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Meet Javiera Estrada in Culver City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Javiera Estrada.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Javiera. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in Acapulco, Mexico where I grew up until the age of eight. My American mother moved the family back to the states where we hopped a skipped around the east coast until we finally settled in Atlanta, Georgia. It was here, in the humid air amongst the canopy of trees, where I discovered my love for photography. Shortly after, at the age of 16, I was gifted by my aunt, her wonderful collection of beautiful lenses and my first Nikon film camera. This lead to many outdoor shooting adventures along with a makeshift bedroom studio where I would take portraits of my friends.

In addition, my creative approach is also heavily influenced by my early training in dance, martial arts, classical piano, and violin. Photography is my main medium but I consider myself more of an artist, as I like to draw from the plethora of artistic expressions which I explored during my youth.

In 2009, I decided to formally study photography at Santa Monica College, one of the top photography programs in the country, where I refined my technical and artistic skills. It was an amazing experience and I am still close with my professors. It was there that I founded a photography collective called CATHEXIS. Together, we produced multiple group shows around L.A and created a platform to show our work with the community. This eventually catapulted me into other gallery shows and eventually my own solo shows, alongside with the acquisition of multiple art reps around the country. My work has been exhibited in galleries in the United States, Europe, and Asia. In addition, my work is part of private and corporate collections internationally.

However, this was after many years of schlepping my art all over town to every show, designer, and potential art space, it was a long time until I finally got to a place where I was able to discern where and how to show my work. (They also pick up the work now, so my schlepping days are over). I truly paid my dues in regards to hustling my art around and have deep respect for anyone who’s crazy and passionate enough to follow this wayward but wonderful path of the artist. As corny as this sounds, I feel very blessed to have the luxury of being an artist. It isn’t for everyone but I love it and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

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 don’t think any road that is worth traveling is ever smooth. It’s through the obstacles and challenges where we expand and grow as humans and as artists. There were many barriers to becoming the artist I am today.

One example was my desire to “do it all”. Fresh out of school, I tried everything from weddings, portraits, nudes, fine art, product and fashion photography. In effect, I became a jack of all trades, but a master of none. This was detrimental to advancing in my career. Hence, I decided to pursue my first passion, art. There were times when I had to borrow money in order to survive and consequently piled up credit card debt. Regardless I persevered and was determined to put all my eggs in this basket because I really had no other choice. If you’re an artist, you have to create. It’s a form of therapy that keeps the creative mind sane.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I’m a fine art photographer, however, unlike most traditional artists, my bodies of work are all quite varied and unique from each other. I don’t like being pigeonholed into one medium, style or color palette. I think it’s important to follow the flow of inspiration, even if it takes you down unfamiliar territory. The element that links all my work together is the ongoing theme of exploring the subconscious mind and the world of dreams. It is the latter that connects the gap between a black and white film nude and a colorful digital abstract.

I’ve also had to integrate social media into my business and I’m always looking for new mediums to explore. Recently, I’ve started collaborating with PicsArt. I’ve been doing challenges with the users and it’s interesting to look at the thousands of submissions from artists from all over the world.

What were you like growing up?
The person I am today is not that different from the exuberant child I was growing up. I was full of energy, constantly getting my hands into different creative projects and also into trouble. My impulsive need to create started at a young age. Once an idea was planted in my mind, there was no stopping me from taking immediate action. This lead to many crazy messes, including flooding my whole house after trying to fill up the floaty pool indoors, painting my lips with nail polish, the destruction of many plates just to hear the beautiful sound of broken glass, and many more shenanigans.

Since I can remember, I always wanted to be an artist. Creativity is something that comes naturally to me, which led to the exploration and study of music, dance, and photography. I loved everything and anything that had to do with the arts. In addition, I was a voracious reader and couldn’t put a book down until I was either finished or falling asleep trying to finish. Determined, passionate, and independent, I was a handful for my mother, to say the least.

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All art courtesy of the artist.

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