[00:00:00] Jon Sorrentino: Welcome to Wellfed, a podcast for hunger creatives. I'm your host, Jon Sorrentino, a designer based out of New York, and on this podcast, I speak to some of my creative heroes to learn from their experiences and discover the ingredients to grow within the creative industry. On this episode, my guest is D'ana Nunez, AKA COVL.
D'ana is a multidisciplinary artists originally from Miami, now living in Brooklyn, New York. Multi-disciplinary is a word we use to describe creatives that apply their skills to a number of different mediums and D'ana is truly an example of this. She has created murals, motion graphics, car wraps, interiors, and even capsule collections for brands, such as Nike, Instagram, Spotify, Google, and many more.
D'ana has been on my list of guests to interview for a while now so I was ecstatic to finally nail down some time to have her.
Before we get into the episode. I just want to share a few things with you first. If you want to stay up to date with the podcast, you can head over to wellfedpodcast.com, where I have all the episodes as well as videos and articles with tips for creatives, just like you.
Second for this season, I just launched a slack group that you can join by going to wellfedpodcast.com/community. There you can share work and connect with other designers, illustrators, and photographers from all over the us. Last, but not least I'm doing free one-on-one portfolio reviews over zoom for anyone that signs up for the newsletter on the website.
Well fed podcast.com. I've already had a few of these with listeners and we've talked about things like getting more clients, ways to present your work on your website and a bunch of other topics. All you have to do is sign up for the newsletter over at wellfedpodcast.com. Now that we got that out of the way, I hope you enjoy the session.
D'ana. Thank you so much for joining me on this episode of Wellfed. Um, I know we've been trying to get this time locked in for a while now. And as I mentioned before, I've had you on my people to interview this for a while. So I'm very excited to have you as a guest. Um, D'ana, before we get into your background and experience and all the work that you've done, which I'm very excited to talk about.
Um, I've been doing these five questions and 50 seconds to just kind of get to know each other since, you know, usually I would do this in person, but now. Zoom world of ours. Um, so if you're ready, I'll go ahead and ask the first question. Awesome. Um, D'ana, if you had to give up bread or cheese, what would it be?
[00:02:06] D'ana Nunez: This is the worst question ever, because it's like they go hand in hand. Um, well, like, like Oprah Winfrey said I love bread, so I'm going to have to give up cheese.
[00:02:20] Jon Sorrentino: Awesome. I love the, I love the Oprah reference here. Um, D'ana, what's your sign?
[00:02:26] D'ana Nunez: Uh, so my sign, my moon is Pisces. My sun is, um, my rising is Leo and then my sun is also Pisces.
[00:02:34] Jon Sorrentino: Oh, full blurt birth chart. That's awesome.
[00:02:39] D'ana Nunez: Um, I, a lot of my friends are into astrology, so I kind of had to get acquainted with myself and plus it's like a part of like your genetic makeup. So it's something that you can relate to other people. Um, But me being the emotional person I am. It's just it's right.
That I am a Pisces.
[00:02:56] Jon Sorrentino: I like that. Cat or dog?
[00:03:00] D'ana Nunez: Well, cat. Yeah, but I don't I don't. Cats it just me and cats just don't get it.
[00:03:06] Jon Sorrentino: So wait, cats, you don't get along with cats.
[00:03:09] D'ana Nunez: Don't get along with cats. They're just mean, and I don't, I need things to need me, you know, like a dog needs you and cats, like I don't need you in some high
[00:03:19] Jon Sorrentino: hungry, conditional love from a dog.
You can't, you can't exchange that. Um, if you could eat one thing everyday for the rest of your life, what would it be?
[00:03:26] D'ana Nunez: Oh, hands down. I would eat cheeky's sandwiches for the rest of my life. Specifically, their fried chicken biscuit and gravy sandwich.
[00:03:36] Jon Sorrentino: Okay. I've never heard of cheeky's fried chicken sandwiches. Those sound delicious.
[00:03:40] D'ana Nunez: Oh, listen. Cause you live in New york, right?
[00:03:43] Jon Sorrentino: I've been in this area since I was born.
[00:03:46] D'ana Nunez: Amazing. So in, in lower east side, there's this restaurant called Cheeky's and it's like, hole in a while. Very mom and pop. Um, but their sandwiches are perhaps the best I've had in a while.
[00:03:58] Jon Sorrentino: It's going on. It's going on my to do list for sure. This summer.
Um, last question, Spotify or apple music.
[00:04:04] D'ana Nunez: Spotify, hands down. Yeah. All my apple friends are like. They hate me but it's cool. It's all right.
[00:04:13] Jon Sorrentino: That's okay. Okay. Um, so D'ana, thank you so much again for joining me. And I know you, you just moved out to Brooklyn. You had previously been living in Manhattan, proper in the city.
