is and continues to be one of the ways I cope with my life and issues that I face.

Please tell us about Small Anxieties.
After redirecting my focus to printed work, “Small Anxieties” became an identity and outlet for me to create more personal artwork and also be able to profit from. Being able to produce my own work and sell it, whether it’s through a handmade zine, a print or a shirt is empowering.

“Small Anxieties” is meant to be relatable and all of the art I make comes from a personal experience that has made me who I am today. The characters I draw are a reflection of the people I spend time with and an extension of myself and how I wish to see myself: powerful, sensual and kind of mean.

My main priority lately has been freelancing though.

As a freelance artist, I have a lot of creative freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want. I’ve been able to work on graphic design and illustration work for different kinds of clients within the music community from Los Angeles to New York.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I think about this question a lot and ultimately always say no. I wouldn’t have it any other way. A lot of what I had learned was either on my own, through friends and other creative peers or through community workshops and those are experiences that I can’t take for granted.

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Image Credit:
Cynthia Cabrales

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