An Interview With Victoria Aragon

Victoria Aragon

Victoria Aragon is a second-generation Mexican-American artist. She was born and raised in California, where she lived until she was ten years old. She then moved to Texas and lived there for another ten years. She graduated from Laguna College of Art + Design, where she got her bachelor’s degree in Animation. She mostly draws characters, fashion, comics, and vintage (such as aesthetics from the 30s to the early 60s) and loves noir, especially the movies from America and Mexico. As most artists do, Aragon started drawing as early as she could pick up a pencil, drawing what she imagined, “Drawing has helped me make friends both in school and online, discover talented artists, and helped me realize what I love to do the most, create characters.”

Graduating in Animation helped her refine her storytelling and world-building, “It helped me flesh out story beats and helped me realize just how important research is.” When asked about whether she believed people should go to school for art or not, she said, “I personally believe it’s really up to the individual. For me, I’m personally happy that I had the opportunity to pursue art past high school. It helped me understand more about the animation pipeline in regards to films and television, while also helping me build connections to other artists. My teacher and fellow peers helped me build my work and my portfolio. However, even though I gained much from going to art college, I know that many don’t have the same opportunities as me. The cost alone can make or break that decision someone can have in receiving higher education in any field regarding the Arts.” She added, “But at the same time, I have seen many great and successful artists who have not gone to art school. Using either their local resources such as the library, local classes, or community college as a way to help their art. Especially with how big the internet has gotten in regards to online resources and classes, art college doesn’t seem as much of a necessity as it was a good couple of years ago.”

Aragon has faced many challenges in her journey through the arts, where she mostly questioned her ability as an artist, “I would have an image in my head but the end result would not be up to my standards and end up scrapping the drawing or not draw for a while.” To combat the way she viewed her art, Aragon had to learn to take breaks, which meant studying what she wanted to put on paper or a canvas. She would look at her Pintrest boards or look in her favorite illustration books to seek inspiration. She would then have to do several concept sketches instead of jumping into the the work without making solid choices. When asked about her successes, Aragon replied, “I don’t really have a lot. I guess the earliest and most memorable one for me was when I was in middle school. We had a bookmark competition, it was the first one even for our school and I won…It wasn’t until I won the year after that again that I thought, ‘Oh…I guess I’m doing something right and improving'”. Her most recent success is how her most recent character design post got a lot of likes on Instagram, “As an artist who was trying to improve their character work, it had made me happy that I was getting better. That my hard work on researching and designing paid off even for a little bit.”

Art has also helped Aragon understand the styles and aesthetics she likes the most, “It helped me understand where artists came from and what inclined them to create the work they did.” This made her question what message they had to say in the world. Art also helped her understand what other individuals identify by, “The communities I grew up in were more on the “average” side, so when I moved to study Animation in Laguna Beach I was introduced to more members of the LGBTQ+ community. [I] only have ever met about a handful of individuals before, and only knowing very few things about that community as a whole.” Through art, Aragon discovered that she liked vintage aesthetics, fashion, and architecture. She grew to appreciate different mediums of art before she became a digital artist.

When asked about which parts she identifies most with as a Latinx person, Aragon stated, “Being a Mexican-American, I can’t really identify to either side entirely. I was born in America, I went to American schools where they taught American history, holidays, and anything that was American. But I was born to a Mexican family, who had family still living in Mexico, grew up visiting those family members in Mexico, grew up in communities that were largely made up of Latinx people, and learned aspects of Mexican history from my family…As a result of these two sides I often find that there’s always going to be people who don’t like me for being too American or too Mexican. Especially growing up in a border town. However, that doesn’t stop me from making art, it actually motivates me to make stories and pieces revolving around topics like these.” She also worries that she’s not a very good Spanish-speaker. “To this day I’m still trying to learn the language so I can talk to family members easier without getting nervous.”

Aragon wants new artists to know that it is important to understand fundamentals. “Practice, practice, practice.” she says. “I know how hard it is to fill a sketchbook, but it’s important to fill a sketchbook of your studies and practices. It also helps to document your improvement from the first page to the last page.” Aragon also states that new artists shouldn’t be afraid to have bad sketching or art days as they are part of the learning process, “Your sketchbook does not have to be perfect, it’s a place where you can lay down your ideas and inspirations.” Aragon mentions to not be afraid of trying new mediums, “I was strictly a digital artist for the longest time before moving out for college. But I wished I had taken the time before that to learn other mediums, as I think it would have helped me learn colors better. Some of my favorites are markers, watercolors, and gouache. I especially love using inks and brush pens…Taking part in challenges like Inktober really helped improve my skills, such as composition and line variation.” Aragon also gives advice for those starting off on digital work, “…there are so many great alternatives to Wacom products…I highly recommend looking at those.”

Currently, Aragon is working on a few personal projects to expand her portfolio. One such project being about a private investigator from Mexico who travels to the City of Angels in the year 1947, “…it’s a story that involves supernatural powers and the bright lights of Hollywood.” Another project Aragon is working on “…involves three girls who defend the streets of downtown Los Angeles from dangers that threaten their neighborhood. As I believe representation matters, I’ve been wanting to create stories that had Latinx leads…”

You can find more information on Aragon and more of her work on her Instagram (@varagon1911), where she posts most of the time. She also has a Twitter, @v_aragon1911, although she doesn’t post there as much. She also has a portfolio website: https://victoriaaragon.wixsite.com/portfolio .

Aragon also helps with her family business called Aragon Prints. You can find their work on Instagram (@aragonprints).

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