Friday, May 13, 2016

Painting Parent- Ricky Mujica

How many children do you have? What are their ages?

I have a daughter who is nine and a son who is two.

How did your artistic career begin?

I began to get work in the field of illustration toward the end of my senior year in college. My first big assignment was for Reader's Digest. I did several paintings for a John Le CarrĂ© short story, called the “Looking Glass War”. Those illustrations sadly, never got published. But it got me started as a professional artist.

What is your Parenting/work/art situation?

I have two children. During the days, I'm “Daddy Day Care”. My wife gets home from work, we eat, we put the children to bed, we talk a little, then I shoot off to my studio to get some work done. Lately, that's been getting harder and harder to do that because my little one is two years old, is full of energy, and is kicking my butt! I'm cutting down on that schedule until my little one starts preschool.
On Mondays, my sister in law takes care of the kids and I sometimes put in 20 hours on that one day. Sometimes I can pull myself away from my family and work a full day on Saturdays.
No art on Sundays. That is the sacred “family day”. My wife and children get my undivided attention on Sundays and don't have to compete with a drawing pad for my attention.

When do you make time to do your art and do you have a regular art routine?

I covered this in the previous question. But I would also like to add that whenever I can, I like to draw or paint my family members. I try to crash some of my friend's classes at least once a week in order to paint from a live model. I also keep a sketch pad so I can sketch constantly. I usually fill a sketchpad in about a month.

Do your children get involved with your art?

My daughter loves to draw and will often pick up a drawing pad as a form of relaxation. She is nine years old and really loves drawing cartoon characters. She has expressed interest in developing her skills and I think I will start teaching her soon. She has enjoyed museums since she was a baby and has been to the Musee d'Orsay in Paris at least six times! My son on the other hand is too unruly to take to museums at the moment. Funny how different they are from each other.

Do they inspire aspects of your art?

Yes they do. The work I do as an artist, (not my illustration work), is driven by empathy. I want to deal with life and death, joy and pain, with the human condition. My wife and my children constantly inspire me and even if they aren't in my painting, they are in my thoughts as I paint.

How has having children changed your artwork?

Before I had children, I was completely happy doing illustration. My children have inspired me to attempt to make the paintings I want to make. I now want to tackle tougher subjects. I want to talk about the human condition.

How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?

Ha ha! The other household tasks never get done and as a result my wife is always annoyed with me!

Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?

My daughter is nine and I was at the point where I was getting in full days while she went to school. But now, I have a two year old and painting during the day (except on Mondays when my sister in law babysits), is hard! It's very, very difficult to get the work I want to do done. That will change a little next year when he starts preschool (I hope!).

How do you encourage your children to be artistic?

I don't, I just like to take them to museums and I like to draw in their presence as much as I can. That's as far as I go for now. I want them to come to art on their own and not because I pushed them to it. If they decide to become artists, fantastic. But if they don't, I'm OK with that. I just want them to be happy.

Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your children to be artistic?


Have you seen your children take inspiration from your artwork?

Yes. Many times when I pull out a sketchpad to draw, my daughter and my son will do it as well.

In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or easier?

It's a tough thing to be completely present when you are with your kids if you are constantly thinking about painting. It's very difficult to pull myself away from my kids in order to go down to my studio.

Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?

I haven't noticed.

Are there any other things about Balancing Painting and Parenting that you would like to share?

I used to put painting above everything else in my life and my relationships suffered for it. Now, my family is first. I'm happy to drop my brushes anytime, anywhere, if my family needs me. It's important to paint as much as I can, but if I have no one to share the journey with, it just isn't worth it.

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