My Plan

I want to be able to make a living doing what I love best.  So I plan to be an art director at an advertising agency and on the side create and sell my art.

In college….

-       Take the required courses to major in advertising and studio art

-       Take some business or marketing courses

-       Study abroad in the summer for art (summer soph year)

-       Study abroad for advertising (junior year)

-       Get as much internship as I can.  Either working at an ad agency or being an apprentice for an artist or working in a gallery.  Anything to help me get experience.

-       Create my book for advertising

-       Acquire necessary skills to live in the “real world”


After college…

-       Hopefully one of my internships will turn into a job

-       Plan on going back to Chicago and living in the city

-       This requires $ for renting an apartment, transportation, food etc.

-       I probably wont have enough money for a studio space, so I will work in my apartment for the time being

-       Eventually will get a studio space

-       Start as an art director and work my way up to be a creative director

-       Creating and selling art on the side

-       Will sell art to family and friends first, get publicity and work from there


Creating and selling art

-       Once I have enough money I will get a studio space

-       To start selling I will tell family and friends, update website and Facebook page

-       Will post art on etsy, expand the audience

-       Will reach out to a local galleries

-       Once more paintings and drawings sell I will reach out to more and more galleries

-       Have shows in multiple galleries

-       Start small then expand



-       Getting a job at advertising agency

-       Selling art

-       Rent/own studio space

-       Have shows


Giving back

-       Volunteering for an art program

-       Making art with kids

-       Traveling, going on mission trips

-       Learning more about art in other countries, experiencing their culture


Skills I have

I’m very determined and once I set my mind on something I go after it.  I’m also really focused and dedicated and follow through with things.  Once I start something I like to finish it.  Even if I struggle, I know it’s worth it because I will learn a lesson or learn something about myself.  At first, criticism is hard, but I always take it into account and use it to enhance my work.  I can adapt to new situations and am open to trying new things.  This lets me experience so many more things.  I’m also pretty organized and have good time management.

Skills I need

I need to verbally communicate better.  Some people can go on and on when explaining their art but I usually struggle with this.  I also need to take more chances, not caring about what will happen.  I’m also a perfectionist.  In certain ways that’s good, but in other ways it’s not.  I need to figure out when my art is the best it can be and just deal with it.  By doing this I can focus more on the big picture.

How to acquire these skills

I need to focus more on what I’m trying to convey and how I’m going to communicate that to people.  I need to stop worrying and just do.  Sometimes I focus too much on the little things and get side tracked.  I need to remember the big picture and end result.  Being a perfectionist is a good thing, but I need to accept things can’t be perfect and let them be.

Courses that will help

I’m planning on double majoring in Advertising and Studio Art, so for me balancing all the courses is going to be the biggest challenge. I need to be smart in choosing classes that count for both majors and classes that will help me develop skills I need for both.  I also need to develop my skills in computer graphics, so I need to work in those courses.  Using digital skills with skills I have in studio art will help me be a better art director.  I plan on studying abroad, either for art or advertising and using that experience to help me strengthen my weaknesses.


“You’re afraid that there’s nothing cool inside of you, nothing unique about you that anyone would want, or like, or treasure; and there is.  The truth is: you have stuff inside of you hand-tailored by God for you to bring to the table that no one else brings.  You’re the only one who’s got it, and we desperately need it.”

- Jed Brewer

Elevator Pitch

Hi, I’m Mackenzie Cimala and I am fortunate to have traveled around the world.  Being able to visit dozens of foreign countries has opened my eyes, letting me see and better understand the beliefs, traditions, and lifestyles of the people who live there.  As a visual artist, I like to express what I’ve learned from my travels through my drawings and paintings.  I hope to change my viewers’ perception of a country or challenge the stereotype they have in their mind.


I would consider myself motivated.  The feeling I get when I’m done with my art piece is something that motivates me.  When I stand back to examine it and realize I don’t need to add or tweak anything; that’s the best.  I guess you could say the “finished product” motivates me.  Seeing my creation and knowing that all the time put in was worth it.  With art, I’m intrinsically motivated.  Sure grades are important, but while I’m making something I’m not thinking about what grade I need to get on it.  I work hard because I want to create something to the best of my ability.  I want it to represent me and some grade isn’t going to make the piece I create better.  If I feel like an assignment is pointless and too time consuming, ya I lose some motivation but I still give it 100%.  Usually if the assignment is harder and I’m struggling with it, I get more motivated because I want to prove to myself that I can do it.  Then when I’m done, it’s like BOOYAH! This makes me more confident in my art and then I just want to keep creating more and more.  It’s like a cycle… a cycle of motivation.


