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Meet Erik Aguado of MadeByPessimism in Pico Rivera

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erik Aguado.

Erik, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My main focus is in photography. I love film and have a degree in it, but my passion is mainly photo. I guess if I had to pinpoint what got me into it would have to be a variety of things. I would say influence from those around me was what introduced me to it. Started in 2014 in senior year of high school where I had a cousin and homies who had cameras and I would ask to borrow them for a few minutes. Shooting and later seeing how crisp and clean photos came out was what led me to buy my first camera. I didn’t come from any art background by any means so this was really my only and first form of introduction into this world. From there, I was trash at skating so I would stick to recording small little lines of my homies Vic and Roger and would go home and piece them together. This is where my intro to visuals arts was created.

From this point on, Rap albums, skate photography, galleries, and monochromatic advertisements in particular was what really vice gripped my attention to photography. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) album cover was just so dope to me and seeing how you can create an environment and/ or capture an iconic moment that has the potential to go down in history had my mind racing. Another form of visual art I really enjoy doing is stop motion. This is where you can have as much fun and get as creative as you want. Complete control of what you are creating.

Fast forward six years, and I am still doing the thing I love. My main points of emphasis are rundown street environments, nature, and clothing (to keep it vague). At my current job, I am grateful to be in a position that has me doing both photo/ video as a day job and being able to come home and still create personal projects for where I truly want to get too.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I haven’t had any real hardcore obstacles come up as far as this is related, but I guess I can touch on a personal challenge. I’m sure everyone who has viewed their art as a potential means of living off has gone through a similar challenge as mine in which it is not being viewed as a genuine career path and all the judgment and doubt that comes with it from those close to you. I totally understand where this comes from and think it is a valid point to have. Although there isn’t as much opportunity as there is for paths, it does not make it impossible or a delusional decision to want to do so. I believe that if you put in the work and are willing to go above what is required, things will eventually fall in your favor and you will come out the other end. I would much rather compromise a certain lavish lifestyle so in return I can live a life of purpose which I hold value in and do something that is not harming anyone or degrading to myself.

Another challenge would be knowing that there is always someone better than you out there. This is always something running through my head when seeing the amazing works of others. It is a challenge, but I ground myself by always knowing that there is a specific lane and audience for each and every artist out there no matter what they create.

Please tell us about MadeByPessimism.
I specialize in street, nature, and streetwear clothing photography. Brands I love and study are Born X Raised, FACT, and Stüssy. I really enjoy photographing rundown and trashed places cause there is so much texture in it with the graffiti, cracked and crumbling walls. I feel like it hits the sense of touch, which seems virtually impossible to do with photography. The nature aspect is sort of the yin and yang to the street. I enjoy getting away from the urban setting and showing what else is out there in the world for the audience that knows me for my other work; and vice versa. Although it’s difficult to do both of these things and trying to maintain staying on brand with a specific look and niche, I feel that’s something I like introducing and making normal. All artists are great at what they do along with other fields and avenues, so it’s limiting if you put them in a box. As far as what sets me apart, then I guess the whole duality of taking on different focuses in regards to the subject of the photo. My way of presenting photos is a form of dialogue and almost a journal entry of how I got the shot and some random commentary with some humor in it. I love to laugh and anyone who knows me knows I always am, so keeping that form of genuineness and authenticity is important to me. And lastly, this is nothing innovative but I like to remove the “blues” from the sky and keep it gray with an overall warm and gold tint.

Overall I am just most proud of the fact that I have even the smallest audience. Like I genuinely love the work I put out and knowing there is someone else out there who finds it nice as well is just a good feeling. A goal of mine is to have influenced someone to get into photography or any other form of art or lifestyle change for the better. Just knowing that whatever it is I’m doing is making an impact even if it is minimal. Genuinely just want to give back to the community.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have taken EVERY opportunity thrown my way whether it was big or small. I can reflect on many instances where I said no to opportunities out of being scared to fail or unpreparedness. The reality is you will never truly be completely ready for anything in life, just a matter of doing and learning as you go.

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Instagram: @madebypessimism

Image Credit:
Personal Photo – taken by Orlando Morfin

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