Some of you might remember that I posted this interview years ago on October, 1st 2012 when my website was still under SHERMGRAFIK dot com. Well oddly enough, FB sent me a memory that I posted this interview 8 years ago today. Here it is again because I’m really missing her heavy right now. I’m having a hard time feeling excited for Halloween, as her transition anniversary is the 20th. Her and I would start drawing around this time for Inktober on Instagram then fall tf off after a week or so because life happens. I can feel my body grieving and my spirit wandering, not wanting to be present.🥺

roxybmontoya-artwork

Hi Roxy! Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. You know I’m a HUGE fan of your work. Can you tell us a little about who you are, where you live and what you do?

I grew up in Hawaii, but currently live in Las Vegas. I came out here right after I graduated high school to attend the Art Institute because Hawaii didn’t have art schools at the time. While in school I met my husband, got married, had two boys, and we’ve been in Vegas ever since where I work as a fine artist, graphic designer, and instructor at IADT.

I have always known you to be a creative individual. How did you get into art?

I always felt the need to get images out of my head when I was little and kept a lot of journals that I’d write and doodle in. My sister and I have an 8-year age gap, so that being said we never had anything in common so I had to play on my own and keep myself occupied. I wrote a lot of stories and illustrated them. Kind of like imaginary friends on paper, but none of them were human. They were all magical little animals. I still prefer to paint animals to this day. I think they are much more interesting than humans.

Since I know you personally, I also know that you are a graphic designer and also an instructor! How did you get into that? Do you prefer one over the other?

I’ve always wanted to teach! But what I didn’t expect was to be teaching at a college, I always told myself maybe high school? Or maybe even a Jr. high art class, but college never really crossed my mind. A good friend of mine got hired as the program chair at IADT and wanted to build a solid team of new instructors and asked if I was interested. Before interviewing I sat in one of her classes to see if it was for me, and I fell in love. The rest is history and I’ve been there for 3 years now and love what I do. I love school because I’m a huge nerd. If I weren’t an instructor, I’d probably be a student.

Also, I don’t think I prefer one to the other because I teach what I love to do.

Do you gravitate towards a certain style of painting, designing, overall creating?

I think I’m still and will forever be trying to find my style. I am inspired and love so many different art movements, artists, and styles, that it’s only natural to include a little bit of everything in certain art pieces. I also love to experiment. But when it comes down to it, the core of my fine artwork has a strong Pop-Surrealism background and influence.

Design work is a bit trickier since I work for clients, but one thing I am a fan of is fresh and clean work. That will NEVER go out of style. I like to keep up with design trends and incorporate them when I can to keep my work up to date and marketable.

On the topic of instruction – what is the constant question that your students ask, or a topic or concept that they tend to struggle with?

Funny you should ask, but believe it or not, a reoccurring question I get at least once a quarter is “How much should I charge for my work?” This is such a broad question and I don’t give any solid answers, but instead try to give some advice on finding their worth. I also let them know that some of my best portfolio pieces were done for free, but the experience and exposure were priceless. It gives them a lot to think about and it has them view the graphic design and art world in a whole other perspective.

When you start a painting, do you have a routine or way of doing things? Does it have to be quiet or do you have tv or music on?

When I start a painting, it’s always intense! I feel like a surgeon about to perform heart surgery. I need all of my tools ready and laid out perfectly. I need all of my tools, cleaned, and I need to be focused. Once I sit down I am NOT getting up unless the house is on fire (because there is nothing more frustrating than having your concentration interrupted!) After I triple check my work area to make sure everything I need is there (including coffee and extra water,) I put on my painting playlist and slip on my earphones. Everyone knows not to bother or talk to me till I’m done.

I notice that you paint bunnies A LOT. Why bunnies? Is there a meaning behind it, your spirit animal perhaps?

Besides being cuddly and cute, I’ve always had rabbits growing up. I’ve read that rabbits represent creativity and fear and always felt that was an interesting combination….

Where do you get your inspiration from? What motivates you to create?

I love and collect antique children’s books. I love any nostalgic imagery and the books I have are filled with amazing illustrations. My favorite illustrator is Richard Scarry.

