Today we’d like to introduce you to Wendy Robles.
Wendy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I never graduated. Just a few credits short of completing my degree I took a leave of absence because I did not have the money to fund my education. On my last semester at The School of the Art Institue of Chicago, I landed a job as an in-house freelance designer.
It was a situation of being at the right place at the right time. I had responded to a job inquiry posted on a Chicago Facebook group and was on the job a few days later. Looking back, I realize I knew very little about the business side of being a freelancer.
It was a learning process, but I was fortunate to have had the advice and mentorship of some amazing creatives in the community. I also have to give a shout out to the book “Talent is not enough: Business for Designers” by Shel Perkins.
It was a book recommended to me by a professor I admire greatly and was my go-to for questions on all things business. Since my first glimpse into freelancing, I have had the privilege of working with exciting clients in various industries.
I have also had the pleasure of participating in designs shows including The Chicago Architectural Biennial and Typeforce 9: an exhibition for emerging typographic all-stars. I am excited to expand my work, collaborate, and future projects to come.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, but I’ve been fortunate to have things go the way they have and to have been afforded privileges in my health and education amongst other things. As a first generation Mexican-American I was the first to attend any form of higher education past the 6th grade. I had to work through college to fund my education and commute sometimes 3 hours a day.
But I have always had a thirst for knowledge and these experiences helped shape the work ethic I have today. I don’t think I would be the person I am today without these experiences. So for being “struggles”, they were pretty essential to my growth into the woman I am now.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Wendy Robles – what should we know?
I’m a freelance designer and artist, throughout my career I’ve tried to decide whether I want to view them as separate practices.
But most recently the two have been blending into each other and I’m okay with that. Currently, I am working on a self-initiated collaborative short film project with a photo friend, a project that is still in a very early stage of the process but that I am very excited about.
I am also freelancing for a few clients, one of which is a city-wide project that I have been working on for almost a year now. I pride myself in my work. Something I learned from my time at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago was to think conceptually. I approach both my design and artwork with a concept, intent, and research.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I have a long list of people to thank but whenever this question is asked there one person that stands out in my mind, my Grandma, or as I know her as my Mami Mitty. She has been such a strong woman in my life and only now that I am older am I able to really understand the sacrifices she made.
She was born and raised in a small village in Mexico, at a young age she became a single mother of 4. A feminist well before her time, she persevered. Now that I am older I have become closer to her.
She’s an amazing woman, funny, independent, no-bullshit kind of attitude. I aspire to continue the legacy she has paved and carved my own path along the way.
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