Written and published by Angenette Navedo
Who is mingo?
Mingo i can say is an idea, he's a very creative person. It's all about self love, loving others and reciprocating that energy into that universe so that you get it back. Always striving to work hard and better yourself, that's who mingo is.
How did this character come about; birth of mingo itself?
That came about because in philly we have sticker artists, it's a bunch of people who draw cartoon characters that they come up with and put them on stickers to post around. My man seen them all around and it caught his attention so he came to my house with a bunch of usps stickers and asked if i wanted to get into graffiti. Basically from what i was seeing everyone had some type of animal, there's this girl in philly who has a Narwhale which is pretty cool, my man got a bomb, so he told me i needed a character. At the time i had nothing but a couple days later i had a dream i was walking through shallow water and tall grass and seen a flamingo when he looked me in the eyes i woke up immediately. I was going through some real sh*t at that time of my life so i had to look up the meaning of the dream and when i did it was talking about self love and believing in yourself to achieve your dreams i wa slike damn that hit home, that's what i needed in life. So i went back to my man and i told him my character was gonna be a flamingo and i just started up on em.
How would you say mingo has evolved since you've started?
Well he sprouted arms and legs! That came about because i seen artists doing more with their characters, and without his arms and legs there was very little i could do with him. So i looked into some character studies, donald duck and all this other stuff and i was realizing there isn't a cartoon character that is a flamingo or looks like that. I just had to give him arms and legs, put them all together. The twisted neck mingos,i was watching a french movie, nothing to do with necks but i thought it would be a cool exaggeration to hyper extend his neck, make him look weird!
You work at the zoo as a sketch artists how did that opportunity come about?
My girlfriend, she wasn't my girlfriend at the time but we had always been close friends and i was hanging out with her and drawing. She was like "you gotta come work at the zoo" I was like nah man i ain't about to do it. She was like "you're going to work at the zoo", next day she was like come to work with me, i was nervous i went up for the job with my sketchbook to the supervisor and she told me i had the job. That was a blessing, another act of god working out.
how do you turn people into cartoon characters so smoothly?
That just came from practice and studying faces, all that. Once you get their eyes you got them. I learned what i learned from studying other character artists. I just take a bunch of little stuff and put it together. Once you get their eyes you can do whatever you want with their face shape and you got it.
What's the hardest part you feel about being an artist?
WOOOO. drawing everyday and feeling motivated like incorporating having a life with being an artist. Like how i got to where i am now i really isolated myself, people seen me downtown drawing, i might be hanging out with people but at that time frame i would always be in my sketchbook. The hardest part is to find that balance and not ruin any relationships with friends or family while doing so.
What made you decide to start using your actual self as one of your characters and not just the mingo?
I started doing that from emotions. Once i started learning how to draw other people i wanted to take the Frida Kahlo approach to it because in all her paintings she really just drew herself. Another thing i forgot to mention that came from a movie i watched, she had a drawing where she turned herself into a deer, that's dope she turned herself into an animal but still had her face on the body, that's where the long necks came into play. I started putting myself in scenarios regarding how i was feeling, i felt like me drawing exactly how i felt at that moment was the best way for me to express myself, i feel like i have a hard time telling people how i feel. If i could put it on paper than its plain to see, i feel like that.
3 local philly artists you feel are slept on?
UHHHH there's a lot, my man parrish, his instagram is like parrish1994, My friend her name is Veggiemon like she's amazing and my homie paco man he's a graffiti artist also really good and Kra.no1. There's so many more man that's one thing i know so many good artists, i can just go on for days.
Do you wanna venture into anything new before this year ends?
I just want to do one more big canvas, maybe i'll do one of my homie who just passed away for his family,
Is there any new mingo merch coming out?
Yes there is, i got like 101 designs but im balancing paying bills and paying to get new stuff made. But definitely i got tee shirts and hoodies, beanies for the winter, dad hats all of that just wanna find the right manufacturer to work with me.