We had the good fortune of connecting with Meredith Jaramillo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Meredith, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
As I sat and listened to the last speeches at my college graduation ceremony, I remembered our art school representative’s words and they stroke a string in my heart. She pointed out that STEM majors are the “hot” majors at the moment. These are the types of majors students usually strive for and are held with high regard in our society. She then went on to say that those who enroll in art school do it for a mere reason. That reason is that we are passionate about what we do. I wore my Mickey Mouse graduation cap that day with words that read, ”Do What You Love”. As you can imagine, those words resonated with me.
People who go to art school don’t do it for the money, or because it’s a “stable” major. Individuals choose to go to art school simply because they love it. Doing what you love has been my life motto ever since I switched my major from Psychology to Illustration. For me, doing what I love transpires my own passion onto other people. What I do has the power to inspire others, raise other’s voices, and be part of a beautiful community. My overall goal as an artist is to bring light to little things and turn them into bits of joy for people. Bringing people happiness makes me happy, and pushes me to do better.
This desire to bring small bits of happiness wasn’t obvious to me at first, but became clear to me once I went to college. During my brief time as a psychology major, I realized there were so many opportunities in the art area. As a kid art was everything I did and enjoyed, but art as a career?! My heart jumped with joy! I switched my major right after to Illustration and Design and graduated from the University of Arizona. I can say with confidence that I am the happiest I could possibly be with my decision and would never regret it. I would much rather struggle in a job that I love doing and be happy than being perfectly comfortable in a job that I don’t enjoy.
What should our readers know about your business?
Blue Butterfly Studio actually kind of started when I first studied art back in 2016-2017. At the time, my mom had a party event business that required someone to design stickers. I didn’t think about it seriously until my last summer of college in 2019. I don’t think I had considered it an official business, but more as my capstone project to finish college. With that said, I did enjoy working on my own illustrations and designs while also participating in the whole process that is an art business–design, printing, packaging and etc. It was great! I was mainly commissioning for personalized pet stickers for people and I even did my thesis on a children’s book story about pets that I had known throughout my life. There was still a lot of work to be done with my style, my voice, my audience, but I was going to give it time and trust the process.
In January 2020, I landed my first job as a Graphic Artist and immediately started creating my business on the side. My capstone project had pushed me into thinking about the possibility of becoming a freelance artist one day. 2020 had other plans for me.
2020 was, as I’m sure it was for many other people, a year full of challenges. I was barely trying to get started with my art business, with my job, and all of a sudden it seemed that I wasn’t going to have a job nor a business started with the pandemic shutting businesses down all around. On top of all that, I lost my youngest sister, Anapaola, who had barely turned 13 that year. Her death was like shutting down every light in the world. I was devastated, outraged, and heartbroken.
Her death impacted so many people, people that I didn’t even know. Several artists even reached out to create art pieces in her memory. I was, once again, amazed by the passion and voice of art and artists. In the end, I was able to keep my job as a Graphic Artist, providing my life with. I didn’t have it in me to create any other artwork outside of my job that year.
As 2020 was coming to it’s end, there was this itch inside me. An itch to figure out what I wanted to do. How was I going to move forward after a whole year of being frozen in time? While in grief and moving between homes, I found a set of simple stickers. A mix of avocado and pineapple stickers. These were the very first set that I created and they were dedicated to my sister Anapaola. She was a fan of everything cute and trendy out there. A moment of realization hit me: I wanted to keep creating these cute, almost silly illustrations.
I started by buying new art supplies to lift my spirits. I picked up watercolors again after years of not using it, bought some nice paint and began drawing again. Days at the office seemed to always be giving something to learn from, and one day my boss mentioned how I should make my art an official business and get it registered. I took notes, went home that day and started looking into getting my business finally licensed. This was my wake-up call. This was a sign telling me, “it has been long enough, time to get back to work”.
If there was something that I learned from 2020, it was that we need more little moments of joy in our life. You never know what someone may be going through, how their day was like, and how much they would appreciate a happy note or art piece.
Nowadays, I not only do prints and stickers, but fruit earrings, polka dot bows, teacup earrings, funny comics of my daily life and everything cute and happy out there. I make these pieces of art with the hope that someone looks at it and makes them smile. Blue Butterfly Studio might just be the beginning, but the force behind it it’s brighter, stronger, bolder and I’m not afraid to shamelessly show it to the world. I not only draw and illustrate, but I also bring these ideas to life in a way that people can wear them and make it part of them as well. For either oneself, as a gift, maybe for that special someone, for that special moment, for anyone who needs something to brighten up their day. What excites me most about this, is that I love doing it! I want to do this every day of my life. Every order made, every commission requested, is me giving a little moment of joy to someone and I am proud of that.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh nicel! Well, I would definitely be taking them to get some Eegee’s. You can’t just come to Tucson and not have one! I would definitely set a time and day to go to the Botanical Gardens, especially when the Butterfly Magic is open. One of those days I would love to take them to Reid Park. Either just having a nice picnic in the park or going into the zoo, both are great experiences in my opinion. During the weekend we would probably go out to 4th avenue during the day for a stroll passing by all the cute shops, go to El Be Goods, then grab some ice cream from The Screamery. At night we would head to 4th avenue to have a good time showing them all the bars. One morning we definitely would go to Prep and Pastry and have a dish out of their delicious menu. Taking the time to go up Mount Lemmon and having a campout is also a must! Its beautiful scenery is there throughout the year.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oh, absolutely! I want to give a big shoutout to my whole family. A special thanks to my mom, dad, Fabian, and sisters for always pushing me forward with my art, for believing in me, and for supporting me no matter how hard! To my boyfriend, who has been the person that has seen all my faces when it comes to my business and art in general and still pushes me to keep going and supports me! To my art squad, a group of 3 ladies that went I through art school with. We continue sticking together despite the distances and daily life activities. A thank you to all of my friends, especially Eden, Luis, Ale and Sebas. To all of my patrons have that have supported me one way or another and are always there to give feedback or suggestions! And last, but not least, to Proper Villains LLC, which is the company I currently work for. They have been supportive of my business as well as developing my skills to further my career as an artist.
Madison Stewart (only for personal picture)