Everyday Hustlin, a Look at Miami Artists' Day Jobs: Venessa Monokian

"Where my money? I need, I need, I need cash!" Maybe Rick Ross wasn't singing about the everyday grind of paying bills. But there once was a young Rick Ross, who struggled to find a way to balance his creative ambitions and cash flow. In "Everyday Hustlin'," we talk with Miami artists about their day jobs.

Venessa Monokian is a Miami-based artist who is compelled to create a variety of work motivated by her longing to understand how we learn and how we are taught, knowing that integration of the two does not always occur in real life. She is an artist in residence at the ArtCenter South Florida.

New Times: What job do you have to pay the bills?
Venessa Monokian:

I do make a little bit of cash off of my art. I also work as an adjunct

professor at FIU, MDC, Barry, and MIU. I am a freelance photographer

and do odd jobs like house sitting or pet sitting.

Does it help or hurt your art?

definitely get a lot from teaching. You have to know more than what you

would ever learn to make your own work and how to share that

information with others. The students are fun and offer me tons of

inspiration. But I'm clearly driving around, which is very time

consuming, and Miami traffic is far from the most stimulating


What is the best thing about having a day job? Worst?

CASH! DUH! I also don't hate my jobs or the people I work with. They

all understand my artistic lifestyle and the demands that it places on

me. What sucks is the amount of time it takes me away from my work.

How bad/good are you at your day job?
Go to rate my professor and see. I believe I even have a hot pepper on there.

Have you ever blurred the lines of your day job and dream job?
Well, I do want to be the imperial empress of the world. In some ways, every class I hold is my own personal kingdom.

Have you planned your exit (F-you F-you, you're cool, I'm out..sort of thing)?

would do my best to find a replacement or a solution that worked for

everyone. Of course, if I won the lottery - "BIG MONEY" - I would buy my

way out of any guilty feelings. You know the saying, money talks.

To see more of her work go to monokian.com.

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