Um, but before you got to New York, like where, where did you grow up? Where are you from? Um, you know, what was that like?
[00:04:31] D'ana Nunez: So I was born in Miami and I kind of started just jumping around between Miami, Puerto Rico and then central flora, Florida Lakeland, SPE specific. Um, and those are like the three places that I kind of been bouncing around.
And then I finally moved to Brooklyn, I would say like three years ago.
[00:04:51] Jon Sorrentino: Gotcha. Okay. And, and you went to you like you, you spent most of your childhood in Florida, you went to school, um, in Miami.
[00:05:01] D'ana Nunez: So I went, I did some school, like elementary, kindergarten in Miami, and then I was quickly moved to Puerto Rico, did a lot of my schooling there.
And then I did like middle school and high school. Um, In Florida, central Florida.
[00:05:16] Jon Sorrentino: Okay. Cool. And then, uh, as I was looking through your experience, like you went to school for like fashion and fashion merchandising and stuff like that, like, like what led you to that? Like, you know, when you were younger, were you sort of creative in any sense?
Did you have any family members or anything like that? Like, do you have any siblings also, you know, like I forgot to ask this, but.
[00:05:36] D'ana Nunez: I am the baby of three. Um, I have two brothers and then sister and, um, they, oh my, my other brother and my sister were very creative. They are artists themselves. Um, so I grew up a lot of around that.
Um, but also like my parents, they do, they used to do a lot of carpentry and like painting, um, in Miami. So I grew up in that environment. Um, but as I go through my childhood, I always had it. Different components of creativity, whether it was, you know, being in TV class or, you know, creating the year book in high school.
Um, or just trying to find a way to tell a story in some creative, weird way. Um, but I always had a love for, uh, for fashion and style. And when it came down to like figuring out what I wanted to do with my life, I'm like, okay, I guess I'll do fashion because I really love it. And that's when I moved down to back to Miami to pursue that.
[00:06:31] Jon Sorrentino: And, and like, what did you, I guess, like when you go into a fashion program, like, what is that like? Cause you know, when I, when I went through community college and then figured out like, okay, I'll just like apply. The fact that I like to paint too, like something applicable like design. And so this just makes sense for me, like sure.
Go for it. But like, what were you looking to kind of like achieve or what were you looking forward to going into a fashion program?
[00:06:52] D'ana Nunez: Honestly, I had absolutely no idea. Um, because that was around the time that I was forced, I was given an ultimatum. It was either I go to school or I do something as drastic as like join the army or something.
Yeah. So it was like, I was like do or die in a sense. I was like, you know where I'm going to go to fashion school and see what that's about. Um, but then as I got into fashion school, I started seeing how surface level the school itself was and how I wasn't really being challenged. And that's when I got picked up by a fashion show coordinator to intern.
So from there, I started seeing an aspect of fashion that I really love, which is like the production, the fashion shows. And that kind of led me to like, okay, let me start dressing models. Let me put more time into this. Um, let me attend these shows. And then from there, my, my producer at the time really saw that I was killing it and was like, Hey, do you want to come on full-time as my assistant. And that's when I was like, yes. So I dropped out, I left school and I just went on that journey with him.
[00:08:00] Jon Sorrentino: Oh, damn. So you just straight up just like, say, okay. School is no more for me. Like, I got a job, like, we're going, we're going hard at this. Yeah.
[00:08:07] D'ana Nunez: I've never been a scholar. You know, I've never been one to, uh, adhere to routine, to structure. I fight with it a lot since I was a kid. Um, and that showed up a lot in school. So it was really hard for me to sit there and dedicate time when I felt like there was so much more else that I can do it and learn from people that were in that industry.
[00:08:28] Jon Sorrentino: Damn, that's crazy.
I mean, and also hearing that, like you had, you know, been presented as sort of this ultimatum. Either. You're going to like, kind of do something drastic, like during joining the army or work the fields or something, or go to school, like when did you tell your family, like, Hey, I'm dropping out. Cause like I got this opportunity.
Like, what was their reaction?
[00:08:47] D'ana Nunez: I did not, I did not tell my family during that time in my life, I kept a lot of things, you know, secrets to myself. Um, and it wasn't because, um, my family would be judgmental. It would be upset if anything, they would ask me questions that I perhaps wasn't prepared to answer at that time. So I was like, you know what, let me just figure this out.
Let's let's us swim in the water a little bit. Let me get acquainted with stuff. And then if something sticks, then I'll let my family know, Hey, by the way, this is what I'm doing. Um, so it really was a lot of self-discovery during that time.
