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Meet Sandra Mays of Maysgrafx in Westside

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sandra Mays.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I was about five years old, I remember seeing my older cousin Gabriel playing with paint, cutouts and glue. I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was doing his homework. I was stunned. Making art is your homework? He was pursuing his degree in graphic design and I wanted in! That is pretty much when I knew I wanted to be a designer.

I had a passion for drawing when I was a child and I was interested in exploring color and combinations I hadn’t seen. We vacationed in Florida often and visited MGM studios in Orlando, (now called Disney’s Hollywood Studios), where they demonstrated how cartoons were made. It fascinated me. Back home, I spray painted my entire room with a beach-alien-snowboard inspired story. At school, I was the one designing the sports team’s logos and my school books were always decked with doodles and colors. When I was in junior high, I took the very first computer art course that the ETH (public university) offered in Zürich during the summer. I was hooked.

It wasn’t really until college that I formally learned about print design and advertising. I got my degree from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale when I moved to the States. The US really takes an interest in the Arts and companies here invest in creativity. I decided to stay.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I was born in Mexico City and was raised in Zürich, Switzerland. Being from two such different countries with complete opposite cultures can sometimes make you feel that you don’t quite belong. I think art, in particular graphic design, was something that I could use as an escape. It brought order to an unstable world around me. Since I lived with my mom in Zürich and my brother lived with my dad in Mexico City, I spent a lot of time alone. I learned how to figure out things by myself. I am a self-starter, good trait to have for the design world. Even though my family was split in two, my parents always let my imagination go wild and supported me in my career choices. Now that I am a parent, I see how important that is.

As an international designer wanting to work in the US, you have to get sponsored. Meaning, the company that hires you has to explain to the government why they decided to hire you instead of an American. A lot of paperwork and lawyer’s fees were involved in the making of my career as a legal working graphic designer. I am now a resident without the need of sponsorship and speaking five languages has opened the doors to the world to me.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Maysgrafx – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Thank you! My husband and I have a design company. He takes on motion graphic projects and most of my clients come to me for branding and art direction. Working on a look, from a logo to a website and social media, is really something I enjoy doing. I have clients from the hospitality industry who hire me to art direct photoshoots. I love creating moodboards and seeking the visual angles to tell a story. I spent a couple of weeks in Bora Bora with six models shooting every excursion on a cruise. That was definitely a highlight in my professional career. I really enjoy the camaraderie that comes with the job on set. Casting the talent, shooting ideas back and forth, and creating amazing content to then be able to use for advertising and collateral pieces.

Design is our passion at Maysgrafx. Our bold and colorful design style is inspired by our journeys and experiences from living in Miami Beach, to Mexico City, Zürich and Los Angeles. We’ve worked in so many fields and international markets that we will always come up with a new and relevant way of solving a design problem.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I recently left a full-time job as the associate creative director in an experiential marketing agency to grow as a business owner. I really look forward to working on experiential projects with Maysgrafx when the pandemic is over.

In the meantime, I am trying to establish an online store, where I would like to start selling all the fun designs I have been doing for my two amazing kids and all the doodles and textures I have been creating during downtime. It will be a mix of invitations, prints, home & office decor and some items for kids and pets. So far, I have my Instagram account and branding down for @cuca.maca. Please visit me in the next couple of months when it is up and running.

I am also a big animal lover. In 2011 I worked as a volunteer at the Kruger National Park in South Africa, which really left an impression on me on how precious and important the animal world is. More recently, I have been volunteering at the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center in Frasier Park, where I take part of most maintenance duties, including cleaning enclosures and grounds, making repairs on fencing, building enclosures and structures as needed, daily meal preparation, and feeding the wolves and horses. We are starting to plan around bringing our design services to local organizations too. If any animal sanctuary needs our design help, please contact us!

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