Everyone is creative. Whether you’re a painter, a woodworker or an accountant—we all have our own ways of engaging with creativity every day. That’s why we’re partnering with Bombay Sapphire, to celebrate their commitment to help everyone find their canvas. Here, we continue our series showcasing six different artists with LA-based illustrator and graphic designer Mindy Lee, aka Happyminders.
Downtown Los Angeles-based graphic designer Mindy Lee (artistically known as Happyminders) describes her art as for “the weird and curious,” an intersection that Lee recognizes her own identity in. “‘Weird’ is…an impetus, not an embarrassment. ‘Weird’ is our true selves we hide because we fear rejection and being misunderstood,” she continued.
“‘Weird’ is our obsessions, our odd birthmarks, our hidden talents and secrets. Expressing our ‘weird’ and owning up to our ‘weird’ takes a lot of courage and we can use it to speak our truth.”
“Expressing our ‘weird’ and owning up to our ‘weird’ takes a lot of courage and we can use it to speak our truth.”
And as a practitioner of what she preaches, Lee unveils her own truths out loud. In a January-stamped Instagram post, the artist shared that her son—”my stinky cheesy toddler”—had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder just before his third birthday. As he is the one who Lee admits pushed her to “pursue [her] artistry in a more authentic way,” his disorder is now influencing her in, well, broader strokes. ”I believe my son’s diagnosis will give me more opportunities to dig deeper into why we are the way that we are as humans.” Lee said. “And to create more inclusive work.”
“[With art], you’re free to express yourself in new ways that can bring hope because it can reveal so much more of who you are”—and this belief is likely what turned her from a volunteer circa 2009 into Teaching Artist at non-profit arts education center, Inner City Arts. Nestled among Skid Row, the campus provides hands-on instruction to K-12 students from professionals across the visual, media and performing arts. With a B.F.A. in Graphic Design and an M.A. in Art Education from California State University Long Beach, Lee’s still learning—but from the undergrads. “The most courageous people I know are teenagers,” she said. “Their plight, their angst, their weird imagination; their stories when harnessed into their art become so powerful and relatable.”
“[With art], you’re free to express yourself in new ways that can bring hope because it can reveal so much more of who you are”
Like her artist alias, Lee says she creates in a “happy” cave in DTLA and the output that comes from that cave is aimed to offer the same sentiment. “My hope is simple,” she said. “That people enjoy [my art]. I’m such a people-pleaser. I hope that my work can push others to share and tell their own story. I want people to feel that their most weird self is their most true and beautiful self.”