[00:09:20] Jon Sorrentino: That's cool. I mean, I, I really admire that. Like just kind of like entering that, that deep end without really having any sort of flotation device or anything.
[00:09:29] D'ana Nunez: Um, scary.
[00:09:30] Jon Sorrentino: How long were you, you know, working with this, uh, like in this sort of fashion production for this specific role, you said that you were brought on as the assistant. So like how long were you doing that before? I guess like you decided that you needed to change or something.
[00:09:44] D'ana Nunez: Yeah. So I embarked on that journey.
I started school like in 2010. Um, and then it feels like I woke up maybe three, four years later and I was still engulfed in that. Um, and it consisted of a lot of traveling, um, because a lot of the shows are based here in New York. Um, and it was a whirlwind of late nights, fitting models. Going like making the impossible work, missing flights, um, being stuck at customs with no money.
Like it was, it was just a lot of interesting work. Um, and when I finally woke up to understand that I was like, this is amazing. This is cool, but I still don't like working for the man. Like I don't like working for anybody else. Um, so that caused a little conflict of interest and eventually, you know, we separated and I moved on, but that was a really wild time of life. Understanding what the fashion industry was all about. The people that worked in it, um, and really seeing like the nitty gritty side of something that's, you know, assumed to be so glamorous and beautiful.
[00:10:49] Jon Sorrentino: Sure. Yeah. Like what's behind the curtain really at that point.
Um, so when you decide that you're going to separate, do you continue to pursue more similar opportunities in terms of like fashion production and show production, things like that, or, or, you know, is, do you kind of like make a left turn and go a completely different direction?
[00:11:08] D'ana Nunez: Oh yeah, I definitely, um, it came to an, a, a crazy hault.
Um, I was extremely burnt out. Um, there was a lot of things that, you know, being in your twenties and your younger twenties, you know, You're still questioning a lot of things. And then you think so far ahead and you're like, well, what is my life's purpose? And it gets really dramatic, you know? So then I decided to like, not do anything.
I want to just to go back to the basics and heal a little bit. So my brother at the time he lived in Nebraska. And I was like, Hey bro, can I like, come stay with you for like a week? I just, I just want to decompress. I want to like figure out what's my next move. What was supposed to take me a week? Ended up being nine months of me living in Nebraska.
With my brother and his family.
[00:11:57] Jon Sorrentino: Nebraska for a second, I thought you said Alaska. And I was like, wow. But even, even Nebraska, I mean, I, I just, I just came back from visiting my sister in Colorado, and I know they're somewhat close in proximity, but also just like being so far away and being out there in sort of like, you have to drive hours to get to, to civilization or towns or, or anything at times. So like, how did this turn into nine months? Like, what are you doing out there in that during that time?
[00:12:25] D'ana Nunez: I, I'm trying to understand what this life is about. And I'm trying to understand who is D'ana before anything else that we know of her today?
Like, it was just a lot of asking the whys and the hows and what do I want to do? What do I see myself doing? But also I've always felt like I've had hustle kind of embedded in me. I've seen good examples of that in my childhood. So I started working for Walmart. I did, um, The overnight stocking. So I would clock in at 10:00 PM and then I'll get off at 6:00 AM.
But that job to me was so fun because I would put on my headphones, I'll listen to music, I'll stock the shelves and next, you know, it's 6:00 AM. And I go back to sleep, I go back to bed and, you know, repeat. Um, but that, that itself taught me like discipline and it taught me, um, you know, kind of like a teamwork kind of environment and what that felt like.
And, um, One of the very few Latinas in Nebraska, um, are obviously was like the odd man out. I was like the black sheep of everything, but that to me was like really cool that I had an opportunity to stand out in very unique ways. So it was a really good experience.
[00:13:36] Jon Sorrentino: So completely disconnecting from fashion, completely disconnecting from art. It's, I mean, it's so surprising and also like amazing at the same time when you hear that. I know, people love to talk about like, hustle, right. And at the same time, like to me, I would feel, I think we kind of agree on this. It's like hustle is like, you do what you have to do to get by. And so like, if I need to go work at a gas station, I will go and do that just to kind of like get by and wait for that next opportunity or whatever it may be.
I think. In a similar vein. I worked overnight at like a Victoria secret for a while in school and the same vibe of like putting in my headphones, stocking the shelves and like clocking in and clocking out just because I needed to get it done and needed to get this paycheck. And so that's, that's, that's, that's amazing to hear that you kind of had that experience as well, like, okay.
You, you, you, you hit nine months in Nebraska hanging out with your, your brother living there. You're working Walmart job. I'm sure there's probably a bunch of other stuff. Where does it shift? You know, like what, what do you come out? And you say, you're asking yourself these why questions? Like, how do we, like, where do we go from here?