What motivates you to create?

Not too sound overly emo, but the best motivation I have ever had was a broken heart. I paint my best work when I’m depressed.

This is a random question but what are your pet peeves?

When people are late. Biggest pet peeve ever.

Honorable mentions: Bad parenting (like parents who bring their kids to R rated movies!) people who misspell “they’re,” assholes who take up two parking spaces, stupid baby names, people who go shopping during peak hours and use a bazillion coupons, dirty keyboards.

Ok so now, the opposite of that question – what do you love, admire, obsess about?

Typography, Radiohead, alchemy and symbolism, analogous color pallets, blood, thick cuts of fatty marbled meat, pictures of ice cream, cholas, silly tattoos, sushi, human anatomy, vintage children books, hello kitty, my kids, my husband, and my best friends.

What goes on in that brain of yours? Do you have deep thoughts about life’s greatest mysteries, or do you get paranoid about the government watching your every move?

I am always thinking of my purpose, because I think everyone in this universe has a purpose.

Any guilty pleasures?

Food porn, silly pictures of animals on the internet and making up captions to what they would say and how they would sound like out loud, vampire shows, reading Teen Vogue instead of adult Vogue. Ugh, I’ve already said too much.

Jesus or Satan?

One of my favorite movies of all time is Constantine, and I’m always daydreaming of being the female version of him. How rad would that be? Anyway, team Jesus all the way. WWJDOMGFTW.

If God (or aliens) decided to destroy us and it was up to you to represent us, what would you say are the redeeming qualities of the human race?

Despite our imperfections and capacity of evil and greed (let’s forget about all of that for a quick second,) humans will never stop fighting for what they believe in. We’re the only species that keeps advancing; we’ve built pyramids, been to the moon and cured diseases. Regardless of some of our actions, which can be ugly, we have the ability create beautiful things.

What do you think about art on the Internet and the amount of copying people do (whether it’s intentional or not)?

I think it’s more common than not, especially with young artists just starting out. It’s a cycle. We all get inspired and subconsciously (or not) we’ve “borrowed” elements or techniques we’ve admired and included them within our own artwork. Now, if someone reproduces your work, and continues to do so, that’s a problem. But there is nothing wrong with being inspired and openly letting people know where the original idea came from, for the sake of not looking like a douche. The idea behind this is to eventually find yourself and your own style. There is a difference between being a reproduction artist vs. someone completely original and known for his or her own unique style.

Speaking of the internets, what websites do you frequent?

The usuals. For design I like to check out what the people at Behance or Dribbble are up to. I have a handful of artists I like to follow, including Shermgrafik.com. Then of course guilty pleasures like Facebook, Pinterest and Allrecipes.com (because I love to cook.) And if I remember, I visit Postsecret on Sundays.

Are you a lover or a hater?

I wasn’t sure so I googled “Lover or Hater Quiz.” I took it and it said I was 50/50. It also gave me some advice: “I know you mean well, but you should be more open minded, and socialize more.” After taking the quiz, I feel slightly more hater than not.

Any advice or words of wisdom to those who are just starting out in the creative world?

Read “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon. Also, try to give back when you can. Not every gig has to be a paying one. Paint a mural for your community or design a logo for a charity out of the goodness of your heart (I love doing benefit shows and knowing my piece will help towards a good cause.) You were given a talent; never stop being thankful for that. Like any good thing in this world, nourish it and appreciate it. Keep evolving and even when you’re satisfied with a piece of art or design, start brainstorming how the next one will be 10 times better. Know there will always be someone better than you. Stay humble.

Is there anything else you’d like to say or let people know about yourself?

No animals were harmed during the making of this interview. 

Roxy on Instagram 🐰 Roxy’s website

Her most recent illustrations are at @xactoknife

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I snagged this infographic from James Altucher’s Twitter. His writings have been resonating with me lately.

Hopefully this will remind me everyday to do something about it, if I really want to break free from my one source of income.

Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate having a job doing what I do best; it’s been a stable and abundant life. It’s actually one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. But something keeps tugging at me, something keeps telling me I am meant for more. And when I am online, I am often drawn to writers & authors who talk about this kind of stuff.