Of course I have values.  But for me it’s hard to write them down, putting my values into words that will somehow make you understand them and how they shape who I am.  Like the usual person, I value honesty and loyalty.  Nothing bothers me more than someone who lies or someone who talks behind your back, acting like a totally different person when you’re not around.  I value people who are real.  Those who can just be themselves no matter what.  I strive to do this, but for me it usually takes a while for me to open up and let people in to see who I truly am.  Sometimes it just clicks, but most times I come across as shy, when really I’m not.  I value family because they will be there for you no matter what.  They are my support system and my home; whenever I’m with my family I feel safe and comfortable.  This is the same with my friends.  Friends are so valuable.  I don’t know how to describe it, but just everything a friend offers is awesome.  They’re there to laugh with you, cry with you, be crazy with you, basically about anything you want.  I also value the opportunity to travel.  I have been fortunate to have traveled the world, experiencing different cultures, the food, sites, and people.  As an artist, I value creativity… duh.  But I value the people who have the ability to look at something in a totally different perspective.  The people who go beyond analyzing something I never even thought about.  I value these people because they make me a better artist and a better person.

Other things I value…

Dogs- they’re cute and will always be there to cuddle

Music-  I just love the different vibes music gives off and how it can set the mood.  I value that song that puts me in a good mood and that song that makes me wanna dance- no matter what.

Food- hellloooo food is delicious, especially desserts.

Photography-  being able to capture that moment in time and later reminiscing

Confidence and courage- nuff said

Movies- the ones that make you laugh so hard your abs start to hurt or makes your eyes water

Being messy-  you don’t always have to be clean and organized.  Throw something on the floor!  You will feel better.


Habits, habits, habits.

When I hear the word “habit,” I think of a behavior done repeatedly until it becomes involuntary.  As I tried to think of my work habits, other habits just kept popping up in my mind.  I have a habit of biting my nails when I’m bored, twirling my earring when I’m nervous, always ordering dessert after dinner, even if I’m too full, the list could go on and on.  But my work habits are different.  They change depending on what the project is, or what I’m trying to create.

When I have a long-term piece, I like to work for hours and hours.  It usually takes me a while to brainstorm and figure out what I want the end result to be, but once I get started I’m like an energizer bunny.  I just like to go full force until I can’t stand anymore or my neck starts to stiffen.  Music is a must.  If I’m in a room with people I’ll put my headphones in, letting the music block me from distractions.  But I personally wish I was in the room all by myself, so I could blast the music and just sing.  I love that moment when you’re so into what your doing and someone tries to talk to you, but you don’t even see or hear them.  I always say, “oh sorry, I was in the zone.”  I love the zone.  Once I finally get there in a piece, I don’t even pay attention to anything.  It’s just me and my art… it’s the best feeling ever.

I usually like doing little assignments being surrounded by people.  I like chillin in a room, just listening to their convos as I sketch.  Somehow all the chatter is relaxing and lets me get into my art.  On assignments where I am just flat out struggling, whether I don’t get the assignment or am just sick of working, I take a workout break.  When I work out, all my stress disappears.  Usually an idea or solution to my problem pops in my head, but if this doesn’t happen my minds clear so I can go back to my art, carefree.

December 9th, 1993

This is the day I was born.  I personally don’t believe people are born to be something.  I think they are blank slates, ready to be anything they set their mind to.  Sure, Id like to believe I was born to be an artist, but that’s not really how it works.  You can arrive in the world and be given a pencil and told to go draw this or that, but if your not interested, its not gonna work out. The people in your life and the experiences you encounter are what make you who you are. They help shape your ambitions; make you want to be something.  Sure, you can be born with some raw talent or maybe it’s in your blood, but that won’t get you far.  If you’re an artist, just to be an artist, then you are going to be the ever so stereotypical “starving artist”.  You need to be passionate about what you create, and have a purpose as to why you do it.

So as I’m writing this post, having only been a Meadows student for a week, I think to myself…why do I want to be an artist?  I can’t fully answer that question yet, but hopefully through this blog and my art classes I’ll find out.  I know I love art and love creating it.  I just don’t really know the purpose of my art yet.  I get intimidated by the artists who have it all figured out.  They’ve figured out their purpose and made people look at art in a new way.  I have some self doubt as to how I’m unique and different than everyone else.  Hopefully through all the new experiences we face in the next four years here, I’ll figure it out.

So as of right now, I’m an 18 year old girl from Chicago, now attending SMU.  I was inspired to be an artist by my grandma, who I call Mamoo.  When I was really little we would do crafts together and as the years went on, I started to take art classes.  I became serious about art in high school and that has lead me here at SMU, majoring in Studio Art and Advertising. I mostly draw; my favorite medium is pastels.  I also paint, but drawing just comes more naturally to me.  I photograph everything I see (I’m an instagram addict) and I love to travel around the world.  The places I’ve seen are what inspire my art so far.