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Super excited to share my latest KO-OP interview with Polly Irungu, founder of Black Women Photographers, a global community and online database of Black women and non-binary photographers. We chat about the actions she is taking to create more inclusion and tackle racial bias in the photo industry. Check it out to learn more!

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Updated: Sep 11, 2020

I'm a fan of checking out a commercial artist's personal work - and think it's important to share these projects with folks who might hire you for a job.

Why? I see personal work and test shoots as a way to experiment and push the boundaries of your artwork. Although we may have graduated from school, there's still the School of Life which is never-ending and ever-changing; And as a commercial artist it's important to continue learning the craft and staying inspired.

You can also use these projects to dial in your POV. If you feel the need to strengthen your voice as an artist, now's your chance to figure it out without the pressure of a hard deadline or a client breathing down your neck.

And as a producer, I'm always interested in learning more about what makes you, YOU. Personal work is the perfect way to tell me what gets you fired up, what inspires you, or simply what you observe in the world around you.

As an artist myself, I constantly strive to think of new techniques, color combinations, and ways to display my art to help illustrate a concept or theme. I can't imagine seeing it any other way. Even when I'm surfing, each day in the water is different and offers up a new challenge to improve my skills - whether it's the conditions, tide, a new break, or even the line-up. I'm grateful for these opportunities to learn more and stay fresh.

Here's where the discount comes in! If you're looking for some accountability, support, and feedback on your next personal project, I encourage you to check out the Art of Freelance.

It's a 10-week online workshop to help creative freelancers set goals, create a plan to accomplish them, and then do the work alongside a community of other creative freelancers.

As an alum and cohort guide, it has helped me achieve goals in my consulting and fine art practice. Enrollment is currently open and you can get a 10% discount if you use the promo code FRIENDOFMARA.

Here are the workshop dates below. Click here to enroll now!

  • 8/27 - 9/11 Enrollment Open

  • 9/17 - 12/2 Workshop 

  • 12/4 & 12/5 Socially Distanced Showcases on Zoom

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I've been reading a lot more this summer mostly due to the pandemic. It's given me a lot of peace and perspective to dive into the lives and journeys of these fictional characters. I've also always been a fan of historical fiction and these four novels capture the essence of the time in very different ways.

If you'd prefer to borrow a book instead of purchase one, check out your local library online. The LA library app called Libby is awesome and available to download for Apple and Android. You can borrow and place holds on books, magazines and audio materials with just a few clicks. I borrowed and enjoyed each of these books below via the app.

The Night Tiger, by Yangsze Choo - A sumptuous historical novel with a dash of magical realism set in the lush jungles and towns around Malaysia.

This Tender Land, by William Kent Krueger - Reminiscent of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn but set during the Depression, this book takes readers on journey down the river with four orphans - and what it means to be lost and found.

Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead - A Pulitzer prize-winning novel and odyssey that encapsulates the brutality of the pre-Civil War era and one woman's search for freedom.

Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens - Set in the marshlands of the North Carolina coast, this atmospheric novel is a mix of mystery, coming-of-age, and romance. Its connection to nature and the main character's surroundings is breath-taking.

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