Welcome to the first installment of 179 + CDICC Artist Spotlight, a 5-month curated art show hosted by Central District Ice Cream Company’s monthly event Ice Cream Thursdaes. Artist Angelina Villalobos aka 179 curated 5 artists through an application process to each show once a month. 179 assists with artist statements, bios, business plans, marketing, and general art goals. Each are then interviewed, allowing us a glimpse into their artistic journey. Finally, their art openings are a great place to meet the artists, check out their work in person, and support their journey with an art purchase.
We are pleased to present our first artist Mousy DeVilla for the February’s 7th event (INVITE). Read about Mousy’s badass work and boutique in her interview below.
MOUSY DEVILLA /// ARTIST INTERVIEW
- What is your name / artist alias? Does this have any special meaning?
My name is Cecelia DeLeon and I’ve been creating under the alias Mousy DeVilla. The alias came from a childhood nickname “Cheeses” which my dad gave me, taken from Chuck E Cheeses. He said when I was little, I looked like a rat because of my ears (I know, MESSED UP). Growing up I knew I wanted to go by an alias rather than my real name. So “Mousy” felt a lot more evolved than “Cheeses” lol. The “DeVilla” is from combining both of my parent’s last names DeLeon and VillaReal.
- How would you describe your art and where does your inspiration come from?My inspiration are a heavy mix of everything: I’ll take elements my culture; the textiles, the bright colors. My identity being Chicanx, being stuck between Mexican and American, Hood Culture. My observations of everything, like what is going on in the world today, racism, toxic relationships, pop culture and whatever I can do with Procreate.
- What is your coming of age story for art?
I’ve always been an artist, since I was little. But I was never really focused. I had the support, but didn’t have a lot of resources to find the dope programs or groups they have now.During my junior year of HS, I was nominated by my teachers from Proyecto Saber at Chief Sealth to attend an art class provided by Cornish College of the Arts in the summer. I fell in love with the school and knew I wanted to be there. My senior year of HS, I applied at Cornish and was accepted into Design, even though I applied to Fine Arts program. Instead of taking that L (loss), I went through freshman year in a program I didn’t really want to be in, not motivated enough and not really producing any great art. I finished one year and dropped out. Fast forward to early 2017 where I was tired of jumping job to job, not utilizing my skills and passion of art, I found a art showcase and signed up only bringing original paintings and art prints. Now I’m vending at pop ups, getting into this whole public art game and selling my work.
- What can the world learn from your art?
That anyone at any stage in their life can always come back to their true calling. Even if you have to put in on the back burner for a little bit, you can always pick up where you left off. I stopped doing art for a long time, and eventually came back. Still trying to make up for lost time but here I am.
- What are some of the challenges in your life that’s influenced your artwork?
Working full time for a non creative job is what is pushing me to create MORE. Because I see all the hours I am putting into someone else’s company, I come home tired AF with little to no energy but I still have to make time for my daughter, in a lot of cases art comes last at the end of the day. The goal is to transition from part time to full time artist, because if i don’t have to work for someone else, that means I am making my own schedule and that equals more free time. It’s a challenge now but I know things will work out the way I need it to be.
- What is the first piece you remember creating?
The first piece I ever created and finished was a mixed media painting of a brown girl in a flower field this way back in 08’. I glued some newspaper on a wood panel board thing that I had, painted over it and never had it framed or varnished. Back then I didn’t have any clue of what to do with my art after it was done. It’s been gathering dust in a giant ass portfolio in my garage.
- From your artist standpoint, how has the PNW changed?
I definitely see a lot more PoC Artist now, which is great. When I was younger, I can’t remember too many that were out here like that. There are a lot more opportunities and I love that the PNW is finally showing off the amazing work that locals are putting out there and getting to beautify communities.
- How does an artist’s responsibility tie into a communities needs?
I think Artists should really take into consideration what the community would like to see in their neighborhoods, before they (the artist) start to plan a project. So that they can feel more involved in what will be put up. Yeah it’s okay to plan something out here and there on your own, and just feature your original work but Artists have that platform, the funds to to the project and the resources, they should use that to their advantage to put something meaningful input from locals.
- In your most recent piece “The American Dream” you combined imagery of money and labor. Can you tell us a little more about this piece?
I made this piece to show that in this day and age migrant workers literally work in these billion dollar fields of business, the food industry business, and they don’t get sh*t in return. They’re unappreciated, underpaid, disposable, replaceable, seen as worthless.
