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Meet Mikey Camarda

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mikey Camarda.

Mikey, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I guess it would all start with the music. If you asked any of my friends or family, they would tell you that I have my headphones in 24/7. I am constantly fueled by the music I listen to. Artists range from Mac Miller, Lil Peep, Kendrick, and Nipsey, just to name a few. Without them, I wouldn’t be doing what I do. As a kid, I was fascinated with cover art for music, movies, games, etc. I would always try to make my own cover art and see if I could make something cool. I would carry covers for video games and albums in my backpack as a kid just so I can look at it later during school. I would draw different scenes all the time and illustrate things that interested me. Not only do I do and love covert art, but I also got into tattoos more. I have so much respect for the artists that did work on me and I was always fascinated by their process. I never wanted to be like anyone else, so I thought getting all the tattoos would make me stand out from my peers.

Once I got to high school, I didn’t do anything in the arts. I was pretty much a normal kid that mainly focused on playing sports and hanging out with my friends. After high school, I was fortunate enough to attend college in Hawaii. Sports didn’t work out there, so I focused on my degree. It wasn’t until my last year where I started an internship with Orig Media. The culture there was amazing and I believe it liberated my creative thinking in many ways. I was lucky enough to learn from one of the greatest mentors, directors, and writers with Jeff Orig. I was building websites, doing some editing, and just trying to think outside the box during that time. After I moved back to my hometown in San Jose, I was unemployed and looking for jobs. Luckily enough, I decided to start drawing again. One of the first pieces that I drew was a portrait of Mac Miller. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it. Eventually, this piece was selected for the Mac Miller Circles Pop-Up, hosted by Warner Music Group. Visiting D.O.M. Gallery those two nights in January felt incredibly surreal. The line to get in was at least four blocks long, so just walking in without waiting felt spectacular because I was able to be a part of this huge event with my idol growing up. Just being able to see my artwork in-person was incredible and knowing that I made this during a tough time when I had no idea what would manifest from that day.

Has it been a smooth road?
It is never a smooth road. If someone tells you different, or it’s too good to be true, you’re probably right! I’m only 22, so I have plenty to learn. I never thought I would be doing digital art and working in the performance marketing industry. Reflecting back on this, it seems that life goes in a full-circle. From creating artwork as a kid and living through different phases growing up, this brings me back to where it all started. I’ve failed so many times throughout this journey and have been criticized so much to where it doesn’t even matter anymore. I always stayed true and never forgot how far I’ve come. I couldn’t tell you how many late nights I’ve had just working on my craft and always trying to improve. I still don’t go to sleep until at least 2 or 3 AM sometimes. I do this every day and I can definitely see the work ethic paying dividends.

There have been plenty of struggles when it comes to posting your artwork online. It can be disheartening at first when you see that critical comment or people just trolling you, but after a while, I realized that all good art has split opinions. It makes the viewer think and feel. That is how I view it. Of course, when you put yourself out there in the online/social world, you become an easy target. I think it says more about the person than it does about the art sometimes. There are plenty of people that would be scared to even put themselves out as a target. It takes guts to do that and I feel like it only makes the artist stronger. At the end of the day, they are just words and you can’t let that get to you. Everyone has an opinion and you can’t please everyone. You just got to tell yourself that you just got to do what you like.

Please tell us more about your art.
For my craft, I am a digital artist. I mainly like to focus on digital paintings of music artists that inspire me. I feel like each piece represents something important in my life or else I probably wouldn’t be doing this. I am most proud of just having the ability to paint people that inspire me. I am able to connect with so many people online and I am all about learning from others. It doesn’t matter if the artist has 100 followers or 10,000 followers. I know they will be able to share valuable information that I can use later in my approach.

I believe what sets me apart from others is having the ability to do many things. I can do digital paintings, graphic design, video editing, etc. I am an artist. If something inspires me, I will do it. I have the word “visualize” in my bio because it’s important to have a vision of where you want to go with a certain piece or find a way to imagine a certain scenario.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Los Angeles has plenty to offer and has given me many opportunities. I am proud to be making art and being in the advertising industry. I would have never imagined a scenario like this. I’ve met so many interesting people throughout this journey and each one of them has affected my career. It’s definitely different from my hometown in the Bay Area because of the entertainment element. It greatly differs from Hawaii. In the beginning, it was difficult to get adjusted to this fast-pace life and the culture here. I am pretty laid-back and just do the things that I like.

The thing I probably don’t like about LA is the traffic. I’m sure everyone feels the same way.

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Image Credit:
Headshot Portrait: Taken by Jeff Orig

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