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Conversations with Randy Robledo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Randy Robledo.

Randy, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I am a first-generation Mexican-American artist from Santa Barbara, California that currently resides in Los Angeles. I grew up in an artistic household. My father had a passion for music and Make-Up FX. My siblings were also very artistic. I was fortunate to have supportive parents that really nurtured and believed in our interests and passions.

I began drawing as soon as I could pick up a crayon but really began to take it seriously around the age of 12. I would spend hours aimlessly daydreaming and drawing. It was at that age I was introduced to Disney’s Production Designer Peter Ellenshaw, who was famous for painting large realistic backgrounds for films such as ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘Old Yeller’. He gave me a private tour of his home and studio which inspired me at an early age to hone in on my craft and see all the possibilities as an artist. I would take art classes outside of school and create from home. Then at age 16, I met and drew a portrait for Oprah Winfrey which then catapulted me as an artist further. I showcased my work at a gallery for the first time that year and sold original work.

After High School, I decided to pursue my other passion in music. I had played saxophone for 13 years and would sing and write songs. I went on to Musician Institute where I studied Vocal Performance and Recording. In those years, I did vocal studio work and backgrounds. It leads me to share the stage with artists I admired such as Stevie Wonder, John Legend, John Mayer, and Justin Bieber. Ultimately, I decided to dive back into my love for art and I have been pursuing it ever since. Los Angeles is a great city to explore your artistic creativity. I’ve showcased at Monsterpalooza, Selena Fan-Gathering, clubs, bars. I also created Art Shows that tethered my love for art and music called Sounds & Sketches.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I feel like the biggest challenges in being an artist is the constant hustle in this business. You have to really invest and gamble on yourself and push your work out there. I remember there were times I felt completely hopeless and uninspired. I realized I have to learn to be vulnerable and share my work with the world and be open to whatever criticism that may come my way. It’s not gonna be for everyone and that’s okay. Ultimately, you have to come to terms with learning to let go and yet believe in yourself and your vision that whatever you create, you will find a tribe of people that will understand and enjoy what you do. Also, the realization that no one is going to come knocking on your door and hand you the opportunity of your dreams. So you have to really put yourself out there and push work out there constantly. I think it’s sometimes difficult in this day and age with social media.

The pros are that you can reach people from all over the world which is great but one if the cons is that social media is constantly moving and the attention span is short so there’s definitely a balance I’m still trying to learn. Also, staying creative and finding inspiration in times you don’t have any can be hard and something I struggle with but that’s where discipline steps in. It’s not easy, but for me I have tried to find methods to try and keep inspiration whether it’s music, travel, nature, relationships, even Pinterest and making a vision board of things that inspire me. Having a road map of goals is helpful. It helps me uncloud my mind and find focus.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My artwork is mainly portraits. I’m heavily inspired by pop culture whether it’s musicians/fashion/film/political activism. I work mainly in pencil/charcoal. I like to mix mediums with watercolor and acrylics. My work is a mix between meticulous realism and then bringing it to life with sometimes messy splatters of color. I enjoy the contrast in realism and pop art. I’m most known for my Selena portrait and Oprah notoriety but I am most proud of being an artist in the LGBTQ+ community that can use my art and voice to stand up against inequalities, not only for my community but for other injustices in different communities. I am proud to represent Mexican-Americans and grateful to my family which have also inspired the artwork I create today.

Any big plans?
It’s an interesting time to be an artist these days with the Pandemic. I know a lot of people are struggling and trying to figure out their place in this new normal. It has been a challenge but it’s been a great time to create. I’m looking forward to creating art shows once again to showcase the pieces I’ve created during this quarantine when the time allows it. Fortunately, social media has been a great way to stay connected and share work.

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