Cara Mullinary
Pop Culture Illustrator & Surface Designer

Cara Mullinary

Pop Culture Illustrator & Surface Designer

Koreatown, Los Angeles

www.caramullinary.com
Instagram @caramullinary

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I’m an illustrator who works mainly in the realm of pop culture

I'm an illustrator who works mainly in the realm of pop culture, but I love drawing any subject matter that seems ridiculous, out of the norm, or is trending.  I'm in to anything that can make me laugh!

 

WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

I have been an artist my entire life, and gained my BFA in 2013 in screen printing & graphic design.  Since then I moved to Los Angeles & work full time as a freelance illustrator. In my time since graduating, I've designed menus, packaging & product labels, stationery, instructional diagrams, promotional material, & many other things that have helped me to build my portfolio & my network here in Los Angeles.

 

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FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?

I would say that I see things in a different way than other artists because my ideas stem from personal experience.  For example, my Drake "Hotline Bling" rendition was spawned from waking up one morning with that song stuck in my head. It made me think about all the old cellphones my friends & I used to call each other on & how, before the iPhone was invented, we would go to the Verizon store & check out all the new flip phones.  It was such a big deal when your 2 year plan was up & you could pick out a new one.  We all had different versions & I wanted to memorialize & celebrate that time in our lives, because in some ways it was special.  It is personal to me, but remains relatable to mostly anyone who grew up before 2007, & can be understood by anyone who didn't.  Most of my projects are created with this same type of thought. I'm also detail oriented & like to spend time with my drawings. Because I've worked in this way for so long, I'm able to work quickly, yet still efficiently.

 

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WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

I'm currently working on a bunch of new zines with collective themes of fame, iconography, & status.  I'm excited for them to enter the world because they feel more "me" than any other work I've done thus far.  I'm also always working on my "Music Vidz" series, which turns my favorite or trending music videos into repeat patterns that I turn into T-shirts.

 

WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?

I'm really good at animation but I don't do it very often because it takes a long time to complete a project.  I've been trying to dabble in this more over the past couple months.  I always feel really accomplished after creating a good GIF.

 

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WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?

Figuring out ways to be put in touch with art directors of magazines / finding an agent & Instagram being such a factor with these things. I don't think Instagram is an accurate representation of an artist's talent or potential & it shouldn't hold so much weight in furthering your career - a problem I'm finding to be facing most artists, big & small.  Also, trying to maneuver the path of being an artist in general.  It is such an intuitive process because there is no guide book & no one can tell you the right step to take next.  Being an artist is very much an individual sport! Which I think can sometimes lead self doubt & feeling stuck.  I'm learning how to power through these things & that artist communities help 100%. 

 

WHAT TASK KEEPS LANDING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE TO DO LIST?

I have a hard time with bringing my digital files into reality, which always remains at the bottom of my to do list. I like the idea of how patterns can be turned into almost anything - the fabric on a lounge chair, your favorite pair of socks, a basketball, a beach towel, etc. I'd say this is why I'm moving into making more zines.  There is something unique about holding a physical object in your hands that was created completely from scratch by someone.

 

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IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HOUR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?

I would pay someone to run errands - pick up my prints from the store, go to home depot to get that one thing, order packaging supplies, get my groceries.  Anything that could help me in sitting at my desk to concentrate.  Other than that I like being the driver of my life & the things that I need to get done. I've worked for many artists who pay people to completely design their creative ideas for them.  That's definitely something I'll never be paying someone to do!

 

LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?

I would probably give myself the advice of listening to my inner voice more during college.  My program was highly conceptually based which meant you had to know exactly why you were doing what you were doing, instead of feeling out what you were creating based on your intuition.  I wish that I wouldn't have let that affect me so much in the decisions I made about my work at that time. I've always been obsessed with reality TV, junk magazines, & anything that had to do with pop & celebrity culture.  I never realized that I could make art about these subjects, so I wasted a lot of time searching for the right things to create in a fine art environment.  I always felt stupid or belittled by my peers & professors for finding interest in these things, but now I support myself with them. I would also tell myself (& still tell myself) to stop being such a perfectionist.  I get caught up in smaller details sometimes that prevent me from continuously moving forward.

 

IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?

I would love to learn more about how artists source out gallery opportunities, etc.  There are so many opportunities in LA that it's sometimes difficult to sift through & find the best.  Also, where & how to best network with other artists in the community.  

 

WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

In terms of freelancing, I'm looking for any project that is fun or humorous in some way, even if it doesn't directly relate to pop culture.  I've had clients come to me for silly family portraits, broad city inspired bachelorette table cards, or a menu drawing of the restaurant owner standing on a pizza like David Bowie as Little Prince.  I've also worked on projects where Kanye West is falling out of the sky into Krusty the Clown's arms.  As long as it's fun I'm up for the challenge!

 

 

WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL CLIENT?

I would love to do more commercial illustration work for bigger brands like Nike, or Urban Outfitter's Blog!  Other ideal clients for commercial work are any pop culture publications.  I would love to illustrate spots for Paper Magazine, Refinery29, Complex, Nylon, etc..  I also think it would be a dream to collab with American Apparel in some way.

 

WHAT IS YOUR RATE? 

Every commission is priced differently.  I price projects based on the number of drawings people are inquiring about, how long I think they will take to complete, whether they are colored or in black & white, what usage rights a client is looking for, etc.  The best way to figure out how much I charge is to reach out asking for a quote!

 

HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

EMAIL EMAIL EMAIL!! If you are serious about wanting to work together, sending me an email is the most efficient way.  I also like when clients offer their budget straight up! Thats a good starting place, along with including as many details as possible.  It's helpful to know what size, what type of file you will need, or what is your color scheme?  If these things are already out of the way, then we can get started!

 

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

Watch a lot of TV/movies, listen to a lot of music, eavesdropping, & eating good food!

 

 


This member profile was originally published in February 2016.