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December 10, 2018 | Q & A

When travel becomes art

By Jason B.

They say the world is your canvas. Maybe we don’t know exactly who they are, but we do know that they got it right. Because as anyone who has traveled the world can tell you, there are countless moments of inspiration and beauty on every trip.

So when the uniquely talented Mo Houston reached out to us, we realized it was the perfect opportunity to bring art and travel together. She agreed and is now going to illustrate 15 of our travelers’ favorite moments as personalized gifts.

Mo’s sketches as she works on recreating Morgan Yates’s and Adrienne Finch’s travel moments.

For more on this wildly talented artist, we asked the person that knows her best, herself:

How did you get into illustration?

I had a pencil in my left hand at three years old and my mom promptly moved it to my right hand. This either set me back light years in the name of technique and self-expression. Or…she was my first creative mentor hoping to instill some culturally appropriated values knowing as an artist I'd reject them for rest of my adult life.

Can you tell us a little about your process?

I call it “getting weird.” I talk to myself a lot. Write things down immediately when they sound good out loud and in my head. I don't usually redraw things…but I will retell a story until it sounds good. My illustrative style is fluid and I always get out the ugly stuff first. They're creative warm-ups really. It always starts with circles…and they become faces and very often those faces have stories to tell.

How would you describe your style?

Something that fluctuates. I think my lack of commitment to any style, idea, or medium has been a necessity in regard to staying true to my creative frankensteinisms but a handicap when it comes to recognition. And artists do love their recognition.

Why do you think travel is important?

Goldfish have small spaces to roam around in—bowls that let in light and always bring them back to the same spot. One of familiarity. If we had minds that worked this way, minds that didn't have lasting memories and were constantly surprised by the same fifty pebbles beneath us, then newness wouldn't be necessary for us either. It would be scary. But we're not simpletons. Our minds are vast, and, so, too must our experiences be, how else would we uncover the complexity of ourselves, our souls, and our purpose?

Where in the world would you most like to go?

The top of my list just says "trip". For me it not so much where will I go, because then I'd take forever to decide. I look at time and dates and go from there—because it's all relative. Which leads me to your Amsterdam, Paris & London trip that's happening in February. At 10 days with 3 cities to explore, it seems like a healthy dose of culture, history, and beauty. It would be a real birthday treat for my Piscean heart.

Need more Mo in your life or want to commission some unique art?

Check out the rest of her work on Instagram @see.mo.make

And remember, don’t be a goldfish.

Want in? Just upload your favorite travel moment on Instagram, write a fun caption to give us some context, and tag it with #ultimatetravelmoment. That’s it. You’re good to go.

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