- What are the challenges of being a small business owner as well as a creative?
Trying to figure out the money stuff of running a small business, like taxes, figuring out what to charge, how much needs to be set aside to pay for inventory. It’s hard to figure it out without any prior knowledge. Same thing with being a creative, you gotta figure out what you want to charge on original art pieces, where to find top quality print shops if you want to sell prints. It’s all a learning process and I am learning something everyday.
- What is the role of social media in your art process? You also have an online shop called The Mousy Collection. What are you goals with this line?
I use Instagram/Fakebook a lot show that I am still active as an artist and I haven’t fallen off lol. I like to update everyone on what I am working on, I get so excited when I have an idea and I can show others who like my stuff the process of it and how it’s coming along. It’s nice to see people who don’t even know you, or have met you be so supportive of what you’re doing.My goals with Mousy Collection, hmmm I’m not sure. I mean when I started, it was more of an experiment to see what else I could put my art on. I thought about possibly opening up a little shop to sell my stuff as well as stuff from other local artists and artisans, but who knows, that’s just something I’ve had in the air for a while. I can’t say for sure that Mousy Collection will be around for long because I eventually want to focus on just creating art, in term of doing more public art, showcases and exhibitions and not creating merchandise and inventory.
- How do you connect with other creatives?
I’m actually kind of shy, so unless I’m reaching out to someone I know at a vending event and choppin it up, A lot of the “connecting” is through Social Media (Insta). If I know them in real life, and if we have the time, I’ll try to make time to catch up for a bit. A lot of art related events are a great way to network, like if I’m vending I’ll say hi to my neighboring vendors and say hi to the new faces.
- What are the challenges of censorship of your art? You had a recent run in with your Selena merchandise, can you elaborate a little on this?
Challenges: I have to be careful of what images inspire me to create art from… ahem specifically anything involving Selena.
When I made an art print of Selena, the image was taken from google and I thought nothing of it (copyright wise). A lot of people loved the art I created and it encouraged me to make more art of her. Then came the keychains of just her face. I posted these items on Etsy, Etsy later deletes my posts because they were flagged as copyright infringement, and a “Rep” of the Quintanilla came after me. I’m sure the family is paying someone to track tags on Etsy or google with anything related to the name so that they’re the only one profiting. I did this outta creativity and it came out nice, so I was like wtf really? There’s people out there selling merch with Selena’s actual photos and ya’ll came after me because of a digital illustration? Money talks, and if the her family isn’t making it, neither can you. Well me, in this case.Word to the wise: don’t make any art of Selena Quintanilla unless you want to be shut down by the family’s Rep without any say on your behalf.
- What was your favorite project from 2018?
It would have to be my public art piece “Monarch Butterflies” for Seattle Center. Although my the overall design was hella flawed, it made me really proud to have something up in a public space that was accessible to EVERYONE. People that walked by the tree where it hung, saw it. The people that worked there, the birds, bugs and squirrels interacted with it at some point. It held up in all the elements of Seattle weather too, I’m hella proud of that. This was the first ever public art installation I’ve ever done, you gotta realize that this, coming from ME where I didn’t do art for damn near 6 years and something of mine was up??? IN PUBLIC LIKE THAT? That’s big.
- What are your goals for 2019?
GO hard and do work for my communities (especially white center & seatac), I’m definitely trying to learn some new art skills this year such as muraling and airbrushing. . Lastly, make sure I am putting 100% energy into things, everything art, my relationships with people.
- What is your advice for up and coming artists?
- Don’t give up on your passion!
- Always practice, always make time for your art!
- Don’t be hard on yourself because it takes time and effort.
- Ponte Las Pillas! (Mexican saying for Put your batteries on) Which ties into put a lot of hard work and effort into your work!
- Where can we find your artwork to purchase? What are some important links to follow to keep up with your work?
I’ll always post which works are for purchase on my IG’s:
But you can inquire for specific ones by sending me a message here on my website: www.mousydevilla.com,
My Etsy shop has some cool stuff too 😉 : www.etsy.com/shop/MousyCollection
Facebook business page: Mousy Collection
FEB ICE CREAM THURSDAE Vol 25
Thursday 2/7/2019 6-9pm
FREE EVENT // FAMILY FRIENDLY // COMMUNITY FEELS
Special thanks to Kryse @ Central District Ice Cream Company!