Candor Spotlight: Mica of Busy Mockingbird
When I think of inspirational art, I think of Mica Hendricks of Busy Mockingbird. This artistic collaboration between Mica and her daughter started five years ago, and it is both other-worldly and adorable. I stumbled upon Busy Mockingbird on Instagram some time ago and she quickly became a favorite follow. Candor Readers, it is an absolute privilege to have been able to interview Mica and share some of her story with you! Read on as she not only shares her passion for art, but her passion for parenthood and how the two have come together for her.
Welcome to Candor, Mica! Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Mica Angela Hendricks. I’m a graphic artist, and a mom to an awesome 9-year old girl. I started an art blog (BusyMockingbird.com) when my daughter was young to get back into art, and show people that art should be fun, not perfect! I haven’t had the time to contribute to it lately, but I really loved posting to it, and I think it still has a lot of good content.
I got the mockingbird idea from a Tom Robbins book, where he states that mockingbirds are the true artists of the animal kingdom, because while they have their own song, they also take snippets of other birdsongs and make a new song, completely for the sake of art.
How and when did you become interested in art?
I’ve loved art ever since I was a kid! My mom and dad are both artists, and art was always something they encouraged.
When did you start involving your daughter in your art with you? How did that all start?
It happened unintentionally, when she was 4 years old. My entire focus was on her from birth, and I didn’t have time to do much art when she was a baby. At age 4 she became VERY interested in drawing. Once, when she was engrossed in her sketchbook, I got my own sketchbook out, and started drawing faces. She instantly ran over to me, and asked if she could draw on the face. “You’ve got your own sketchbook over there!” I said, hesitant to let her draw in mine. Then she used my own mommy-words on me, saying “You have to share. If you don’t share, we might have to take it away.” I laughed, and decided it was a good learning lesson. She asked what I had been drawing, and I told her I was about to draw a body on the lady. She asked if she could finish it, and very carefully drew a dinosaur body on her. I was surprised at how much it made me smile. She was confident and didn’t worry if it was “good” or not. She asked for more, so I would draw faces, and she would add bodies to them. It was so fun, and it occurred to me that had I been selfish with my sketchbook, I wouldn’t have had that same connection in that same way. Good things happen when you let go of expectations and enjoy the ride.
I was just getting back into art again, and started the blog. I wrote about the collaboration experience there, at Busy Mockingbird.
Has your daughter had a direct influence in your art?
Absolutely! She drew without worrying if it was “good” or not, she just drew because she loved to draw. That’s something I think we lose a little as we get older, and it was great to remember that freedom. I also have learned from her not to be so rigid in what I think SHOULD happen, and just enjoy the experience as it comes, however it comes. (And even now, she STILL teaches me how to share. ☺ )
How do you balance art and motherhood? Have your collaborations helped or hindered that balance?
I think as an artist, you think primarily about ONE person’s input and point of view—your own. As a mother, you’ve got a very important person that you’re bound to. You can either struggle with that bond as it fits in with your art, or balance it into something you can both enjoy. For me, I was able to share with her something I already had a passion for, and work it into something I was already doing alone. As a mother especially, there are times we think we HAVE to do things a certain way to be a “Good Mom,” but there are many many variations on that, and not being tied to one certain idea leaves you open to so many new options.
When your daughter began contributing to your pieces, she was obviously very young. Is she still involved with your projects? Does she have her own artwork she does on her own?
Yes, she had just turned 4. She’s 9 now! We are always happy to work on projects together but she has so many of her own interests as well. She writes TONS of comic books—I fold paper in half and staple it for her and she fills them up (but she doesn’t like to share them). She was very interested in stop-motion and animation for a while, and played with a great many apps that she’s learned a lot from. Still, the question of the day is often, “hey Mom, do you wanna do a project together?”
You work with a lot of different mediums. Drawings, paintings, embroidery on a myriad of different canvases like paper, beetles and now stuffed creatures! Do you have a favorite product you've made? Something new you're particularly excited about?
I have a furious passion for a great many things! I think there isn’t enough time in the world for all the projects I’d like to do and arts I’d like to learn. The best thing about trying your hand at different mediums is that if you hit an art block in one area, you can always hop to another for a while. I LOVE functional art—I’d love to try my hand at making some sort of articulated puppet or jointed doll. For now, my skill level at it isn’t up to par (I need to learn a bit more), but one day, I’ll jump into that area and see if I can give it a try! I’d love to have a booth one day at Designer Con. I see so many wonderful artists there online, year after year, and I’d love to show there one day in person. I’d love to write a storybook with my daughter. Her ideas are incredible, I’ve just got to find a way to work it where we both balance our ideas.
What is your proudest moment as a mother? What is your proudest moment as an artist?
As a mother, whew. I’m just always proud of our daughter, especially when I do my best to arm her ready for the world, while still trying to protect her gentle heart. I’m so proud of the person she’s becoming—her kindness to others, her friendliness and optimism. She has SUCH a great sense of humor, and is kind even when people around her are jerks. She has her struggles, but she always tries to do the right thing. As an artist, just the fact that our little story was shared with so many people all over the world and that it’s meant something to them, and touched them in a meaningful way? Well, that’s all an artist can ask for!
What is something that your work as an artist has taught you about life? What has being a parent taught you?
In my art, I used to try to work on styles that were specifically marketable, and because of that, I sort of had trouble defining and developing my own style. Instead, I’ve learned to just do what makes me happy; to draw the things that inspire me without caring so much what other people think. If that means I draw 20 portraits of my daughter or WITH my daughter, then that’s what I’ll do. As a parent, I think again: not being tied to ONE certain way of doing things is something I’ve learned. There are many ways to do the right thing, not just one. Be open to those different ideas, instead of rejecting them as “wrong.”
Want to see more from Busy Mockingbird? Here is where you can view, share and purchase her artwork:
Society 6: www.society6.com/micaangela
And her daughter Myla: www.instagram.com/mylamockingbird