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Life and Work with Susie Villalpando

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susie Villalpando.

Susie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Art has always been my favorite subject. I enjoyed drawing and coloring in my coloring books. Growing up, I knew I wanted to pursue art as a career. Fast forward to senior year in high school. A career counselor came to register us into college. When asked what major I wanted to choose, I immediately said art. She proceeds to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to find a good job and that artists don’t make money. She asked me to choose something else. I went blank because my heart was set on Art. I felt pressured and chose something else on the spot. That moment haunted me for the rest of my life. I can’t believe I allowed a complete stranger influence such an important life decision. After spending my entire adult life behind a cubicle, I came to a realization: I must pursue my passion! I took a few jewelry making classes around town, but my life changed forever when I enrolled in Introduction to Metalsmithing class at El Camino College. I was in love! There’s nothing more satisfying to me than the sound of turning on that torch and transforming a flat sheet of metal into a beautiful piece of wearable art!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I feel like art isn’t taken seriously as a career choice. I cannot understand that misconception! My advice to aspiring artists is to pursue your passion, but follow through with it! You will encounter a lot of pushback, oftentimes from loved ones, but take your art seriously. Find jobs related to your preferred field that will help you grow your skills and build up enough experience to where you can get paid to do what you love and, ultimately, be your own boss.

What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
My handmade jewelry line revolves around natural stones. I come across beautiful stones that inspire my work. I am amazed at the beauty that comes from our Earth! I am in awe and could stare at stones for hours! I like to make stones the centerpiece of my jewelry. I keep my settings pretty minimal to let the stones bask in their rightful spotlight. I make every single piece with lots of love.

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Image Credit:
Susie Villalpando

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