[00:14:40] D'ana Nunez: So basically once I reached like that ninth month, I was like, I'm ready to leave the coop. Like, I think I'm ready to try this again. Um, so what ended up happening is I went back to Miami. I had a little studio that was like, you can only literally fit one person in there. It's just so tiny. My rent was like $500, but.
I wanted to get back into the storytelling of fashion. So I started style blogging at that time. Um, and while I was, uh, blogging, I was working who, how many jobs was I working? I was, I was. Any reasonable job I can get, I did it because, you know, $500 doesn't seem like a lot, but at that time I was like paying rent in quarters and pennies.
So like I was again, that hustle just to get by and to still provide some kind of sustainability for that style blogging culture that I wanted to upkeep. So I did whatever by any means necessary. Um, so I got back into style blogging. Quickly realized that my personality, my views, who I am, even my style as a person, um, just didn't fit into that mold at the time in Miami.
Um, and so what ended up happening is I ended up pissing a lot of people off in the community of blogging, um, just by speaking my truth and like speaking how I felt at the time. And. When that happened. I was also doing internships for like other brands, doing content creation, um, shooting videos on my phone, take it out on premiere and cutting it up.
Um, just for like social content. And then one day my partner at the time. It was like, uh, I don't think you're utilizing your skillset to the best ability that you, that you can be. And I was shocked. I was hurt. I was like, what do you mean? Like fashion and style is my life. That's all I know. Um, yeah, like I spent nine months in Nebraska figuring it out and you're telling me this ain't it?
Um, but that little moment was, uh, very powerful for me because, that kind of made me take a step back and realize that maybe I'm not pushing that skill or pushing that love for storytelling to the capacity. Um, so that's, that was, that's what happened as soon as I moved back to Miami.
[00:17:03] Jon Sorrentino: So it's kind of, I mean, there's just so much in that, right?
Like, because I look at your work now and I see like, it touches so many different mediums. Right. And it sounds like this is that moment where you're just kind of like, like this part of your life is where you're getting all of those skills of like, yeah, I'm doing this one job and it requires video editing.
So I like spend the night, like learning how to do that. And like, whether it's using my iPhone or whatever, like I'm going to get it done. And, you know, it's all in this pursuit of wanting to like, you know, pay that rent check for that studio that, you know, this like space that you've created for yourself.
Um, but also to kind of like continue to grow. It's, it's kind of, I mean, let me know if you feel this way or share this same thought of like, it's kind of those moments where you're like just burning the midnight oil at all times that you're like, in a way you look back and like, I was so creative then, you know, like I had so much, I was making so much stuff and I was doing so many things and it nothing bothered me, even though I was like, burning myself, like, you know, to the bone, basically.
[00:18:01] D'ana Nunez: 1000%. And I have to say between my inner child and that girl in her twenties is what I consistently remind myself of. Like creativity was at my peak at that time. Like I would figure out any way to make something happen. Um, and, and that kind of transpires into my work now. So that's so crazy. You mentioned that because I always think about those moments.
[00:18:25] Jon Sorrentino: I, yeah, I I've been living. I live in Jersey city now and I've lived here probably. I think we're going on seven years now and I I've walked the same kind of path to the train to get into the city. And I think every year. You know, as I continued to take that same route, I think back to like, when I first moved here and had no money and didn't have like any good job or anything like that.
And like all the projects I was working on and now like obviously seven years later being a little further in my career, how it sort of slow down way. It's a little depressing, but like, you still have to keep that in your head because it's a great moment to kind of remember and to kind of keep you humble in a sense.
So, how do we, how do we get to New York? How do we, how do you eventually decide that? Okay. Miami is not the place for me, or maybe it is, or maybe something else brings you to New York? Like what decide, like what makes you decide to go up north and come to the big, the big apple?
[00:19:18] D'ana Nunez: So at that point, COVL had transformed from my style to now more artistic expression
[00:19:26] Jon Sorrentino: was Coville was cool, like officially formed because so you're Deana Nunez and COVL is sort of like your studio, your creative practice.
Like where, where did that come up?
[00:19:38] D'ana Nunez: So it's funny. Cause uh, I get asked this a lot, like what was COVL prior to art and, um, I'll never, I'll never say what it was because it's one of those things that you just keep in a box and you, you know, you play it away. Um, but, uh, COVL, COVL eventually was like just a, kind of, um, a collective volume of like my, my stories of style and fashion and how I incorporated that into like everyday living.
And then when it morphed into what it is now, that took time because I was like, I love the name. Um, and I love how it's kind of hard to pronounce it and people are like, isn't it. I just love that mystery of it. You know, it's something that I feel like has a really good impression, the moment you hear it.
