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Check Out Omar Rivas’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Omar Rivas.

Hi Omar, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My story as an artist starts at a very young age. I was as young as one year old when I was holding pencils and drawing happy faces. Growing up, I was always the student drawing during class and lectures. My desks and notes were riddled with sketches and doodles. I just could not stop diverting my attention from what was being taught to drawing the images and ideas from my mind onto a surface.

My father was the one who really sat me down to teach me how to draw different things and how to properly coordinate colors into an illustration. He was in the graffiti scene in South Los Angeles during the 90’s. I would always see him drawing graffiti characters and tags. As I’ve grown older, it has become clear to me now that he was my biggest inspiration to what I enjoy drawing to this day. Character designs, whether it be a caricature of a human, an alien or a personified animal, is what you’ll catch in most of my work.

I really started diving deep into my craft when I moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco for school. I met some amazing friends up there that realized my talent and have been pushing me to pursue it ever since. I am grateful to have met such supportive and motivating people who truly appreciate art as much as I do. We love it so much that we had to create District Productions, a company that hosts art/music events in San Francisco and LA. We lead our business with our hearts because we genuinely love art, music and people. We provide spaces for our community to attend and enjoy the stories that creatives have got to tell through whatever art form they decide. I am lucky to be the artist for the company because it keeps my mind flowing with ideas that transfer into my own work and vice versa.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have done a lot of self-reflection throughout my life and one trend I have noticed in myself is that I stop being creative when I am going through tough times. It becomes hard for me to focus on my passions because I lose motivation and inspiration, two strong driving forces to creativity. It becomes hard for me to sit down and put intention into a piece and so I end up not creating anything that I personally love at all, and that feeling hurts. To be unsatisfied with everything you make as a creative can be heart-breaking.

A lot of artists work differently, whereas they continuously create in the midst of their own struggles and manifest their emotions in their art; I admire that. Some people even argue that their most moving pieces come from times when they are at low points, although I don’t think that’s necessarily true in all cases. I have realized that loving your artwork has a lot to do with loving yourself, having confidence in your talents, giving yourself grace, and allowing mistakes to run rampant because they’re only natural.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I want to give people a mental bath. When you look at an Omar piece, I want you to feel refreshed. Something that is original from my mind to you, as a gift. I like to create depictions of mysticism and magic tied with elements of life that I love. I’m into music, dancing, plants and animals, and the notion of love itself, sex and the human form. I like to create pieces that have the potential to be to fleshed out into a story. Who doesn’t enjoy storytelling? So with that, I have fun pairing what I create visually with a poem or an anecdote to add a verbal component to the entire work. I would hope that with my art and writing, I could create a short experience in the minds of the appreciator, even if it would be the most subtle feeling for one second in their heart. The thought of being able to captivate the mind of a person trips me out, but I like it. I like connecting with others, so it’s something special if we can connect through my art and writing.

I have been working with digital art for the first time in my life this past year and I have been loving every moment of it. I will always be a traditional artist at heart but I can enjoy the new possibilities that come with working digitally. The one thing missing for me when it comes to digital art is tangibility; to be able to look or hold something physical is a different feeling than looking at a screen. Putting my dancing figures, big-cheeked-faces, and poetry onto prints and clothes is the way I am looking to bridge that gap between traditional and digital art.

We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
I am still discovering myself as far as art goes. I have always been all over the place whether it be mediums, subject matter, and style. My favorite artists, both dead and alive, all have their own iconic and consistent style. I have been experimenting a lot digitally since it’s more cost-effective to really figure out the style I want to hone.

I ran into Alfonso Gonzalez Jr., extremely talented painter, at an art show at Tlaloc Studios in LA not too long ago and he gave me some great advice. He told me that I should lay out all my work before me and analyze them to pick up on the patterns I have always had in my pieces. I found it fascinating to hear about artists having subconscious inclinations to include the same elements in most of their art. I found it even more fascinating to actually see them in my own work. I mean it was all there, from the drawings on the corner of my notes to my more elaborate pieces spoke to me of what I have always loved to depict, it was crazy.

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Image Credits:

Skye Bennike Catrina Mendoza Harrison Rich

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