[Interview] Katie Miranda on how her passion and experiences led her to make unique jewelry and draw powerful cartoons
In 2005, Katie left California for Palestine where she lived in the West Bank for three years dividing her time between being a human rights worker, political cartoonist, and an art teacher for kids. During this time she also studied Arabic calligraphy in Ramallah, with master calligrapher Ehab Thabet. Later in 2010 she started her own Arabic calligraphy jewelry business, and founded Katie Miranda Studios.
Read on as Katie reveals how she became a jewelry designer and political cartoonist, the issues she is passionate about, and her top tip to artists.
Please share a bit about your background, work and passions.
I came from a secular family with one parent of a Christian background and one parent of a Jewish background. I always self-identified as Jewish although I wasn’t religious. In 2010 I converted to Islam.
I’m a painter, cartoonist and a jewelry designer. I have a BFA and an MFA from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where I studied illustration and graphic novels. I also studied with master calligrapher Ehab Thabet in Palestine in 2007 and 2008.
I love great design, comics, color theory, sacred geometry and of course jewelry !
How did you become a jewelry designer and a political cartoonist? What qualities and skills do you need to pursue these respectively?
I became a jewelry designer by accident. I took a metal smithing class at the Academy of Art and I loved it. I decided to combine those skills with calligraphy to produce my Arabic calligraphy jewelry line.
I got into cartoons because I was trained as an illustrator and I had strong opinions so political cartoons was a natural outlet for those two interests.
“Those who stand in the fire, who don’t quit, who ignore rejection are the ones who actually do become artists.”
If someone is interested in pursuing any artistic discipline seriously and successfully you have to have passion for it and drive. Anyone can learn to be an artist through practice, dedication, and repetition. Those who actually do, who stand in the fire, who don’t quit, who ignore rejection are the ones who actually do become artists.
People often tell me “I have no natural talent, I could never be an artist.” This way of thinking is misguided. The people who actually become artists aren’t necessarily those with natural talent. They’re the ones who don’t quit even if they have to draw stick figures for a year before being able to draw anything that looks remotely like a human figure.