We had the good fortune of connecting with Trudi Mendez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Trudi, why did you pursue a creative career?
I woke up one day after working 13 years in Oil & Gas as an IT professional and realized I needed to change the path I was taking. My journey was meant to be somewhere else. I have a passion for art and a passion for service to others. And for sanity’s sake, I needed to step out in faith and move in a different direction. So I did.
Photography (all artistic expression) has been a life long passion of mine. My happy place has always been behind my lens. Capturing a moment of joy, sadness or curiosity is energy for me. And art is healing. After the death of my son in 2020 I found solace in my art. It has kept me afloat during a time of deep sadness.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love to teach, and I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to teach photography to children as the Local Teaching Artist for The Pablove Foundation here in Houston. Their Shutterbugs Program is a healing arts program. I get to share my love for photography with children ages 6 – 18 who are actively battling cancer or who are currently in remission. This work fills my cup. Helping these children find their creative voices is an amazing experience.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Houston has been my home for a little over 20 years. And there is something for everyone here. I live outside the loop so many of my favorite spots are in Northwest Houston. I love food. Period. So I have several favorite spots. If you love Thai food, then I would definitely take you to Thai Chefs out on Barker Cypress in CyFair. It’s a family owned business and the food is AMAZING. The Tofu red curry is my favorite. If you are a pizza fan, then I would also pick-up something for us from Home Base Pizza on West Road. I love sweets, so would have to get one of my favorite cloud cakes from Tous Les Jours located in H-Mart out in Katy. The cloud cakes are always just the right amount of sweet. For my vegan friends, we would need to pick up some food from my favorite Buddhist temple, Zen Vegetarian Dihn Doung Chay Vien Thong. So good. The other must have would be a trip out to Paulie’s on Wesheimer. They have the best Italian food. You can’t go wrong with anything you choose, but some of my favorites are the chicken piccata, portobello sandwich and Mediterranean salad. They also have a great selection of beers. Last stop would be just down the road on Westheimer at Empire Cafe. So many great coffees to choose from.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My biggest supporter and fan is my husband, Robert. He is my rock. He has been the voice in my ear that tells me to pursue my purpose. I would be lost without him.
I became a part of The Pablove Foundation in 2019. Pablove is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to a unique approach of addressing childhood cancer through art + science. Their mission is to improve the lives of children living with cancer through the arts and to invest in underfunded, cutting-edge pediatric cancer research. As the Houston Teaching Artist for their Shutterbugs program, I get to teach photography to kids and teens living with cancer and help them find their creative voice through the art of photography. It allows me to share my passion for teaching and art in a meaningful way. The families I work with are beyond amazing. The courage these children have is mind-blowing. Learn more about Shutterbugs at https://www.pablove.org/shutterbugs/.
Losing a child is soul crushing. I lost myself for a while. Photography was my comfort mechanism. I feel connected to my son, Ashton, when I am photographing nature. It keeps me connected to him in a metaphysical way. Love your kids hard. Make every day count. Life is precious and finite. We never know where life’s journey will bring us.
Trudi Mendez Photography