So I was like, okay, I don't want to lose a name. Now I have to figure out not that I ermged into this new arena. What does that even mean? And that took a lot, another moment of like self discovery and trying to understand what is as an artist who I want to put on the table. Um, and so now COVL means those four things, but.
It was, it was a journey in itself to keep that name.
[00:20:55] Jon Sorrentino: You don't know, or aren't familiar with COVL, it's an acronym. What does it say?
[00:21:00] D'ana Nunez: So COVL represents four things. It's craft, onward, versatility and lifestyle.
[00:21:05] Jon Sorrentino: Yes. Yeah. And so, so COVL was formed before you even got to New York and, and then it was sort of in a way, I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, it's kind of a way to, or from, from the outsider perspective, it's like a way for you to, to package all of these skills that you've, you've learned and apply them in a way that like allows you to work on different projects. So it's not like you're being narrowed into one thing. Um, and so how does, how do you bring COVL to New York? How do you get to New York? Like, w what's that what's that process. Okay.
[00:21:35] D'ana Nunez: So before I moved to New York, I was again in the hustle culture, but this time I was more aligned in the creative realm.
So I was working for agencies. Um, I was doing like freelance work. You know, keeping that same kind of like colossal mentality, but not in the art space. And then one day, um, you know, my part at the time was like, We should move to New York. And I was like, absolutely not. So only because I've always seen New York as the fashion way that, that I was like, you know, when I was in my fashion years, I saw it as a place of just hustle and work, but I never saw it as a place of living.
Um, and also I just trying to understand what, how, how would you even affect me mentally and creatively moving from somewhere as Miami to something completely different as New York. So I was like proposing that we go to Atlanta, you know, cause it's the creative culture is cool there and it's a lot cheaper.
Um, but the way that the universe works for me is that, um, it's going to always have a different plan for me and I just have to trust it. And I just remember him getting the call that he got the job here in New York. And the universe is, you're going to New York!
[00:22:51] Jon Sorrentino: It was like, no, turning back now. It's like, you're going.
[00:22:55] D'ana Nunez: It's gone. Yeah, I had to be, um, I knew that it was going to be hard, but, um, at that point I had reached like COVL and I reached this, I guess, a glass ceiling in Miami where I felt like I wasn't being challenged anymore. It was really hard to find a good, you know, collective community.
Um, and also like just the opportunities that I was given. I felt like I could expand on that more. So, yeah, I moved to New York, not by choice, but three years later, I am very grateful that the universe kind of pushed me off the cliff to get here.
[00:23:26] Jon Sorrentino: Totally. So you were, I think we kind of, I might've just missed the opportunity, but like, so you you're going through that moment of, of hustling in Miami.
You're completely like working independent, you're working on, you know, for different freelance gigs and things like that. COVL you decide that you're going to kind of put together COVL. Um, and as you mentioned, like the opportunities you're, you're not getting, or you seem like you're sort of hitting a glass ceiling within the work that you're getting in Miami, what were some of the, I guess like the, the gigs or some of the things that you were working on because.
I think, right? Like you come to New York and it seems like so many more opportunities open up. So I just want to kind of touch on some of those before we get into that, that huge chapter of your life um, here in New York. Yeah. So
[00:24:10] D'ana Nunez: in Miami, I did a lot of like, cause it's like, uh, the culture of Miami is like very nightlife based and party focused.
So I did a lot of party flyers. Um, I did a lot of, um, graphic design for certain, um, clients and brands. I did a lot of, um, content managing, like at some point I had like six accounts of six different brands and companies where I was scheduling content. I was creating content. I was strategizing content for the month.
Um, I was, I was doing all of that on top of also getting more acquainted with my skillsets and drawing more and illustrating. So it was a lot of work that I now look back and be like, I'll never do that again. Um, but it taught me so much about my value now. Um, and, and how I can take those, those things that I've learned from, and kind of graduate and mature them in to what we see now.
[00:25:08] Jon Sorrentino: Totally. So then you get to New York. I, you know, I can only imagine, and we could probably like spend a lot of time on this, like acclimating to New York, getting to know the city because I've been in Miami recently and yeah. It is like you put on those kind of rosy shade of glasses and everything.
Everyone is just happy. The food's good. The weather is beautiful. And then you come to New York and it's like, those, those glasses come off really quickly. The lenses are now changed to like a gray olive, darker color. People are a little bit more, you know, like not, not slower, but like, you know, they're just not as happy.
So like, like what was it getting to, getting to familiarize with New York for your, like, how was that, you know, uh, process.
