I wanted to be an artist since the 3rd grade but by high school my parents had convinced me otherwise. I listened to them and studied computer science in college where I was the only comp sci major with a blue braided mohawk and hand painted leather jacket. Not surprisingly, I failed miserably and eventually ended up where I belonged: in art school. There have been many points in my life where I was not able to create for one reason or another, like jobs in factories or cubicles. These were some of my lowest points; I was dead spiritually and felt physical death would soon follow if I could not be an artist. All I can compare it to is a monster inside that demands to be fed, and if I don't feed it, I will perish along with it. I had a brief detour as a human rights worker in the West Bank for several years. While this work was more spiritually fulfilling than factories or cubicles, the monster was still not happy and I did not begin to feel full again until I eventually reinvented myself as an artist. Being an artist is not something I chose to do; it's something I have to do to survive like breathing or eating. When the monster is full, I thrive.
I am a jewelry designer, painter and cartoonist. I received my BFA in illustration from the Academy of Art University in 2001 and my MFA from the Academy of Art University in graphic novels in 2011. In 2007 I studied Arabic calligraphy in Ramallah, Palestine with master calligrapher Ehab Thabet. In 2010 I started an Arabic calligraphy jewelry business. My Arabic calligraphy jewelry is made by first writing the word by hand with a reed pen. Stones in the Arabic calligraphy jewelry correspond to dots in Arabic letters like in the letter baa (b) ب. In 2005 I left California for Palestine. I lived in the West Bank for three years where I divided my time between being a human rights worker, a political cartoonist, and an art teacher for kids. Now I live in Oakland, California where I am working on a graphic novel called Tear Gas in the Morning which is a memoir about the nonviolent resistance movement in Palestine. Check my website for announcements about when it will be released and how to purchase it. www.katiemiranda.com
Katie Miranda is a Muslima Ambassador. You can see more of her work in the Featured Content section.