INTERVIEW: SMALL ANXIETIES

 

NAME

Cynthia Cabrales

AGE

23

LOCATION

Long Beach, California

WHEN DID YOU DECIDE IT WAS TIME FOR ART?

I've always been drawing, ever since I was a kid. I gave up when I was in high school just because I wasn't sure if a "career" as an artist would ever work out. Then I started going to a lot of shows in Downtown LA/Orange County area and started befriending a few people in that scene. I was inspired by a lot of the women who made music and all of the colorful artwork for different shows. That's when I started doing my own thing and eventually getting commissioned to make artwork for local shows. This all started when I was 17. I'm 23 and still work on flyers every now and then but it's been a fun ride.

WHAT WAS YOUR UPBRINGING LIKE? WAS IT A CREATIVE ENVIRONMENT?

Not necessarily. As a kid, I drew a lot but was never fully supported by my family as it wasn’t “practical” in the long run. I think I gave up on drawing when I was in high school and was trying to focus on graduating.

IS THIS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO DO PROFESSIONALLY?

Maybe not what I’m doing--you can’t live off of commission work forever but I have looked into alternative career paths like animation or even opening up my own art space. It’s all up in the air but I’m fine with that for now.

WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND " SMALL ANXIETIES"?

I have a lot of anxiety, it's just something I've always had to deal with and have barely started to become okay with. It's a part of who I am and has thankfully become a lot more manageable. “Small Anxieties” stems from how even the most minor inconveniences and nuisances have a big impact on my mental health and just thought it would be funny to go by an alias named after smaller things I would worry about on a daily basis.

HOW HAS MUSIC SHAPED YOU INTO THE ARTIST YOU ARE TODAY?

Music is probably one of the main reasons I started making more work and making a name for myself. It was after attending one of the Burgerama’s back at the Observatory in 2012 and noticing all of these girls in bands. I was absolutely inspired and genuinely amazed at all of these young women making such good music. After that, I started connecting with a few of them and interviewing them for a music zine I had started (that ended very briefly). It was a short run but that’s where I started drawing a little bit more and became more fixated on drawing girls--especially those who work within a male-dominated industry like music.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON "THE HUSTLE," DO YOU BELIEVE AS AN UP AND COMING ARTIST YOU SHOULD TRY TO TAKE ON EVERY OPPORTUNITY YOU ARE GIVEN EVEN IF IT MEANS PULLING ALL NIGHTERS?

So the problem I have with “the hustle” is that it's emotionally and physically draining. There aren't enough hours in a day to get all of the work done and it’s stressful. I work a retail job and go to school full time so I barely have time to work on any personal work. My options for taking on different opportunities for art is very limiting because I simply have other things to do. There are days where I don’t sleep or can’t even look at a notepad because of how exhausted I am but it’s worth it.

WHEN DO YOU THINK IT IS APPROPRIATE FOR YOU TO DECIDE YOU ARE ALLOWED TO CALL YOURSELF A PROFESSIONAL ARTIST?

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to call myself a professional artist.

ART SCHOOL. YAY OR NAY? WHY?

It’s a soft nah. School is expensive and I hate that there has to be a price tag for education at the expense of the students. I go to a community college with the hope of attending a university and the fees are still a burden despite a community college being the “cheapest” option. Though I wish I could attend a great art school, it’s simply inaccessible and unrealistic (unless someone were to throw $50,000+ into my bank account for a year at CalArts).

YOUR ART IS VERY DISTINCT, HOW HAVE YOU MANAGED TO ACQUIRE A RECOGNIZABLE STYLE?

Years of practicing and holding my pen or brush wrong. I’ve never had a traditional artistic education and mostly learned through watching how other artists work and attempting to do my own thing.

WOULD YOU WORK UNDER OTHER ARTISTIC STYLES/MEDIUMS?

I’ve always wanted to experiment with other mediums but don’t have much knowledge or patience to do it. Eventually I’ll get around to learning how to paint and create ceramics though!

WHAT ABOUT WORKING UNDER A DIFFERENT ALIAS OR EVEN YOUR NAME?

My alias has always been like a security blanket for me. I've had it since I started working with other people and don't think it'll ever truly go away. I'm starting to work with others using my actual name but I like using "small anxieties".  

WOULD YOU SAY WE HAVE YET TO SEE WHAT YOU'RE CAPABLE OF?

Things are moving pretty fast for me so it’s safe to say I still have a few surprises up my sleeve that I’ll show for soon enough.

WHAT ARE SOME WORDS OF WISDOM YOU CAN SHARE WITH SOMEONE WHO IS TRYING TO GO DOWN AN ARTISTIC PATH?

Art is hard, no one is ever really unique and you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars in art supplies.

WHAT’S A MESSAGE YOU LIKE TO INCLUDE IN YOUR WORK, IF ANY?

I guess a hidden message I have within my works is just to be your best, bad-ass self even though you might suffer from crippling depression that leaves you bedridden for days on end.

YOUR WORK FOCUSES ON WOMEN/WOMXN, WHY?

They’re like reflections of the kind of girl I wish I could be: cute and a little mean.

CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR RESIDENCY AT JUNIOR HIGH?

My residency at Junior High is my first solo show as an artist. I've never really worked with galleries or have planned my own art show--it was never a goal of mine. Applying for the residency was a spur of the moment type thing since I was in the middle of an illustration class, and furiously typing answers into my Notes app on my phone before submitting the application. I didn't think I'd be considered but somehow, I was granted the opportunity to work with Faye (who owns Junior High) to make this residency happen along with four other artists who will have week long residencies dedicated to their own work as well throughout the last few weeks of July and running through August.

My own residency goes on from August 14th-19th and will feature illustrations of my own experiences as a queer brown girl. I’m also using the last few days of my residency to be able to curate the works of other artists I really like.

ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD?

It took me five years to get to where I am as an artist. Things take a lot of time and practice, just be patient.