[00:25:50] D'ana Nunez: It was, I won't even lie. It was, it was not a fun time. Um, I am someone that I, um, I speak a lot on my mental health, so I do have PTSD and, and I suffer from anxiety. So when I initially moved here, it was not only a culture shock, but my brain and body were just like, What is going on was very overstimulating.
Um, and so I did experience a lot of like depressive months, um, getting acclimated in New York. On top of that, I asked her I also moved in November, so it was like, and then seasonal depression get me. I was like, why did I do this? But it was very hard. Luckily, luckily I did recognize that there were certain people that in my main move to New York, so I kind of just like reached out and I was like, hi, I know we haven't spoken in a long time, but do you want to get coffee?
Do you want to like hang out or something? Um, because I realized. Um, and more than ever now that my tribe and the people that I surround myself with, um, really play a massive role into my everyday. So reaching out to people, meeting new friends and then trying to like figure out what was COVL gonna look like in New York, um, was what I spent doing for like the first four or five months since I had moved.
[00:27:11] Jon Sorrentino: Yeah. Because I imagine, right. Like not only you're moving to New York from Miami, right? Like that's a huge thing, but you're leaving this network of work. You're leaving these clients. I mean, you know, we can all kind of agree that you can do this stuff remote, but it's, it's like you left Miami to kind of approach a new horizon of like new opportunities and new projects and things like that and so I imagine like you're kind of starting from square one having to, like, as you mentioned, meet new friends, meet kind of like the creative hub and get to know like what projects are are available and things like that. Um, how does that sort of open up for you? Because I mean you know, just to mention, like some of the projects that you've shared on, on social media and some of the bigger projects that I've seen you work for clients like Nike, you had the, the big billboard in times square for Spotify recently, which is like huge. Instagram.
Um, Kin Euphorics, the list goes on like Cadillac. There's so much stuff. And, and, you know, we're definitely going to talk a little bit about like how all these projects are different from the next. Um, but like how, how does this sort of like, grow? Like how does this snowball for you? How do you go from working for maybe smaller, slightly smaller projects in Miami to like really kind of, kind of stretching your creative muscles here in New York?
[00:28:20] D'ana Nunez: Yeah. So once I got like my more, um, more solid footing in New York, I realized that COVL at that point, West starting to morph and evolve right in front of me. And I was like, wait, this could be good. This move for me could, that should be a really good turning point for me. So let me do this strategically.
So then that's when I started reaching out to different people to see if they would be interested in pursuing some kind of like teamwork where they can, um, manage me and helped me like expand on ideas and projects that I want to do. Um, I received a lot of no's only because I think at that point, so at that time, people didn't understand like the full capacity or potential of art and design, um, in a way that we see it.
Now we see it everywhere we look now. Um, but I, I would say like almost three years ago, I didn't really see a lot of that. So I reached out to my, my manager now, Ashley, just to see you know, if she would be interested. Um, and that was the turning point to being on the frontline for the brands and clients and projects that I do now.
Um, because she is, she is the O.G. and she, um, she's she was so well she's well connected and she's rooted here in New York for a longer time than I am. So it was that that helps me be in the frontline for the brands.
[00:29:44] Jon Sorrentino: I think it's something that like a lot of people not necessary. A lot of people, a lot of creatives struggle with this idea of like that teamwork sort of element, right?
Like of like you can only do so much in a day yourself. And how do you like the only way to grow and to kind of begin to like expand and not only that, but like reach new clients, reaching projects, like try these different things. In some moments is like to actually like bring on more people or work together in situations.
And so I think like it's great to be able to kind of talk a little bit about that because it's also so foreign for a lot of people. It almost seems like for creative, starting off, it is like this really far out idea to even think about like partnering with someone. Um, you mentioned that like you were contacting a ton of different people now were these like creative agencies were these like, you know, specifically like artists management, places, like what was that like?
[00:30:35] D'ana Nunez: Yeah.
So I did reach out to certain agencies. I don't recall what, what the agencies were names, but definitely reached out to some agencies. I reached out to some people that I admire, um, that I knew they had an eye or an understanding of, um, you know, manage, being a management in that, in that kind of realm.
Um, so yeah, it was, it was more so like agencies and then people that I admire to see if they would be down. And I'm very happy. They all said no, because I feel like what I have now is a gem and, um, people see that. So it's, um, I'm grateful that it all works out the way
[00:31:10] Jon Sorrentino: he did. And so it's also probably worth mentioning that, like, it doesn't just happen through, uh, As simple as like, you know, yes, it was, uh, you reached out and you sent an email or whatever, maybe through this email out there, but like, I'm sure you had a lot of work and a lot of experience to show in those kinds of communications, because I can't imagine like achieving the work that you have is just like, Hey, I'm just looking for someone to work with.
Are you available? Like, like it doesn't, it doesn't just happen overnight.
