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Meet Marcie Diaz of Marcie Dee Designs in Downey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marcie Diaz.

Marcie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
It started with a cupcake. Being the daughter of two immigrant parents who have immersed me in as much of their culture as possible, which includes various artisans, art has always been natural to me. Whether I was drawing, painting, crafting and even dabbled in some music it all felt like second nature to me and I loved it. I never really considered a career in art, there was a lot of stigma as to how to make a living as an artist, and as I got older, I fell in the shadows of other talented people who did not encourage or support me as an artist.

I went through a traumatic car accident in my early 20s that really put me in a bad place in my life. At the time, I hadn’t picked up a pencil or paintbrush in years, but I opened a journal and I drew. It was a cupcake. Til this day, I never knew why I chose a cupcake, but it was my salvation. It opened the door to so many greater things in my life. I drew a new cupcake everyday for months, and each new cake would be a more elaborate design until I graduated to drawing other things. Instagram was fairly new at that time and I started posting my drawings online, I received praise but mostly people were shocked to discover that I knew how to draw. I had been hiding this part of myself from the world for so long and it was then that I decided that I was not going to live under anyone’s shadow any longer.

Up to this point, I was a self-taught artist and I had been drawing cute characters with watercolor. My mom had told me that they looked like dolls, which influenced the character development of my later paintings. I decided to go back to school and took my first art course ever in Cerritos College which was beginning oil painting, I completely fell in love with it, and I have been painting with oil ever since.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Like the saying goes, “there is no art without pain.” Being diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I struggled a lot with putting myself out there as an artist. Growing up, mental health is not something that is really talked about in a Latin household, so I turned to art as an outlet. However, when your voice is silenced and you’re told that you can’t do what you love by someone you love it really takes a toll on you.

A romantic partner is someone that is supposed to encourage you to grow and be your best self, and toxic relationships can be extremely detrimental for those of us who are already struggling. I had to fight for me against what I believed was love and I thank the universe that I chose myself. Never let anyone make you feel like you can’t do something, you are magic.

Please tell us about Marcie Dee Designs.
Marcie Dee Designs is an online art shop that I run with my current partner, we sell art prints, stickers, original paintings, pins and more. He takes care of merchandise and marketing so I can focus on creating. We started with five prints and stickers and we have more than tripled that amount in a few short months. What sets us apart from others is that I create oil paintings, which many people view as an antiquated form of creating. I’ve always been obsessed with oil paintings and I want to show that it is still relevant and you can create amazing art with it. People always react differently when they find out it’s painted in oil and seem to examine and ask me about the meaning and process of each piece. Even my digital art is drawn in a way to mimic my paintings.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I don’t like to dwell on the what if’s, I always felt like every bump on the road was always supposed to be there and makes the destination so much more rewarding. If I could give my younger self advice, it would be to take care of myself and not listen to the naysayers. Keep going, follow your dreams and surround yourself with positivity and support. You’ll need it to reach your dreams.

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