· By Jeni Himmer
Customer Spotlight - Marisa Rivera
Meet Marisa Rivera, an inspiring book illustrator with lots of cat content!
How did you get started?
"I have always been an artist, like I’m sure almost every artist will say. But it took me a lot of doing the wrong thing and making the wrong choices to find the right thing: art. After years working in professional settings, I went to college and bounced around from potential profession to profession. I then wanted to do something quick and start working, so I went to school to become a dental assistant. During my externship, I realized I absolutely hated it. Around the same time I had started making art again as an escape and sharing it on Instagram, and I just knew I’m my heart that art was what I was supposed to be doing. When I was offered a job at the end of my program, I declined and have been an artist ever since."
What inspires you now?
"I am often inspired by pain and sadness, existence, nature, and cute things. I have always found art to be tremendously therapeutic for me, as I am able to transmute my sadness into a beautiful, external thing. Existence also inspires me, as I love thinking about what comes after, what came before, and find enjoyment in not being able to answer those questions with any certainty. Nature is always painting pictures for us, with its mathematical patterns and perfect color schemes so I definitely take from there as well. Also cats are cute and I love cute things, as opposite as that is from my other inspirations!"
How are you expressing your creativity in your free time and professionally?
"There isn’t much of a separation between my free time and professional creativity. I pretty much use all of my art in my career. Although, I do love to make the perfect gifts for my close friends and family, in whatever craft that may be, as well as bake for them during the holidays or for birthdays."
What's your favorite critter/object to paint?
"Cats are my favorite critter to paint. They are just so silly and quirky and moody and mysterious and cute, I can’t help but love them as my main subject."
Do you have a favorite moment that goes along with one of your illustrations?
"A very meaningful and important moment in my life is illustrated in “Will You Wait For Me There?” My dad had a very sudden and brief battle with cancer that ended in his death. While he lay in his bed before the end, I sang “Sawdust and Diamonds” by Joanna Newsom to him. He strained to tell me that it was the most beautiful song he’s ever heard. I loved my dad, but I was afraid to be myself around him. And singing something that I found so beautiful and meaningful, and just fully expressing myself in that way was a major moment of growth and love that I will never forget; I will take it to my grave."