As a young child, creating and art practice was part of Monica’s childhood. Her father an artist himself influenced her by his work. Now Monica Holdman artist, fashion designer and owner of Mo Art is pouring herself into her art career. Monica knows the healing power of art and shares her experience throughout her creative journey.
By LaMar Anderson | March 11, 2021 | 6:00am
Please tell us your name and the name of your business and a little bit about yourself and business.
My name is Monica Holdman, and I go by Mo Art for my artwork. I have two sets of artworks that I do.
I am an artist, and I just started trying to sell my artwork since COVID started . I’ve been doing artwork all my life, pretty much. I use to do fashion, so now I am just pouring more into myself and my artwork. Trying to get into art galleries and do more pop-up shops like I am now [Leimert Park Sundays], just trying to push my work out there.
Today I have my weed rolling trays. So, I do custom-made art trays for those who want to roll cannabis who want something more unique. It’s all one-of-a-kind type stuff I will do. And I also have my small wooden canvases of mostly portraits such as J Cole, a girl, and Alice in Wonderland inspired, but usually abstract painting, Magic School Bus, Bart Simpson, and I sell prints of my artwork too.
How long have you been an artist?
I’ve been an artist for probably five years.
Has drawing, painting, illustration been your main practice of art?
It’s been my main practice, and it’s always been my first love. I used to do a lot when I was younger because I used to go to school for it, high school, and college, and then I switched over to fashion design, and then I just kind of lost form. It wasn’t until like five years ago that I started back painting and doing illustration. I pretty much do everything from illustration, drawing, painting, spray paint, portraits, anything that inspires me.
What was your inspiration for artistic experimentation and practice?
I remember going through my stuff, and I saw a lot of my old artwork and was like -damn, I was really good -haha. But over the course of time, I was going through a challenging time in my life that kind of helped me pick it back up. It was more like therapy for me at first. So it started more like therapy. I was pouring myself into my artwork to get through the challenge I was going through to soothe myself, ya know, to heal myself. And over the course of time, it took on its own thing to where I wanted to start doing it as my career.
So it sounds like your art practice started pretty early, maybe as a teenager, or was it earlier than that?
I started way earlier than that. Everybody says they started when they were five, but my dad is an artist. I used to practice art when I was five. I would say I was going to be a fashion designer and an artist. I always said that. So, I already accomplished one thing, so now I am doing the second thing and achieving my art career.
Did you grow up in Los Angeles?
I grew up in Paramount, California, not too far from where we’re at right now [Leimert Park].
You mentioned you stopped your art practice for some time and picked it back up five years ago. Was that because you chose to pursue your fashion career solely?
Yeah, for fashion and from fashion to illustration. My old clothing line, V Vixen Swimwear. I started in fashion design, and then I started doing pattern making, cutting, production assistant, doing all that I didn’t have time to create no more at least not how I wanted to do. I was creating my clothes, expressing myself off of the canvas. It wasn’t until after the fact that I was going through what I was going through that I decided to pick up my paintbrush, pen, and pencil. Last year I started doing more art shows. I just got into the Los Angeles Art Association program for the emerging artist. They’re showcasing one of my works right now in an online exhibit. From there, I am still trying to submit a lot of big work, my contemporary artwork, to the galleries and the museums.
You mentioned your father is an artist. How has he influenced your style, skills, and expressions as an artist?
I think he’s been an influence to me because seeing him draw and what he could do inspired me to even start in the first place. A lot of people used to pay him to do murals on walls. I remember my first-grade teacher had asked him to do two drawing for the classroom, and he did; that’s also what inspired me, that part.
Is this your first time out or vending in Leimert Park? How has your experience been?
Yes, this is my first time out in Leimert Park. I love the vibe of the drums. It makes me want to get up and dance, haha. It’s our people coming together for each other, which is a beautiful thing. So far, my experience has been good. I enjoy the ambiance of all the people out here. People are stopping at my booth, so I get feedback right now, what they like or what I should do more. It’s a good experience.
How did you find out about Leimert Park?
One of my friends told me about it and said I should come out here to sell my work. I kind of knew about it for a while but been hesitant because I am by myself, ya know. I wanted to start doing more pop-up shops, so I was like – I am gonna bite the bullet and get out there and just do it because if I don’t put it out there, nobody’s gonna see it.
What advice would you give to other artists thinking about growing their business by coming to Leimert Park?
Get out here early-set up, network, talk to people; everyone is friendly. Get your cards ready, make sure your set-up is right and keep that vibration up, keep that good vibe. Just cause you didn’t sell it today doesn’t mean you’re not going to sell it tomorrow. The fact that you are putting yourself out there so people can see your work.
What are you excited about for yourself and Mo Art this year?
This year I am so excited because everything was shut down last year; we couldn’t really do too much. This year 2021, I am really excited to pursue more art exhibits online and in-person with more pop-up shops. I am growing my tray business and mingling and networking with more people, and extending my network.
What can we expect from you this year?
This year you can go to my website. I have an event up there. I am trying to do more events. Probably have my own opening for my show; hopefully, that will be by summer. This year I am also going to try and start an art program for kids, like a summer camp, to teach them how to do painting between the ages 3-12. So there’s a lot of stuff coming out that I am putting to work. I am trying to have my hands in all of the pots.
How can we connect with Monica and support Mo Art?
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