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Rising Stars: Meet Victoria E. Orantes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Victoria E. Orantes.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Though I am still very far from where I would like to be, which is when my paintings pay my bills, I can at least acknowledge that the little girl in me is delighted to know where I presently am. Like everyone else, I colored, scribbled, and doodled because it was second nature to me as a child. But as the years crept in, creating art began to take on the role of hobby – suddenly productivity took precedence. It was not until my mid-twenties that I realized without deliberate dedication, it can be easy to unknowingly relinquish creative expression. Though I always identified myself as an artist, due to many years of accrued numbness and having a faulty understanding of inspiration, I created soulless imagery at inconsistent intervals. It was not until I arrived at a point in my life where I was spiritually damaged and heartbroken that my numbness was shattered and the opportunity to create art with heart presented itself. For that reason, my journey as a professional artist began as recently as 2019.

Roughly a year before the pandemic, I started selling my art on a blanket in the urban ecosystem of Echo Park. Every weekend I would activate my primitive senses to hunt for parking around the busy lake, then with my infamous stubbornness and determination, would walk down the hilly grass with a rolly-cart packed with: a dress form, art prints, handmade jewelry, and a blanket to showcase the art that was finally a reflection of my true self. There was an incredible amount of vulnerability and bravery that went into this decision because I had been told previously that my art was “macabre”, “demonic”, and “would attract the wrong crowd”. With my new sense of self and determination however, I had to find out for myself if these statements were true. To my surprise, my art was well-received, especially by children, despite the dark elements of the paintings. My art started beautiful conversations with strangers, and I discovered my vulnerability was like a warm fire for others to sit with me and share the hurting parts of themselves. Each weekend I would leave Echo Park aglow with all of the genuine openness that was interchanged and initiated over imagery. It was there that I truly realized that whether or not I would make money from my art, what I was doing mattered because it was honest.

During the pandemic, it occurred to me to replace my blanket with my 1966 Volkswagen Beetle and I began a new chapter as an artist. My very first pop-up with my Volkswagen was in 2020 at the Los Feliz Flea at Marshall High School. With my mask on, I debuted my new artistic vision- V.E.O. Visions. But as the pandemic grew more intense, it was not until 2022 that my creative endeavors became public again. So, as I approach my 30s, I plan to continue to unapologetically do the “impractical”, for the very practical reason that it brings me, the little girl in me, and sweet strangers joy.

Alright, 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?
In my opinion, pursuing a passion is never a smooth road, but the consequence of choosing not to take the journey is the loss of a magnificent experience as well as being tormented by the looming question of, “What if?”. My greatest struggles were and continue to be overcoming my inner wars, but with prayer, walks in nature, painting, writing, coffee, and deliberately leaving the comfort zone, I have found these to be the most effective antidotes to keep me treading along.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am proud to be a self-taught oil painter that came up with a clever way to exhibit my art to the public by converting my 1966 Volkswagen Beetle into a mobile boutique. It also brings me contentment to gradually unravel my community engagement ideas; presently, that is through the community canvas on the decklid rack of the Volkswagen. Most people who have contributed to the community canvas have expressed how liberated they feel afterward because before contributing to the community canvas, they had not painted in over 1+ years. Artistically, I think what sets me apart from others is I am not afraid to share my emotions and experiences through painting and poetry. My art is figurative, surrealistic, uses bold colors and often has the unabashed use of my face- my way of rendering accountability to these experiences and emotions. In addition, for each painting, I write poems which are a map to the symbolism of the work. I am grateful to say that the poems have often served as another pathway for people to connect with my work.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
Money is not what motivates me, but it certainly does help to keep funding the creation of art and supplying the Volkswagen with the recklessly expensive gas of today. If anyone wishes to support, please do! I cater to all price points, from $1 to $1,000+. You can also support by sharing V.E.O. Visions content on social media (free), stopping by my next pop-up event to have a wholesome conversation (free), or support by simply being brave enough to chase your passions too, because in doing so you will contribute to uplifting yourself and the people around you (free).

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Ana Cristel, Nathan Gonzalez, Martha Benedict

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