An Interview with Monica Amneus by Rebecca Juliette
Artists Work is a BmoreArt interview series that explores the work that artists do to make a living while they work on their ‘real work’ – their art.
Monica Amneus is originally from Phoenix, Arizona, but moved to Baltimore to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art. She graduated with a BFA in Illustration in May 2016. As a child, she spent most of her time reading macabre books and listening to new wave by herself. Her teen years can be summed up with the exclamation “It’s not a phase, dad!”–and those words have fueled her professional goals into adulthood.
She spends most of her time now creating posters and illustrations for bands and breweries. When she isn’t drawing, she is usually playing guitar and changing the lyrics of songs to include the name of her dog, Banksy, and watching every television show that has ever been made. Monica lives and works in Hampden, where she shares a warehouse space with Pizza Party Printing.
Name: Monica Amneus AKA Monkah
Description of Art You Make:
I mostly create illustrations for posters, beer labels, and advertisements. My work includes hand lettering, floral elements mixed with darker imagery, and a touch of the surreal. I work mainly digitally, but a lot of my work ends up being screen printed as well.
Luckily, this is my day job. I am a full-time Illustrator and Graphic Designer.
Hours per week at work: 50 – 60 I’m sure
Hours per week in studio: Same as work, they’re the same place!
Duties or tasks performed at day job:
I spend my days answering a lot of emails, but other than that, it’s mostly drawing and designing things. I am also able to have my dog with me at my studio, so I spend a lot of time petting him and singing him songs.
Best thing about your day job:
I have so much freedom because I am my own boss. I do have to make sure I keep regular business hours because my communication between me and my clients is so crucial to my work, but other than that, I get to do what I love and get paid for it.
How does your day job enhance or detract from your studio practice?
Because my day job is essentially my studio practice, it doesn’t detract too much, but I do find myself struggling to create personal work among all of the client work sometimes.
Favorite job ever:
I was a dog walker for a while, and that was a great job because I got to be outside with dogs all day, and I could spend a lot of time thinking about my work.
Job you couldn’t wait to leave:
I worked at Starbucks for 3 years. I did really like my job most of the time, but I just couldn’t wait to move on and get out of customer service. I was also so tired of wearing long sleeves in the Arizona summers to hide my tattoos at work, so that was a huge bonus to working for myself.
Is it your goal to become a full-time artist? Why or why not?
Well yeah, and I’m extremely lucky to be able to do that. I would like to get to a place where I can be more selective about the jobs I take, and maybe cut down on the strictly graphic design-based jobs and do more illustrative work.
What advice do you have for young artists just out of school, in terms of balancing your work and studio practice?
I spent almost the entire time I was in school doing freelance work on top of it, and as stressful as it got sometimes, it taught me a lot on how to balance your workload and allowed me to discover how I work and I really got to know my limits and strengths as an illustrator. I also don’t have the shock of going from school into a career, as it was a more gradual transition for me.
What’s coming up next for you as an artist? What projects are you working on or looking forward to?
I am currently moving into a studio in Hampden with Pizza Party Printing, a local screen printing company, so I’m really excited about that. There are sure to be a lot of events at the space and once I’m out of school, I’ll have plenty of time to start creating some more personal work.
Upcoming Show: The Mufflers: Motorcycles + Art
Find Monica’s work here:
BmoreArt is Rebecca Juliette’s day job. She facilitiates the Artists Work Interview Series and acts as Assistant Editor and Events Manager. Email her your events and calls for entry at events [at] bmoreart.com.
Biography and all images courtesy of the artist.