We had the good fortune of connecting with Manuel Zambrano and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Manuel, why did you pursue a creative career?
In all honesty, I’m not good at much else! Throughout my youth, everyone wanted me to follow an academic path, but all my plummeting grades had shown otherwise. Nobody really believed I would amount to much after that, and I couldn’t find words that expressed my dissatisfaction with the world. In the end, it was the art that made sense of how I felt. Nowadays, I try to draw things that keep people company, since I actually want to be there for them and not have them go through what I did alone. It’s also just really fun compared to most other careers and can let me be silly sometimes!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m just another artist with a bummer tale to tell! I grew around a struggling working class household and needed to find a way to escape from all that. I ended up drawing these fantasy worlds where I was able to fly away from my fears and insecurities, but reflected reality just enough, that I could confront them without too horrid of a rude awakening. It helped me and because of this, I aim for my art to provide people with the same kind of safe haven, while they work through their problems. Luckily for me, after a few years of selling art around the local scene, I was able to find an audience for this sort of thing and am incredibly grateful for it. I want the world to know that life can still be worth living, despite all of it’s flaws!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Introverts don’t make for good tour guides. But Wynwood is definitely the place to be for any dreamers in the crowd. It’s one of the few hubs where creative expression is actually encouraged in this chaotic town. I also recommend Fireman Derek’s, if you‘re a fellow sweet tooth!
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?
I could write a whole novel about all of the people who contributed to the creation of this train wreck, but it would probably put the reader to sleep! I owe lots of emotional debt to the many wonderful souls I‘ve had the chance to come across, but I think one character who deserves credit is my high school art professor, Miss Lee. Before she was stuck with me, I was pretty confused, but she believed in me and gave me the confidence to pursue my craft. I might’ve skipped a few other courses to go to her class and draw a bit, but don’t tell anyone!
Original work by Manuel Zambrano ©