[00:31:40] D'ana Nunez: No, absolutely not. I definitely, prior to meeting Ashley, I definitely canceled all the contracts or the agreements or the communication with the clients. Um, I handled all the invoicing I handled, you know, and then not only the admin work, but then I had to go into the creative work.
So by the time I reached out to these people, I was like, I know how to run my business. I know how I would like to approach clients. I know a structure for invoicing and all this stuff. I just need you to come in and help me with that. But also let's expand opportunities and like reach out to different brands and see if they'd be interested in collaborating.
Um, and we never actually got to the point of pitching because by the time her and I decided to start working together, um, It's just, it erupt, like our first thing together was to trident mural and from the trident murals and Nike thing, and from the Nike thing, it just, it was like this huge snowball of just opportunity.
Once I realized that I can't do this alone. Um, and it's really effective to have someone that sees it is yeah.
[00:32:44] Jon Sorrentino: Damn shout out Ashley. Um, she's a beast. So I think this is kind of the perfect opportunity because to talk about some of the work that you've done, you know, like I mentioned, you worked with Nike, Instagram, uh, Cadillac, uh, you know, I was growing through your website, there's just a lot of stuff, but I think the coolest part, uh, you know, that I appreciate it as a designer and someone who probably, um, You know, tends to like, sort of get that shiny object thing, or like as excited by like being able to apply your creativity in a bunch of different ways. Like you work on not only like flat 2d things and illustrations, but you are able to work on apparel lines.
Your're able to work on like doing a wrap for a car and murals and like spaces. And so like how. I guess, how, how have you been able to kind of present this versatility to these projects? Right? Like how does that, how does that click for when you're talking to clients and things like that? Because I think like everyone, I think there's just always been this idea of like, you have to be good at one thing and you have to be really good at that, so that like, people want to like work with you and stuff like that.
But I think your work and, and your style kind of speaks to this idea that like, sure, like I am a great creative, but I'm also great at showing how many different ways that this can take life and take shape, right?
[00:33:58] D'ana Nunez: Yeah, I think at the very base of it, I think a lot of people forget that what creativity really is, is problem solving.
So I remember it that when I started to pursue art seriously, I was like, I'm not going to put a cap on what I can do as long as I can problem solve it and ideate and understand how I can make it happen. I'm going to do it, why might not? And that's been my ethos since the very beginning. And I think that shows a lot in my work.
And I think that's what a lot of brands or people are gravitated towards. They see that creativity in it, they see that problem solving. Um, and they also see the story behind it. They see this person that's, I'm a total weirdo and, you know, I don't mind being myself and, um, and I've always been the kind to build it and they will come.
So I think. All of that is what leads me to have these conversation with brands. Um, you know, don't propose something, but it is my responsibility to come back and be like, well, this is how we can do it better. Or this is how we can expand on that idea.
[00:34:57] Jon Sorrentino: Did you ever imagine, you know, the young D'ana ever imagined, like having the opportunity to like work on a Nike line or like potentially even I think the one project I saw too, which was, again, that speaks to this, like versatility of like you designed, um, like the Instagram house for Coachella. And so like you had like this amazing environment, like created, like, did that ever sort of pop up on the radar?
Was that ever something that you envisioned for yourself?
[00:35:25] D'ana Nunez: You know what's crazy? My inner child, never she's living right now. She's like, I am, I am here. I have arrived. She's living for every moment. Um, but I think what my inner child has always been used to is just survival. Um, you know, when I was a kid, I didn't have the childhood.
I had to grow up very quickly. So all I knew was survival. All I knew was hustle. So now that I'm in my thirties, I'm living my childhood again. And that's, I think that shows in my work and that shows in like all the opportunities that I'm given. I take a lot of risk and, um, but she is, she's having a ball.
[00:36:02] Jon Sorrentino: Yeah, a kid in a candy shop, right? For, for creatives and designers and things like that. Are there, are there clients still out there that like, you know, you're still hoping to work with? I mean, you know, again, like to rattle off like Nike IBM, Dell, you know, Cadillac, like these big companies, like, is there even a list anymore of like, oh, it'd be awesome to work on this or work with them or whatever?
[00:36:25] D'ana Nunez: I would love to be in TV one day.
I remember being in high school and like doing, um, I was in, I forgot what the class was called, but it's a class where you edit the anchor, like the morning news and all this stuff. And you do the backdrops on that stuff. So that was like a little snippet of like, I would love to be in TV. I love all the opportunities I'm given, you know, as of yet as of now, but I'm like, I want to do TV one day and I think, I think I can do it. Like why not?
