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Art & Life with Mikela Prevost

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mikela Prevost.

Mikela, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Like many kids, I doodled and colored when I was young but found that I was always the last one to leave the art table. I became “the girl that draws” which surprisingly, helped me earn points with teachers if I added decorative embellishments to my homework. Drawing was a way of escaping the boredom of doctors waiting rooms and the purgatory of the DMV. Most often, I was drawing people that I observed in these spaces, and after a course of “Life Drawing” at the University of Redlands, I drew in confidence with my drawing skills. I always knew I wanted a career in art and had always loved books and comic strips, so the best plan was children’s book illustration. I went on to receive my MFA in Illustration at California State University Fullerton, while also learning about the publishing industry.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I create art for kids, plain and simple. While working on my MFA, I also taught art and loved the energy and enthusiasm of my students. They could have watched me draw all day; they were so easily amused. So now as I create books and illustrations for kids, I’m hoping to recreate that moment of drawing in front of them, the surprise of opening a book and seeing something unexpected. Even the media I use in my work is a reflection of a kid’s spontaneity – switching materials constantly, hopping from pencil to marker, using a wash of watercolor and then collage. I also try not making anything too precious or highly rendered. I want kids to come into books with a sense of “hey, I can draw like this!” and then trying to do it.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
For artists today, conditions are both amazing and discouraging. We live in a time where our work can be seen by anyone, anywhere at any time! But the trade-off is that with this overabundance of content constantly flowing past our eyes, we can become discouraged that our art is going unrecognized. I would just encourage artists to keep making though, your art has meaning to you and will be seen and loved.
For our cities, making art accessible to the masses I believe is key. My local library has beautiful work on almost all its walls, and the children’s area is exploding with energetic paintings. Exposing art to the “non-artist” in a setting that is familiar to them not only helps enrich lives but also teaches the value of art to younger generations.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My latest picture book LET’S HAVE A DOG PARTY! Published by Viking/Penguin will be available March 19, 2019. I will be exhibiting a few illustrations from the book along with other Arizona illustrators April 2019 at First Draft/Changing Hands in Phoenix. For all my (almost) daily doodles and drawings, go to my Instagram account @mikelaprevost.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Headshot – Joanna Polling, artwork and interior shots – Mikela Prevost

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