We came across Anna Núñez's Instagram late last year and immediately fell in love with her classic style and beautiful design work. After following along with her travels to Montreal, Paris and Nashville, and admiring her hand-drawn branding concepts and illustrations, we decided to get to know this Voloshin woman a little better.
Tell us a little about Chez Núñez and how you got started.
Chez Núñez is a personal brand and business that I’ve been developing since 2017 around the time that I graduated from college with a degree in art with marketing and advertising minors.
It was established initially to act as my portfolio for the work that I offer as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer - but has expanded to encompass a wider variety of what I’m capable of as a multi-faceted/multi-passionate creative.
At the moment, Chez Núñez offers examples of my work in design, illustration and fine art. It also contains a small retail shop, and shares blog posts that are primarily centered around travel, lifestyle, or more in-depth looks at featured projects or collaborations.
The pursuit of a creative life and work has been on my mind and in my heart since childhood. What this looks like and means to me is something that is continually evolving as I strive to learn, grow and pivot in directions that I feel called towards.
What are the most rewarding and most challenging things about working in a creative field?
Some of the most rewarding moments of my work in a creative field are the ones that either connect me to a broader sense of community or allow me to see the impact that my work has in the lives of others after it’s left my desk/studio. When I get to connect with other creatives and see that my work has added value to their lives in some way, I get to experience this really sweet reminder that my creativity shouldn’t always be centered around myself or my vision. I love the feeling that my work is bigger than myself.
When I started working as a freelance creative, I don’t think I quite realized that I was signing up and buckling myself into somewhat of an emotional roller-coaster. By nature of my work, I have a lot of days that are really really rewarding and fun, followed almost immediately at times by days that totally suck. No job is ever promised, my stream of income (although it does support me) is far from steady, and I work in a field that feedback can be incredibly affirming or super discouraging simply depending on the day. This is just the challenging back and forth pattern that I’ve had to recognize and grow more comfortable with. Because what I love about my work FAR exceeds what feels challenging on some days. Whenever I’m having a rough time or feeling discouraged, it always helps me to remember that a great day is likely right around the corner.
What advice do you have for someone interested in freelancing?
When you get into doing freelance work, I highly recommend setting up some healthy boundaries between yourself, your work, and your clients if you’d like to stay sane and enjoy your life in the course of projects at hand.
I think a big misconception about freelancing is that the projects at hand must become all-consuming for the independent creative. In setting up simple boundaries for yourself - around emails, or hours, or lunch breaks (whatever works well for you!) - I think you’ll find that your life as a freelancer will become much more enjoyable. Now, this is no excuse to slack off. Clear communication is always KEY, and it’s important as ever to work diligently and meet deadlines on time (or early if you really want to stand out).
In my own experience - by giving myself lunch breaks, weekends off, and only responding to emails on business days before 5 pm - I’ve been able to find a nice balance between life and work on most days. These practices have significantly reduced email anxiety because my clients learn my pattern, and know when they can expect responses from me! Bonus perk: these boundaries also leave me with a much more refreshed, inspired and positive mindset in my day to day work - especially after a weekend away from my computer.
You recently moved to St. Petersburg, FL. What inspired the relocation?
A lot of different things inspired the relocation over the course of several years. When we moved to St. Pete, we moved 2 hours away from our previous home in Fort Myers, FL. We did so with the hope to further my husband’s band/career in music, live in a place that inspires us both, and join an established community of creative, kind friends up here in St. Pete who are doing amazing work to positively affect and grow this city.
When we finally chose to make the move, it just made so much sense - being still so close to Fort Myers, friends and family - and it already feels so rewarding. I love our new home so much.
It seems like you like to travel—what are some of your favorite places you’ve visited recently?
I do! I absolutely love traveling. It fills me up with so much inspiration for my work, art, life, it’s ridiculous. I just recently got back from visiting Nashville and had such a great time! One of my all-time favorite places to visit is Montreal, CAD. We just visited for the third time last fall and I can’t wait to go back again. Summertime there is MAGIC.
Anna in the Moonstone Sunburst Stud Earrings
How would you define your style and what’s important to you when deciding which brands to support?
I’d define my style as comfortable, classic and versatile, with some hand-made touches and elevated thrift store vibes sprinkled in.
As someone who grew up with a mother that makes clothing, it’s become really important for me to try and understand the story, values and manufacturing practices of a brand before supporting, and especially before endorsing them.
It means so much more to me to invite thoughtful pieces into my closet, because these are likely going to be the pieces that were crafted to last. Basics are my jam, I’m a sucker for quality/sturdy goods, a big believer in mending garments before throwing them out, and I love to shop at thrift stores whenever my budget is tight.
You’ve gained quite the Instagram following! What’s that like? Has it affected your life at all or changed how you use/view social media?
Instagram is a fun, weird, sometimes tricky thing. I’ve been using it since 2012, and only started to harness it more intentionally to share my work in design/art/photography just a few years ago. Through the highs and lows, comparison and lessons, boundaries, and re-setting of boundaries - I’d say it’s affected my life positively overall. I always recognize that Instagram can be such a double-edged sword, but in my experience, I’m just crazy thankful for the ways that it’s opened incredible doors and allowed for opportunities in my work that I wouldn’t have been presented with otherwise. I’ve really enjoyed making new friends across countries, learning of and supporting other artists through the app as well.
As my following has grown, and I’m able to receive feedback on my work and day to day activities, I have found it more and more necessary to keep healthy boundaries and take time away from the app to breathe and find inspiration elsewhere. I’ve also learned through the process that Instagram shouldn’t be the end all be all of creative community and brand. It’s a basket that I don’t want all my eggs in - hence, my Chez Núñez website, email newsletters and thriving Pinterest account.
Both your style and your creative content/designs are so consistent and very you. What advice do you have for someone who’s looking to better define their own personal style?
It’s such a meaningful compliment to hear that you see a consistent thread in the things I share. I’m no expert in this - it’s something that I’m still learning more about and constantly striving towards. But I’d love to offer my encouragement!
My biggest piece(s) of advice for someone on a similar path to better defining their personal style - or perhaps honing in on their creative voice - would be to stop thinking so much about what’s cool, what’s on-trend, or what people might think in response.
Try thinking about what you naturally gravitate towards and then explore that more. Look inward for what brings you joy - search for the recurring patterns or commonalities. Harness your individuality - the stuff that makes you unique. Redefine what this means to you, and don’t be afraid to redefine it all if your preferences or style changes! We all have to continue working to become less and less afraid to truly be ourselves. It sounds simpler than it is, I know, but it’s a process worth participating in.