And I can’t explain why.


I typed some of the Infographic for your reading enjoyment. I will come back and type out the rest.

How to Diversify Your Life by James Altucher

The only way to survive, to get off the floor, to build, to have ideas, to create businesses, to have flourishing relationships, is with diversification. And with the greatest invention since the wheel, the internet, it’s easier to do it now than ever before.

01 – Diversify Ideas
People ask me, “When I’m writing my 10 ideas for the day to build my idea muscle, should they all be business ideas, or around one sector?” No! Write ideas about anything you can. Then mate them. Make your brain supple and creative in every area.

02 – Creative Output
Everyone wants to create their “masterpiece”. But you can’t. All you can do is create. Then the world will decide what is a masterpiece. Thomas Edison has 1,093 patents but we remember him today for just one. The point: be prolific.

03 – Diversify The People You Meet
I’m shy. I like to stay home and not answer the phone. But I make myself schedule meetings with 3 or 4 new people each week. I go into the city and schedule them all back-to-back. I always want to be proactive about learning things from new people.

04 – Diversify Your Home
The American Dream dictates you have to own a house. As if your identity is tied up in the wood box you live in. But the world is an enormous and amazing place. Why not live in Airbnb’s and diversify your identity across exotic places around the globe?

05 – Diversify Your Platform
You can’t just blog. You can’t just be on Facebook or Twitter. You can’t just self-publish on Amazon. You have to be everywhere. Don’t wait for the mainstream media to pick you. Go to where the people are and make it happen.

06 – Diversify Your Thoughts
I spent too much of my life worrying about money and women. Meanwhile, there’s 100 billion other fun things to think about each day. Diversification of thoughts is the only way to slow life down, to let the thoughts simmer instead of boil.

07 – Diversify What You Read
Get 4 books: one about your career, one about your top interest or hobby (unrelated to your career), one thriller, and one book about spirituality or history. Read a little from each every day. Just 20 total pages a day equals 36 books a year.

08 – Diversify Your Health
List all of the unhealthy things you do. You don’t need to cut everything at once, but start one at a time. It’s painful to be 90 years old and know if you had done just a few things differently it wouldn’t hurt so much every time you went to the bathroom.

09 – Diversify The Way You Meet People
Adults think once you graduate college you have to go to bars to meet people. Not true. Put yourself in environments where you’re going to meet the kind of people you want to be around. Go to meetings, take classes, join groups, travel.

10 – Start More Than One Business
Start many businesses. Or jobs. Or careers. Start them at the same time. Eventually one will standout and flourish. This will be the one that will make you fabulously wealthy while having fun. But the only way to find it is to try many things.

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Loving yourself has been on the rise as of late and I really think it’s here to stay. Maybe perhaps it’s WHAT I’ve been choosing to see/experience more and more of and so now I see it everywhere; at least in my digital/real world. It’s a beautiful thing to witness people loving themselves, but what does it mean exactly?

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I know what you’re probably thinking – the title of the post is completely unrelated to this image I created. Yes, your observations are correct. But I was in the mood, or better yet in a zone to draw crystals with my Wacom tablet while at work for some reason and attach it to this particular post. The title is still related to what I’m about to write…

What would you do if you were fired today? These are the kinds of thoughts that have been occupying my mind lately.

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rainbow-cobra

Even though I haven’t blogged and I haven’t drawn or made new art, I have been creating. It may not seem like it, but everyday – every hour, every minute, every second we are all creating with our thoughts. And simultaneously, we are also destroying thoughts, ideas and mental patterns that no longer serve us.

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dark-fantasies-sherm

I’m not going to lie; there is a part of me that really wants my art to sell, but that is definitely not my sole purpose of creating. I make art in hopes that I can push my creative limits and because I just love it. It’s part of who I am, like I’m just wired for it. Even when I don’t create anything for months, I am still drawn to some kind of art or I surround myself with it.

So I’m posting this because this is an example of me pushing my creativity. My friend & local art dealer Alfie is currently curating a comic book themed art show and this is what I came up with.

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