We had the good fortune of connecting with Talisa Almonte and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Talisa, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
All the no’s that you get before you get that yes. I feel like as an artist, people tend to have this misconception that you’re just creating pretty things, but there’s so much behind the scenes that happens when you’re trying to establish yourself as an artist and create a business. Especially when instagram only highlights the finished product but not the countless times you might have redrawn that piece, or the clients feedback to rework something on it. One of the things I strive to do monthly, is outreach. Whether it’s sending emails pitching myself to work with certain people or brands, or sending messages on instagram. I can’t tell you how many messages I’ve received of “not at this time” or just straight up no response at all. But the advice I can give is, that you have to be consistent and persistent. Nothing in life and especially in the creative field is handed to you. You have to be willing to put yourself out there in more ways than just sharing your work on social media (although that’s truly the first big step). It can be daunting but the worst thing that can happen is that you get a no or no response at all and the key is to not take it personally and keep creating and putting yourself out there because the Yes is only a matter of time.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As an Afro-Latina woman, my art stems a lot from the lack of representation I had growing up. Most of my digital illustrations depict women of color with curly hair but overall, my art is about inclusivity, empowerment, spreading positive vibes with fun colors and textures. I think what really draws people to my work is the relatability of the work I create, the colors and my realistic illustration mix. I’ve been working on my side hustle illustrating, designing logos, and creating custom art for about 4 years but only recently established my LLC as Almonte Studio to take my business to the next level and freelance full time as a creative. It’s definitely been a long journey from studying and graduating with a BFA in fashion design, to working for brands like Victoria Secret and Gap and then deciding that it was time to go back to my true passion which has always been art. I’ve dreamed of this very moment of having my own creative business since I was kid drawing with my dad and watching him create all kinds of different work for different clients. The biggest challenge was being consistent enough with my hustle while managing the demands of working a day job. Ironically enough, the pandemic and losing my full time job is what really helped me sit down with myself and realize how much I could actually accomplish if I applied myself and managed my time better. I also reflected a lot on what I’d want my life to look like in the future and no matter what way I imagined it, I always pictured myself working for myself. It’s definitely not for everyone and it’s a lot of work being a one-woman show but I’m excited for this next chapter in my career. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that it truly takes a village and consistency is key. Community is something I’m really passionate about as an artist and I will always pay it forward whether it’s resources, any tips or advice or any opportunities I know someone else would be better suited for. A lot of what I consider my success moments has been through word of mouth. There’s plenty of work out there for all of us creatives to exist. Community over competition any day. My brand / artist mission is to spread positivity, spark joy and make people feel a sense of empowerment and confidence. Always providing clients with good energy and custom art and illustration that is creative, bold, modern, colorful, and celebrates individuality.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ooo this is tough because New York City has so much! I’m a big foodie and love visiting breweries, I also love to bike around the city when it’s warmer out. It’s a great way to avoid the heat in the subways and makes for a nice scenic route. Because I live in Queens, I will focus this list on Queens specific places. In no particular order, here’s my list of go to places Activities/ sites/ shops: – Citi field: You have to go to a baseball game at least once and enjoy the stadium. – Flushing Meadow Park: Beautiful park where you can see the famous globe and the towers from the Men in Black movie. – Lockwood shops: love this little store. They have three different ones, one for clothing, one for stationary and one for home goods which is probably my favorite of the 3. Food/Restuarants: – The Alcove in Sunnyside: Seriously one of the best restaurants! not only is the service and owners so amazing. They have amazing food. I have never had a back experience there. Fav order – Chimichurri fries and Alcove Burger. – Queensboro: in Jackson Heights: Great atmosphere and also service. Fav order: Hawaiian Pizza (not your average Hawaiian) – Astoria Coffee: I love this little coffee shop. The service is always so great and they make an awesome ham and cheese croissant and iced chai latte. – Las Catrinas in Astoria (where I live) great Mexican food and also just a cute restaurant: Fav order – Sangritta (margarita mixed with sangria) and a quesadilla. – Ralphs: Ice cream spot that opened up in Astoria with an overwhelming amount of delicious flavors: Fav order – Graham Cracker Cream Ice. – Mom’s Kitchen and Bar: The most insane milkshake you’ll ever drink (delicious of course) Breweries: – Alewife – Finback – Big Alice – Five Boroughs – Single Cut – LIC beer project Pro tip: For a varied mix walk down 30th ave until steinway in Astoria (my neighborhood) for a ton of delicious food spots For some Latin spice walk down Roosevelt ave in Jackson Heights (old neighborhood)
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Definitely Rashelle Whiteharris, owner of the Women’s Collective Box. As I had mentioned about all the no’s before that yes, she was my very first yes. I had been following her brand for a while and wanted to work with her so bad but I didn’t reach out until I felt ready to potentially take on the job of being a featured artist for her box. Once I was ready, I messaged her almost monthly because I didn’t want to miss my chance to be featured and finally the opening came and I was able to not only be her featured artist once, but twice! Because of her brand and everything she does to support women owned businesses, my own business has grown a lot through her community. Not just in followers on social media, but I’ve even gotten commissions and even this interview because of her support.