We had the good fortune of connecting with Mandy Boyles and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mandy, why did you pursue a creative career?
From a young age, I had a curious affinity twards art and creativity. When I was in the second grade, my mom got a call from my teacher about a picture that I drew during my free time in class. My mom was mortified thinking it was something awful. The next day after class my mom and teacher sat down and my mom braced herself for “the awful” but to her surprise, my teacher said, “Are you aware of how talented your daughter is?” She pulled out the picture I drew and it was an extremely detailed scene from the movie, The Little Mermaid. My teacher suggested that my mom foster my artistic talent as much as possible and she did to the best of her abilities. As I got older life became more complicated. I was diagnosed with learning disabilities and I struggled to keep up academically. I often felt unintelligent because I was different from my peers. My home life was rough and I had to grow up quickly. Being a shy girl who never quite felt like I fit in, creativity allowed me to be my true authentic self. It helped me to speak what I was feeling without having to say the words and let me connect with myself and others on a deeper level. I drew, I sang, I wrote, I painted and it helped me escape. It saved me in a way. I didn’t always have a creative career but I kept creating in some form or fashion. I took jobs that I thought would make me successful because I was still carrying around that insecurity of being unintelligent. I worked at a bank for a while and then stumbled into a career in Optometry. I was an Optician for twelve years but during eight of those years I also did natural light photography. It wasn’t until 2016 that I found my love of bones and oddities. One day while returning home from some errands I was running, I came across what I thought was a dog lying on the road. I stopped to make sure it wasn’t still alive because it looked pretty fresh, It turned out to be a dead coyote. I had been interested in learning how to process animal bones and thought this was the perfect opportunity to teach myself, so I loaded the coyote into the trunk of my car and brought it home. My husband thought I had lost my mind but being the supportive loving man that he is, he helped me process the animal and I made my first oddities art piece. I absolutely loved it! In 2018 I opened my Etsy shop and did my first art show. It was a three day show but I sold out in the first two days. I was in disbelief of how kind and supportive the community was. It gave me the courage to start doing my art full time. I also came to realize that intelligence and success are not defined by a college degree or what society deems as an expectable occupation. I pursued an artistic career because it makes me feel like me more than anything I’ve ever done in my life. It’s a gift I was born with and what I’ve been called to do.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Odd Mandy’s Moss & Macabre was born out of my love for the mystery and darkness of nature. Growing up in Northern California I spent a lot of time playing in the ocean and exploring the woods. These are some of my most cherished childhood memories and it gave me an immense respect for the natural world. I’ve also always been attracted to the strange and unusual, the odd creepy things that people are afraid of. I find those types of things intriguing. I feel like that sets me apart from most. I got to where I am today professionaly through sheer hard work and perseverance. I did a lot of networking and found a community of like minded creatives that were extremely welcoming and generous with their knowledge. I learned not to let small setbacks keep me from moving forward, instead I found new ways to solve my issues. The creative process can be pretty frustrating at times. There are a lot of different processes that are used to prepare the animals and insect that I use in my art and some take months to finish. let’s just say I’ve messed up more then a few. I’ve definitely learned to not let setbacks keep me from moving forward.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First I would take them to Boyce Thompson arboretum to go hiking and check out some amazing plant and wild life, then we would do some shopping at Merchant Square market place in chandler and then off to San Tan Flats for drinks and dinner!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am so blessed to have family and friends that have supported me in my artistic journey. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. A very special thank you to my late grandma Annette and my grandpa Mike who immensely enriched my creativity during my visits with them as a young girl and to my mom for raising me to believe that I could be anything I wanted to be. To my aunt Lisa for always giving me a soft place to land and to my husband Doug, who continually pushes me to grow and step out of my comfort zone and has provided me the ability to do what I love. I would also like to thank Bridgett, owner of When+Where co, for the amazing opportunities she’s given to connect with the oddities community.

Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/OddMandys
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/odd.mandy/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Artist/Odd-Mandys-Moss-Macabre-113251100466700/

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