[00:36:57] Jon Sorrentino: That's cool. No, I think, yeah, I can see that. Like, I mean, I don't want to call out anybody who has been a previous guest on the show, but I can see how your style has, I can absolutely apply. And some of those situations, um, You you've worked with all these clients. You've been able to kind of apply your skills, your creativity, and a ton of different situations.
And I kind of want to bring it back to COVL because, you know, through like ways of social media, it seems that like, you're really trying to kind of like build COVL into more of a brand and not just a creative practice. And so I'm kind of curious, like, like what is like, what's on your mind now that you are sort of hitting this.
I guess you could, I mean, you know, correct me if I'm wrong, slap me on the wrist. Like you had this moment, like, you know, you're living your inner child is living this awesome creative life. And so like, what are some of the things that you're looking forward to, you know, that may not be necessarily for client work.
[00:37:47] D'ana Nunez: Yeah. So I have a brand, um, called made by COVL. And that is right now, the project that I've been really like putting a lot of energy and time into, um, because essentially I listened to what my audience is always saying, and they want more of me. They want more of COVL in their homes. They want to be able to wear things by COVL.
They want to be able to have pillows and other stuff. So I, I really listen and I understood that, Made by COVL can be in another extension of how I communicate and share creativity with my audience. Um, and that's been a challenge in itself because that's business, you know, building a business and being someone that's so creative, it's really hard to like hone in onto like the business aspects of things.
Um, but I would say right now, that's what I'm looking for too, is really tightening up that ship and providing something that would really bring vibrancy and fun into people's homes.
[00:38:42] Jon Sorrentino: I saw that rug. I was like, damn yo. That's cool. I see you on there. I see you out there. That's I know. That's awesome. I, I, it's just like, kind of like amazing to see.
You know, like, I think for one, you know, being, I guess, younger in my career, so to say, or, you know, like just kind of one, just admiring your work and your kind of creativity and your path, seeing how you can kind of really progress through working with clients, doing client work and eventually hitting this moment where like, okay, it's time to kind of focus in on what I can actually create for myself or create for people directly to my audience and things like that.
And so it's interesting. I think, you know, it kind of brings me back to see. The the, the creativity or your involvement with fashion and interiors and stuff like that. And to see those kinds of executions come to life is very exciting as a, as an, I guess, as a fan, right? Like this podcast, I'm just a fan of all of my guests and like, I just convinced them to come on and join me.
So, um, D'ana, before we, before we wrap up the episode, I've been asking about. Um, you know, this kind of question as to like, if you could give yourself or write yourself a time capsule, you know, that you'd open up in a couple of years, you know, down the road. Um, what would you sort of write to yourself?
Like, what would you, you know, words of encouragement or anything like that? W what would you say?
[00:39:58] D'ana Nunez: I was just playing, um, we're not really strangers last night and. The there's this card. It's like a reminder that came up and I thought I read it. And I was like, whew, that hit my soul. So I think it would be let go of your attachment to the outcome.
[00:40:16] Jon Sorrentino: Nice. Nice. I feel like I've heard that from my therapist a lot lately, but we don't have to go into that.
[00:40:26] D'ana Nunez: Shout out to therapy though.
[00:40:27] Jon Sorrentino: Um, D'ana, thank you so much for joining me today. Uh, I could not be more excited to have you as a guest for this season. Um, where can people find more of you? Where can they learn more about COVL and the things that you are creating every day?
[00:40:39] D'ana Nunez: Yeah. I mean, being a millennial, you can just look me up on the interwebs, you know, uh, but all my work can be found on COVL.co.
Um, if you want to see what my Instagram was about and, you know, see how weird I am, you can look me up that @itscovl and, uh, And same thing for Twitter, pretty accessible.
[00:40:59] Jon Sorrentino: Awesome. D'ana, thank you so much.
[00:41:01] D'ana Nunez: My pleasure, thank you.
[00:41:07] Jon Sorrentino: This podcast is produced by me. Jon's Sorrentino out in Jersey city, New Jersey. Editing, mixing, and music are all done by my friend, Kevin Bendis in Greenpoint Brooklyn. Definitely check him out. You can find out more about Wellfed and where to listen at wellfedpodcast.com or on social media at wellfed.podcast.
Thank you so much for listening and we'll see you soon.
On this episode, my guest is D'ana Nunez, AKA COVL. D'ana is a multidisciplinary artists originally from Miami, now living in Brooklyn, New York. Multi-disciplinary is a word we use to describe creatives that apply their skills to a number of different mediums and D'ana is truly an example of this. She has created murals, motion graphics, car wraps, interiors, and even capsule collections for brands, such as Nike, Instagram, Spotify, Google, and many more.
D'ana has been on my list of guests to interview for a while now so I was ecstatic to finally nail down some time to have her.