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Meet Too Zen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Too Zen.

Hi Too, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
After graduating college in June 2018, I was really lost and depressed. The fear of the unknown was creeping in hardcore. I had no job lined up, so I was taking up minimum wage and temp jobs. I accomplished a lot in college so this was causing me extreme anxiety and I felt like a failure. One day I saw that this fellow queer biracial artist, xenoughsaidx on Twitter, made 14k off her art, and I immediately thought, “I can do that too”. As a result, I started teaching myself all of these painting and drawing techniques, product design, website design, social media marketing, and etc. through several youtube videos, google searches and podcasts. This led to me building my own brand “Too Zen Galleries” and participating in several art shows.

Eventually, I got a full-time office job, continued growing my brand after work, and pulled constant all-nighters. I would share these all-nighters on my insta stories which would eventually lead to sponsorships from two energy drink brands. In 2020 during the pandemic, I had my big breakthrough Twitter when I replied to a tweet thread of Black businesses to support. In February of 2020, I made over 3.5k in online sales and put that in my savings. I kept saving up and working on anime commissions. Eventually, I went viral three times on TikTok. I began getting an influx of anime commissions while simultaneously making online sales.

From there, I was able to move back to LA and fully furnish my own studio apartment in the heart of the city. I kept working on anime commissions and my shop. I then took a break to learn digital art and further develop my own personal art style. I ended up getting into the underground EDM scene and just started putting on these art show/flea market style EDM parties with full DJ line ups. Event planning and creating a platform for other artists has been my latest passion.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Honestly, it has not been a smooth road. I think the biggest struggles along the way are the ones I create for myself. I struggle a lot with mental health issues which I talk about in my art, and these struggles tend to lead me to poor decision making and lack of focus at times. I try to use my art to cope with my mental health, but sometimes I get too deep into my head and find it hard to escape from myself.

Additionally, juggling a full-time job with a full-time art career is absolutely exhausting, but ART GIVES ME A REASON TO LIVE, SO ITS WORTH IT!

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a visual artist, creative director and run an online art shop called “Too Zen Galleries”. I sell art prints, stickers and merch with my work. To add, I also put my work on smoke products like rolling trays, lighters, grinders, and pipes. When I started out, I was just an oil painter, but I moved on to custom clothes, shoes, digital art, and even animations. Now I’m putting on art shows and EDM events, as well as hosting and promoting for other EDM events, while I simultaneously work on my original art/brand.

I am most proud that I had a vision that I never gave up on and it has provided me with so many amazing opportunities. I love art, and it gives me a purpose. Art saved my life more times than I can count.

I think what sets me apart from others is my style. My own personal art style is what I call “Psychedelic Surrealism”. I like to bring abstract feelings and concepts into reality, with skull like or devilish figures and bright colors. There’s very few other Afro- Latinas in the game and the ones that are, are absolutely killing it!

Who else deserves credit in your story?
There are so many people who have played big role in my success. Firstly, I have to thank my parents who would take me to art shows when I couldn’t get a ride. Next, I love all my closest friends so much. All of them have bought a piece from me, especially in the beginning which kept me motivated. For instance, Esme, Damian, Steph, Christine, Cristina, Berenice, and so many more. Additionally, Raeann put me in my third art show ever and taught me a crucial secret to making merch. There’s also been a couple of Twitter personalities who have large followings and shared my work like Javi and Mel. You know I have to thank Leydi too because she gives me good feedback on my social media content and helped me run my first show on the spot. Lastly, DJ Dirty Disco and Russian Mike introduced me to a lot of people in the underground EDM scene, which allowed me to build a network and successfully start to throw events.

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