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Meet Tina Chavez of Tinalc.Art

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Chavez.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve always loved drawing, but when I moved to Los Angeles in 2004 from a small town in New Mexico, my life was a whirlwind, and in the process of trying to get my bearings in a new city, I found that I was drawing less and less.

In 2010, although life was less hectic, it had been YEARS since I had drawn anything. I decided to try a sketch and it was terrible… I mean, like, REALLY bad.

The desire to improve became borderline obsessive. I was constantly sketching, watching tutorials on YouTube and reading books about Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet and the time and dedication they put into their art. I started copying the old masters like Sargent and Degas.

About a year into my rekindled love affair with art, I signed up for my first-ever workshop and that’s when I realized that art was no longer just a “hobby” for me. Art was now my passion and my purpose.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
One of my biggest struggles is to not constantly compare myself to other artists on social media. There is always someone who has WAY more followers and is getting WAY more likes than me and sometimes it’s really hard to not come to the conclusion that it must just be because I suck. Not allowing those feelings of self-doubt to completely kill the desire to create is something that I struggle with more often than I’d like to admit.

Comparing myself to others has also made it much harder for me to find my voice as an artist. Seeing what others are doing and all the likes they get and then seeing what I’m doing and the likes I’m NOT getting, sometimes makes me want to change my style, but I have to constantly remind myself that I’m not doing art for the likes, I’m doing it because I love it.

Please tell us more about your art.
I’m known mostly for my portraits. I love doing portraits because you can tell someone’s life story in one portrait or bring awareness to entire movements with a single portrait.

I’ve recently done portraits of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery to show my support for the BLM movement and bring awareness to police brutality. I drew Greta Thunberg to bring more attention to global warming and the current climate crisis.

I also love that I can use my art to give back to the community. I recently completed two commissions and donated 100% of those sales to the LA County Regional Food Bank. I’m also donating 20% of all of my sales on my Threadless shop to the LA County Food Bank right now!

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I was invited to be in a group show that featured pieces by Shepard Fairey, Ben Eine, Drew Merritt and tons of other artists that I look up to and respect. Seeing my art hanging in the same room as some of the most well-known artists of my generation was easily one of the proudest moments in my career! And the fact that my piece sold was an added bonus to an already amazing experience!

I also had the honor of doing the cover art for Wild the Coyote and Ryan Hahn and the Believers which is pretty rad!

And most recently, the chef and owner of Kali, a Michelin star restaurant in LA, asked me to draw the chile pepper for their new hot sauce label. So exciting!

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