To Top

Art & Life with Des Arellano

Today we’d like to introduce you to Des Arellano.

Des, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
At an early age, I was introduced to art. My biggest role model was my uncle Jesus Arellano, a self-taught artist who received two associate’s degrees, a Bachelor’s degree, and was very close to completing his Master’s degree in art before passing. My uncle opened the door, for me to walk through. He planted a sense of inner strength deep within me.

What I considered to be just a hobby sparked into a lifestyle. He believed in me, and that was the best gift I could’ve asked for. That’s when my ambition began.

2012, I began a profession in Make-up Artistry. I attended a Makeup school and received a certification in completing my courses. I learned a new trait in face/body painting, shortly after I got hired as a Fantasy Make-up Instructor For two separate make-up schools. As a side gig, I joined a glam squad as the key make-up artist for an upcoming magazine. My luck seemed infinite, countless opportunities were coming my way. All my hard work and effort was finally being acknowledged, at that moment I felt like I was on top of the world.

However, at home, I realized something was changing in my three year old son’s behavior. Briefly after, my son Johnny was diagnosed with Autism. Our cards completely shuffled, we embraced it and kept moving forward. I knew I needed to be more jointly involved, to provide a stable, safe, & nurturing environment. I was terrified! I didn’t think I was strong enough to be his advocate. Boy was I wrong! To keep myself busy, in 2013 I made an online account with Etsy to sell some of my prints, handmade goods, and hand-selected vintage clothing. Every night I would stay up for hours in my garage perfecting my techniques and developing more skills. I had all these ideas, plans & goals written in a book. I brainstormed a name for my brand, something that would permanently fit my style of art. The description had to have a street vibe. Basura Dreams was created.

September 2018, the website Basura Dreams was launched. I know in my heart that the perfect time is now. Although a small beginning, sharing my work with others has been such a thrill. My journey hasn’t been easy, I’m still learning as I go. I’m extremely excited to see what the future holds. To my family and friends who stood by my side, thank you. I love you all.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a self-taught visual artist. Primarily in acrylic paint, oil, and mixed media. Creating art in various forms throughout my life, Always exploring new techniques and styles to evolve in my artistry. I paint on pretty much any found objects: Stretched canvas, wood, clothing, dolls & more. My color pallet is a saturated spectrum that triggers strong opposing sensations of gloom and grunge. I’m very observant to my surroundings, appreciating the substantial amount of inspiration. In the realm of my imagination just about anything flows. I paint as an escape, it grants me freedom of all restrictions. As my art improves as do I. It enables me to express how I’m feeling, in a style that isn’t always easy to put into words.

At times it’s a planned concept and sometimes at the moment. Making many mistakes that end up staying as the missing piece. It’s good to be adventurous & to switch it up. I guess one of my biggest fears in art is being predictable in repetitive patterns. It isn’t so much that I express what I feel is the truth, but I bleed the importance of my soul. Basura Dreams is about glorifying a lifestyle of struggle and pain. A perspective of flaws and error become the main subject of my paintings. We want to love and to be loved relating to identity and perceptions of beauty. We always seem to fall for “Perfection” knowing it is unattainable A FALSE REALITY. The most meaning to be found is love is the love of being as we are. Why blur yourself into one aspiring clone? Don’t lose yourself in a sense of total illusion. Know your purpose, maintain your respect and integrity of the standards you set for yourself.

If we must modify anything about ourselves let’s start with behavior. It’s more attractive! Let it reflect in all that we do and who we are, It is the key to our existence. To live with courage embracing fear and to follow your heart. I strive for all my work to send uplifting responses to the viewer, to learn the beauty of life through art. I have a deep fondness for menacing storytelling, revealing something deep and fragile. Drawing you into a settling surreal world filled with distress with enraptured narratives. Focusing on the emotional reactions we all have but rather hide; insecurities, fear, rejection, depression, violence, and loneliness. A glimpse of vulnerability within beauty and madness. Both arising from the core of our roots.

As a vividly lucid dreamer, my art is influenced by my dreams and nightmares. I’ve started a personal dream journal to observe my unconscious self Through dream interpretation. It has displayed the structure of how I envision my life & my deepest darkest thoughts. I believe I receive visual concepts in my sleep. A distorted exaggeration of my truth, like most of the subjects in my paintings. They aren’t intended to be literal, rather unmasking a hidden message. For example: Blood splats associate with passion, rage, love and the essence of humanity. My signature color is Pink, representing my nurturing femininity & tenderness resembling my heart and spirit as my inner child.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
Building a successful career as a full time or part time artist requires tons of commitment and can be challenging at times. Nevertheless having social media as a tool benefits all artist. With the web, in particular, it makes it possible for creators to communicate with their fan base and collectors. Building relationships and connecting directly, we control our own messages. 20 years ago some of these options weren’t available. In my opinion, it is undeniably easier to pursue your passion, considering the unlimited advantages we have at our fingertips.

Today we all have the opportunity to create a brand for ourselves. You can create and sell from home, sign up for art classes in any city, or you can take them online without any formal training. I truly believe artists can run a profitable business without compromising their artistic and creative integrity. However many artists are overlooked because the focus is on paid employment, rather than the amount of time spent in the workroom or their desire to sell their art. Being an artist is basically being a hustler, we must consistently produce new work. The more you post, the more in demand your art will be. I don’t want to make this sound all corny and magical (lol) because truthfully most of us experience harsh failures. But that plays a major role in our growth to perfecting our craft. The discipline you establish will make you productive and focused to be at our own pace. Times are changing! We’re taking over what’s ours.

I would say one way to encourage all artist to thrive is be open minded. Whether they are formally trained, or self-taught. Removing the unfairly title of being a qualified, experienced artist. Comparatively by their activity in exhibitions, sales, awards, memberships, commissions. Which would tend to disqualify most applicants. Various organizations and art communities seek individuals with a reputation and require suitable credentials. It’s knocking us down! We all deserve a chance. With that being said thank you VoyageLA for creating a community to represent the underdogs.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
The best way is through my social media, and website. Updated content & new projects will be posted. I’m always up for collabs, shows, and events. Let’s build a connection; keep your girl busy.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @basuradreams @des.killz

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in