This month we chat with Lori Menna, Mexico based graphic artist and the creator of Cosmic Collage, a window into another dimension.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Cosmic Collage… how you got started as a graphic artist?
I am the mother of Oliver and Claudia, 8 & 6. We live in a magical house that my partner and I designed and built our selves. The house is art, from the river rock details to the hand crafted and custom designed tiles.
I was always an artist. It was the early 90s when my father bought our families first computer. I used to create Grateful Dead Bears with the program “Paint”. I would zoom all the way in and count the pixels. Then when I wanted to go to art school, my father bought me one of those new colorful iMacs, the “G3", a turquoise one. He told me I needed a computer if I wanted to make a living as an artist. My parents always encouraged my creativity, sending me to extra art classes, exposing my sister and I to art, plays, music and dance.
Cosmic Collage was the door that opened after I closed the door on property management a few years ago. I had this really stressful job managing a high end luxury home in Sayulita. The owner was toxic and disrespectful. I had the same dream 3 times where he offered me a glass of water with a broken and jagged edge and told me to give it to my son to drink from. After several obstacles, I finally faced my fears and let go of the job. It was hard, because it was really good money and I wasn’t receiving any child support from my children father at the time. Sure enough, by letting it all go, I made room for Cosmic Collage to develop and what a world of difference. When you create and live from your heart and your truth, magically things start to happen.
We love the colorful composition and fantasy aspect of your art … What inspires your work?
I’m inspired by the great mystery of life. The cosmos, the earth, sunsets, nature, flowers, plants and trees. I live on the Pacific Ocean in mexico, the sunsets and the ocean are such a dream here. I’m always looking up at the clouds, finding shapes with my children, just as I did as a child. Always looking for the moon and always stopping the days work to run to the ocean and see the sun set.
When creating new art, what's your creative process?
Something usually sparks the idea. It happens a lot during kundalini mediation after yoga. A flower I see, a thought, a feeling, a dream. A lot of the art has a significant meaning with what’s happening in my life or in my dream time. I try to stay connected to my sub consciousness and pull from it. I believe in synchronicities and vibrations. I look for signs that illuminate my path and my creativity remains fluid and easy to access. I don’t search too much, it’s more like a channel of energy that runs through me from a higher power. I actually don’t even feel that I can take much responsibility for the art. I’m more of just a messenger.
You’re not only a graphic artist, but a web designer… do you find the two mediums overlap a lot when creating websites for your clients?
It has been my more recent goal to attract clients that resonate and identify with the art of cosmic collage. However my portfolio is very diverse, not everything is cosmic. I suppose I’m working with both sides of the brain. When I can apply both is where I see my best work and my future endeavors.
What has been the greatest tool or asset in your business?
My mind, my experience and my Mac book pro!
What has been one of the biggest challenges in growing your online business? If you could go back and do it differently, would you?
Balancing being a mother and business owner is always my challenge. I am the head of my house hold and technically a single mother of 2. Their father left when my second child was just an infant, those were some of my most challenging days. During this time I taught myself Word Press customization and found good programmers to team up to keep my business growing and make good money designing websites to support my family.
As for Cosmic Collage, I never really tried to grow this. It just happened. I think the fact that I had a good solid business as a graphic artist and web designer, I kept cosmic collage as my labor of love, not putting a demand that it produce for me financially has been the secret. It’s about love and creation, not money. My business as a graphic artist and web designer grew organically from keeping the right contacts working hard and connecting with the right people. Most of my clients come to me from a recommendation. I don’t have any regrets. I love all of the mistakes and bad decisions I’ve made, they’ve made me who I am and brought me to where I am today.
If you had one piece of advice for our readers as it pertains to starting, growing, or scaling a creative endeavor, what would it be?
Practice is learning, it builds integrity and character and makes you stronger and wiser. Also- not taking things personally, when someone doesn’t like what I’ve created, it’s important to brush it off and move on. You can’t be everyones cup of tea, you just can’t.
When you’re not creating magical dreamscapes, what do you like to do in your free time?
I love to surf on my custom made purple longboard! We surf as family, we play in the ocean and the jungle. We go on adventures and explore magical Mexico! I have some amazing women that inspire me and make me laugh until I cry. I cook, I love cooking, it’s just another form of art. We work on projects in our home and talk about plans.
Is there a philosophy or motto you live by?
Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death. - unknown
Can you share with us what you are currently working on? Any big projects or collaborations on the horizon?
I connected with this amazing woman this year, Zhena Muzyka, she found me through a piece that I created for “Stand for Standing Rock”. I soon realized that she is the woman who started the company “Zhena’s Gypsy Tea”. When in LA, I would go all over to buy every can of black Rose Gypsy Tea that I could get my hands on to bring back to mexico. It’s the tea that soothes my soul in a way that I can hardly begin to explain. I could not believe that the woman that created this tea was contacting me to design her book cover. Talk about Cosmic connections. We have worked on several projects over the past year and she just recently came to visit me. She works as a publisher and business advisor now. Needless to say, we had the most amazing time. We have so much in common and have had so many similar experiences in life its difficult to believe. We decided to start a branding company called New Moon Branding. With the philosophy that branding your business is a sacred, spiritual and ceremonial process that we intend to guide clients through. Stay tuned!