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Meet Vivian Capulong

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vivian Capulong.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Vivian. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I didn’t always draw. Not with a passion at least. Growing up, I would doodle in class or draw tattoos on my friends, but becoming an illustrator was the furthest thing from my mind. I had plans of becoming an engineer after college, but things changed.

Shortly after I graduated, my grandpa and cousin passed away. These two influential people in my life left behind a legacy that embraced their vision, ambition, and artistry. Then they visited me in my dreams. I remember dreams vividly down to the most minute detail. I remember the way their eyes glimmered when they smiled, the warmth of their skin bathing under the sun, and the texture of their hair blowing in the breeze. It’s one thing to tell my dreams, but it’s another thing to show it. So I started to draw portraits, with the goal in mind that I would one day be able to paint my dreams and share it with the world.

Everything changed after that. Because of my creative skills and interests, I switched up my career path from a data analyst to a UX/UI product designer. My boss introduced me to a world of art movements that reshaped my outlook on life. When I traveled for work, I always went to art museums or watched muralists go at it on their masterpiece. It inspired me to channel that same passion into my own artwork.

So I put myself out there. Sharing my portraits on Instagram led me to some great opportunities, such as commissions, making connections with other artists, and even painting my first ever mural in San Francisco. I felt like I was on cloud nine for a minute, but I didn’t want to get too comfortable. And that’s why I moved down to LA. I have plenty of room to learn and grow, so why not learn and grow where the creatives are?

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?
Nope! Not smooth at all. I’m a self-taught illustrator. When I first started, I didn’t have that natural inclination to pick up a pencil and start drawing. I had to start from square one in the basics of drawing a face: how to draw a circle. Like anyone who’s honing their craft, it took a lot of time and discipline. I can’t stress how much trial and error I went through or how many happy hours and weekends I gave up to practice drawing at home. They were, however, necessary. I find joy in looking at the progression in not only my technique but also my artistic style. It makes the struggle worth it.

I also started drawing portraits when I was already an adult. Not having years of artistic experience and studying art in school made me feel a little insecure like I was missing out. And for a while, I doubted and compared myself to other people who had years of experience over me. I’ve always been hard on myself, and I consider myself my biggest critic. This mentality restricted me from putting myself out there in the art community. Eventually, I said “screw it” and had to get over the self-doubt. It’s a tough process, but I’ve been blessed with family and friends who support and guide me through it all.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m an illustrator and by day, a UX/UI product designer. For my artwork, I specialize in portraits of influential figures in my life. I grew up in the Bay Area—surrounded by family, friends, culture, music, and food—lots of my inspiration derives from my nostalgic upbringing. Other times, it’s simply things I see in my dreams. To me, it’s more than a portrait. I’m trying to convey a feeling, an emotion that people can relate to.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
A few years back, I was laid off from a job as a business systems analyst. I remember being so upset because I felt I had nothing left to offer. But with so much free time on my hands, I practiced drawing and progressed over time. Had I never been laid off, I wouldn’t have the opportunities that I earned today.

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