Artist Breakdown: Monique, The Last Star Left (Photographer, Artist)

Let me start off by saying thanks. Thanks to Tumblr, I've been exposed to art of a different kind. How I found Monique Colon, also known as "Tlsl" (The Last Star Left), was through the almighty Tumblr Dashboard. I'm hella thankful for that much. I, Taylor, got the privilege to ask her a few questions, so here's our chance to get to know such an amazing artist.

Monique a.k.a. The Last Star Left (tlsl)

Taylor: When did you start expressing your creative side? 
Tstl: I started expressing myself at a very young age. I remember knowing a published poet at a young age, around the time I was really learning how to read and write. Ill say about 6-7 years old. She gave me a notebook and I wrote the most simplest forms of poetry in it, about the planets and stars and the seasons. Real nursery rhyme shit. I used to draw on my shoes, and paint on clothes I honestly can't remember when that all started. Also I would draw cartoon characters from like dragon ball z and when pokemon first came out. I didnt start really painting on canvas until I was in my 3rd year of high school as for photography, that really happened on accident. I always loved taking pictures but couldnt really afford a camera. I didnt get my first camera til about 3 years ago. The rest is history. I havent been able to stop since.

Taylor: How did you begin selling your art? 
Tlsl: honestly it wasnt until recently where I started selling canvas. I been doing photoshoots here and there for a while now but canvas is new to the market. I wanna bang out as many as I can sell as many as I can while I can cause once I may move to new york or who knows I might not always have the time to do them like I do now. I'll always create though. I always have a million projects. So no slowing down for me.

Taylor: Has art helped you in any way?
Tlsl: Art has been the help in every way, its the only thing I can truly call my own. In the darkest of times, the only thing that kept me going was my ability to express myself through my art or poetry, or even photography. Art for the soul.

Taylor: Do you have any detailed advice on where to start, for others who seek your profession? 
Tlsl: Where don't you start? I don't really see it as a profession, honestly, it's my life. I mean of course you can build an artist, you can learn whose to say you cant? But if you were born an artist the best advice I can give someone is DO IT. Don't sit around sleeping on ideas while others aren't, don't wish you can while you watching. Just DO, there is enough creativity for everyone and people dont realize that. Nothing really is original, what makes it original is creating your own spin on an idea. Adding your twist, your flow. Mashing it up creating your own style. I know that I'm inspired by so many different artists. Influenced by the greats, even my friends, and especially my crew from Art Before Crime we always mix ideas and what not. My bestfriend Listen will think of something dope and fresh and I'll add my kick to it. Its all about improvising and making do with what you have. Anyone that wants to do anything, just do it. Deadass.

Taylor: What are your weapons of mass "creation" when creating your artwork?
Tlsl: As for my weapons, Nikki Nikon is at number one, I stay with my finger on her trigger. Shes a Nikon D5000. I plan on upgrading by June. Writing would be number two, I have pens and notebooks everywhere and if we want to get specific my favorite are the Zebra F-301 ones. Or the regular Zebra Z-Grip ball point pens, I actually have that one tatted on me, I wont write without those pens. As for notebooks, I get picky with too I love moleskin notebooks, they are just so inspiring for me to write in. They make me want to write just by looking them. As for painting in third, I'm simple. any kind of acrylic paint, any kind of canvas. I'm not to picky about brushes although I won't be super cheap, because when you paint, the little hairs fall out onto the painting and that will drive me crazy by itself.

Taylor: What is ABC (Art Before Crime)? Who created it?
Tlsl: Art Before Crime is a clothing line started by Panda King and Listen, both in which are very close friends of mine. It started because of Panda King's grandfather, used to write and paint graffiti in Mexico and his graff name was Panda. He taught graffiti to him, and he taught graffiti to Listen. After he passed away to pay homage they drew Pandas and it turned into A.B.C. I met these two in high school in 2008. You could pretty much say me and listen became best-friends on day one. I have my doubts as playing my role in A.B.C in the beginning. My drawings or graffiti wasn't as good as theirs. I had moved to Florida to get my mind right and Listen was one of the ONLY people that kept contact with me every other day, being there for me and reassuring me I was apart of the team. Later that year I found photography as my passion and we all fell into place when I moved back to NJ in 2009. After that we all started taking Art Before Crime very seriously. Listen had met DJ Detox while I was in Florida and he was the last pillar to hold us up. Hes the business man and the muscle as well as the music. But he recently took up filming and his getting his gear up for our video productions. Art Before Crime is more then a clothing line to us, its our freedom to self express and potentially turning our passions into a blooming business.

Taylor: I've seen a photo of yours on Tumblr with hundreds of notes* on it. How does that make you feel?
Tlsl: Seeing my pictures with hundreds of notes, I got a few with a thousand. That makes me feel incredible, knowing so many people are getting to see them and appreciate them the way I do. Its amazing, I am so thankful, I have nothing but gratitude. Even when people like you or others that go out their way to tell me how great I am at what I do is so fucking inspiring. It makes me so happy and only makes me want to work harder. I have nothing but love for the people who love my work.

*notes = photo reblogs/likes/comments. Tumblr slang.

‘We speak of the individual and the universe. But within the individual there is a universe as well.’
Taylor: What is your favorite photo that you've taken?
Tlsl: This picture was taken on my birthday. It has such an epic caption to me.

Tlsl: I had to pick a picture of my girlfriend and me, this one is such a beautiful capture to me. It really shows our love in a beautiful way.

Tlsl: This is one of my nephews, Eddie. This picture will be a family favorite, forever.

Tlsl: Last, but not least, I picked this picture because its one I took of my team. It really captures our chemistry and our happiness. Its one if a couple of pictures of all four of us, but by far, my favorite.

Some more personal favorites by The Last Star Left: