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Meet Emma Mora

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emma Mora.

Emma, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Tulare, a small agricultural town in central California, and was raised by a family of Costa Rican musicians. Instead of being drawn to farming or music, I was drawn to drawing as far as I can remember. As a kid, I spent almost all my time writing stories and illustrating them. As I got older, I began to understand why I was so compelled to tell stories through the visual arts. I realized that if I took notice of my surroundings, there were stories all around me, and I was compelled to tell them through characters.

As my surroundings change, my art does as well. The movies I watch, the music I listen to, and even the people I walk past in the street all influence the kinds of art styles and characters I feel like playing with.

At the moment, the COVID pandemic has left me no choice but to turn towards the internet for inspiration. I had my first ever art show this month of June where I showcased a mini-series of characters inspired by internet culture, referencing things like nostalgia with Microsoft paint, meme art, and e-girl fashion.

This Fall, I will be attending Parsons School of Design in New York and plan on directing my art towards the illustration path.

Has it been a smooth road?
As a 20 year old in the middle of her college journey, I think I have yet to hit the really hard roads that come with working as an artist/illustrator. Perhaps the most difficult part of my journey so far has been learning to value my work for what it is in the present. I think this is a common experience for young artists, and adding social media into the mix creates a unique struggle for Gen Z artists like me. It can feel daunting to create or post as a young, developing artist when you’ve practically got the entire art world in the palm of your hand. Art is personal. When people view your art, they view you. So the pressure to feel like you have to compete against the millions of other talented and experienced artists online can take its toll on stunting growth.

Please tell us more about your art.
I am a freelancing illustrator. I’ve dabbled in a variety of work, from doing traditional commissions to working with music artists throughout LA, such as pop artist Cyn, designing merch and promotional art. In the future, I would like to seek out more work in creating art for books and the entertainment industry.

My passion within art is figure drawing and character design. I especially enjoy designing female characters with powers of some sort, as they reflect the idea of embracing femininity without compromising strength, which is important to me.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
As far as for the work that I have found, LA has been a great propellor for my career. The city has the biggest music scene in the world. Through that, I’ve been able to collaborate with several music artists and gain a network for my art career. I would recommend if an artist was planning on moving here that they would have a small network to begin with, that way once they live here, it becomes easier to expand it. Social media is a great starting place to solidify a community.

In a city where so many productions in so many industries are happening all the time, Los Angeles is a great and versatile pool to find work in.

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