Excited for Amanda, founder of @realtalk.blog and digital artist and advocate, to be on the blog today! She’s a talented breath of fresh air, and we hope you enjoy her story and check out her work on Instagram and the Real Talk blog!
Name: Amanda Acevedo
Location: Manhattan, LES
How did you determine that you wanted to be a digital artist?
I have been drawing since I was a child, traditionally, not digitally. I actually wanted to be a fashion designer when I was younger. I also wanted to be a writer at one point. I even took a semester as a writing major before dropping out. I had no idea what I wanted, I just knew I wanted to create. It wasn’t until two years ago, my boyfriend bought me my first iPad for my 21st birthday. From there I just transitioned and started drawing portraits and focusing on what mood I was in. I had no idea that I would be where I am now with my art, but I love the journey it has taken me.
Walk us through a day in the life!
Haha, this question makes me laugh. I wish I was very interesting, but my days consist of Netflix, skateboarding, awkward encounters that will stick with me for years, and really bad jokes. I am very family-oriented, so I am always visiting brothers and sister at least two times a week. I enjoy meetups with friends at The Bean. Music! Lots of music, I love to sing, not very talented in that area, but music and singing help with my anxiety and overthinking. In between all of that, some days I am in a huge creative funk, and other days I am full of inspiration just working on art.
What advice do you have for young women who want to get into the digital art space?
Do it, there are no rules. Just be yourself. Anyone can be creative! And as my dad would tell me – “There is no such thing as the word can’t, because you can do anything you put your mind to.”
You are also a self-love and mental health advocate. Define this for me, and tell me a little bit about how this role became part of your life.
It blows my mind to be considered an advocate because all I was ever trying to do was find peace with myself, and I was surprised when others were able to relate. I was going through a lot of depression and anxiety (still do). I had trauma I wasn’t dealing with right away. I was rebellious and loud in all the wrong ways. So I decided to put all this emotion into my art and words and decided to just put it out there. I wanted to be myself unapologetically. I am still rebellious and loud but in the right ways. I speak on my journey and mental health freely. I have opened up about many things and learning to love myself.
Tell me about the Real Talk blog and why you started it?
I started Real Talk because I was angry. I had made a post on Instagram about how my friend was sexually assaulted on the street and called the man “TRASH”. I was reported for bullying! I was furious that every time I brought up real issues women deal with, Instagram would report me for going against “guidelines” women were not allowed to be seen or heard. Real Talk is a free speech page, where women can share in a safe space. I felt alone for years and realized so many women may feel the same, so why not make a page where we can connect, and have a community that understands each other. Because we are not alone, and we can have such an amazing support system.
In today’s world, why is real talk among everyone, especially women, so important?
I believe we all deserve to be heard and seen! The world is not only tough, but it is mean, especially to our womxn of color. In society, we are held up to certain standards and it is a huge obstacle in our journeys and our growth. As beautiful as we all are, we still have some ugly days and should be allowed to speak our truth without lash back.
Is there a place where your art and advocacy work intersect? Is this something you strove for or did it just happen?
My art is a journey. Kind of like a diary, that is why I don’t have a certain “style” just yet. I am finding myself through my art along with advocating for self-love and mental health because that is my story. So I guess it just happened, it wasn’t fully intentional. I just knew I wanted my art and words to mean something and be completely transparent.
Do you have a mentor? Who do you look to for inspiration and support?
One person that truly inspires me is my stepmom. When I was 12, she sat with me and taught me shading techniques. She would let me use her Prismacolor markers and would help me progress. She also inspires me to be the best I can be in life and to follow my instinct. She is currently a nurse and her journey is amazing. She was a mother of one, going to college and now she is a nurse and pretty much the definition of a boss!
Final words of wisdom to all the young women out there who are strategizing to reach their education, career, and wellness goals?
You can do it, even when it seems hard. Don’t be discouraged if a door closes, because another will open. Trust in the universe and speak everything into existence. You got this and I am cheering you on!
If you are open to connecting with our readers, how can they reach you?
Always open to connect and to answer any questions. Just shoot over a DM on Instagram. I’m always checking!
Thank you, Amanda! Keep doing what you do!