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Check out Alicia Espinoza-Castro’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alicia Espinoza-Castro.

Alicia, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I am first generation, Phoenix born and raised and the oldest of three girls. My parents moved here from Sinaloa, Mexico a year before I was born. My dad is a man of many talents but more importantly, he’s a musician who plays accordion and sings, and my mom is a seamstress, which according to some is a lost art. They both were self-taught in their artistic craft, and I know that is one of the reasons why my sisters and I all have unique creative skills. That knack of learning by eye was handed down to us.

According to my parents, I had my nose stuck in notebooks drawing since I was about three so I had creativity in my veins since. One of the first things I drew was a cockroach. We started out very poor in the states, so I’m guessing our old house had them everywhere, and I just noticed them. Call it a still life, ha!

Obviously, I was a very weird kid growing up. I went to five different elementary schools but when I reached 4th grade, I was the art teacher’s favorite, and she taught me for three years. My memories during those times were reading a lot of books and manga and watched tons of cartoons, Disney movies, and anime. So I would sit in front of the tv and draw my favorite characters, sometimes even before school started, I purposely woke up early to draw.

In middle school, I was selected for a special art program and even won awards for my childhood creations. I did teach myself most of what I know, but art theory and art history were learned in the classroom. I was always eager to learn new things and new techniques and practiced in different types of media.

High school art class was amazing but I was only able to take it sophomore year. When I was 16, we moved to Mexico to start our new chapter, and it changed my life. As badly as I wanted to come home to the desert, it really did shape me into the person I am today.

I moved back to the states when I was 18 after getting my GED to attend ASU for a BFA degree but ended up dropping out due to financial problems. But I plan on returning to school this upcoming fall. I married my husband Rick on Halloween night 2014, and he continues to be my biggest motivator to continue a career as an artist. And the most beautiful piece of art I ever created was our daughter who came to us the following October.

One thing was certain, I was always attracted to art. It was my very first love.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do? Why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I am mainly an ink and watercolor artist. I do draw in graphite and charcoal as well, but there’s something about black ink that just always called to me. Just the darkness of it and because I am an artist who uses very macabre, occult, and scary things as inspiration – the end result is satisfying. I practice eclectic witchcraft so that is the main inspiration for my work lately. I love horror movies, urban legends, and ghost stories. Love making cute things ugly and creepy, while still maintaining their cuteness. Blame it on the duality of being a Gemini. There’s my cutesy side and my very dark, goth side and you can see it in my artwork. Recently I started a comic diary on Instagram. So digital work is something very new I’m experimenting with. My husband motivated me last year to finally purchase an iPad Pro with an apple pencil using Procreate. I’m currently working on getting our third bedroom turned into a studio so I can start painting with acrylics.

During my teenage years, I used art as a form of therapy alongside my favorite bands like My Chemical Romance and The Beatles, to name a few. I had horrible depression and anxiety I couldn’t control. I was bullied a lot by the girls in my schools, surrounded by stupid drama and just all the basic crap that you feel growing up. Drawing was my form of escape, my way of blocking out the madness and getting through the sad moments. So art for me, saved my life because there was always that negative voice in back of my head telling me I was worthless. I was very insecure with my work growing up even though people would tell me they loved it and that it was good.

Fast forward to 26 year old me, I’m a very happy artist who creates because it’s what she loves to do. I want to be able to make a living out of it so I’m not on a career path that doesn’t satisfy me. And with the following I’ve gathered on social media and amazing support from everyone who has commissioned from me, I can see it happening.
If I can make someone smile when they see my work, I win. So moral of the story is, always fight for your dreams because that voice in the back of your head is a liar.

What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
It may be odd, but to me success is as simple as having someone hang my work in their home. I feel like most people want the fame or the Instagram followers but for me its that. Someone I’ve never met who love a piece I created enough to purchase and hang it in their own personal space means the world to me. People buy prints or the original piece and send me the photos of how they present it and it puts a huge smile on my face. So if I continue creating I can only imagine how it’ll be in the future. Because I’d love to even have my own solo show in an art gallery somewhere. We’ll see.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I post all my work on my Instagram @aliciabrujita and I do have a bigcartel shop. I try to do shows whenever I’m scouted and approached. Last October, I left my regular paying job to pursue my full-time career in the arts and thanks to my amazing supportive husband Rick, I can. I’m currently working towards opening my Patreon so people can sign up and support while getting all these cool little benefits for being part of my crew. I call them the Brujitas Club. So shoutout to them because they really are the reason I can do what I do. That should open up soon, but for now I have a Ko-Fi account and my shop.

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Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Perla

    March 19, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    I’m so proud of her.

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