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Meet Christian Aguilar of Mantis Arte Collective in Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christian Aguilar.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Christian. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Born and raised in Orange County, Ca. Ever since I was little I knew I wanted to be an artist. Ever since I can remember I’ve been drawing all my life. I never took it seriously until I was 22 years old. That is when I began to dedicate my life to my work.

I realized that what I was doing was not for me. I had been forcing myself to believe my passions lied elsewhere just because I thought it would be something cool to do.
I dropped out of college and I went back to making art and realized this was my passion and I was naturally born to do this.

My main occupation is Assistant Art Director in Huntington Beach, Ca. I am a Graphic Designer for a living. But really I am a painter and I work where and when I can. I wasn’t blessed with a lot of money or with connection already made for me but I do what I can with what I have and I work my ass off to fulfill what I want.

The only outlet I use to share is Instagram. My instagram is @the_sundance__kid. Recently I became a part of @mantis.artecollective and I’ve been getting more exposure through that source.

I’ve never really had any formal training besides one semester in junior college I took a Life Drawing class, other than that I have learned everything I know on my own. I’ve learned by watching what others do and studying my favorite artists.

Since I began taking it serious I slowly progressed professed from one medium to another. I began using charcoal that came from my life drawing class. After that I realized I needed to progress my line so for two years straight I used nothing but ink. I did that so I would force myself not to really focus on each line because you obviously cannot erase ink.

After that I began using pastels. That’s when I really started using color. To know what colors to use I realized just come to me naturally. I was always so afraid to use colors yet I love them so much. Then of course after a while of playing with pastels I finally progressed to oil. Which is my main medium now. I love it so much.

I steal where I can to create my own work of art where I am Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I want to show people how I see the world and how my mind works.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I really hope I could tell you it has been easy but it’s been hard and continues to be hard. It’s not easy when you you’re not born with money. I’ve worked hard for what I have and I continue. What drives me forward is my work and of course my beautiful girlfriend whom I love so very much. Although she knows I’ll always love painting more. I love her more for that the fact that she loves that too.

I’ve mostly worked in warehouses all my life to get me through school and to pay for my expenses. It’s been hard finding a good steady job, but now I feel I found I’ve found one. I’ve been unemployed at times and I don’t always have the money for material but I do and I’ve done my best with what I have.

I wish I had a studio to work in but I could never afford the rent. I find space to work in at home where I can but I really crave having my own space where I can get in my zone.

I barley have enough to get me by. But I get by.

In regards to social media and getting my work out to the public it’s been tough too (nervous laugh***). I’ve found out it’s very hard to get attention from galleries, curators, collectors, etc. if you do not already “know someone”.

Recently I’ve joined the “Mantis Arte Collective”. The agency was recently founded by Jennifer McMahon. She is just as passionate in her pursuit to help artists as I am with painting. She is my agent and I am happy to be a part of it because I can see real potential in her and in the collective.

Recently that is where I am at.

Please tell us about Mantis Arte Collective.
As a painter I stay true to myself. I want to always produce original works, each painting being a new challenge I set out for myself. Inspiration comes to me in everything, I steal details and techniques deconstructing them and reforming them into my own vision.

I do not cheat myself for attention. I see others rendering celebrities (for example) to get more traffic but I feel that people only like those works because of who’s rendered not because they like the artist’s actual work. To me that’s cheating and if I ever did that, I would disgust myself.

I am always intentional with the symbolism in my paintings. I want to tell a story and show people how I’m feeling, so they in turn can relate to me. Everything I paint means something to me, I never make up random meaning after the fact. I am conveying a clear message, I do not leave my work open for interpretation but open to response. Even the colors carry significance aside from symbolizing emotions. I don’t do the whole “let’s see where it takes me” way of painting. I want to explore and symbolize universal concepts that are timeless. I do not attach myself to current events and I will not use my paintings to promote another’s agenda even if it aligns with my views, my art is my own and to view my work through a political lense would limit the potential of artistic excellence.

To me, paintings with meaning and purpose have soul.

I am most proud of the fact that again, I am true to myself and I consider myself a True Artist. I want the people to like me for who I am, not because I paint like others or because I paint what’s “trending” and “sells”. I don’t subjugate myself to what others say is good and sells. I am myself.

My goal is to be able to live off my work. Recently you can only purchase my work through Mantis Arte Collective. The Collective is focused on building an international platform for artists to create and gain independent income from their work. Exactly what I want for myself.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I do not regret anything because I am who I am through my experiences. On the contrary though, I will say this, the only thing I regret is not having been serious about my art since the beginning of my adolescence. To see where I am now sometimes I do think about where I would be ‘artistically’ now if I would have started sooner.

Contact Info:

  • Address: Westminster, CA
  • Email: Personal: caguilar092190@gmail Agency:
  • Instagram: Artist: @the_sundance__kid Agency: @mantis.artecollective

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.

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