We had the good fortune of connecting with Aiko Baylon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aiko, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Simply put, I pursued an artistic/creative career because I believe that’s what I’m best at. Like many artists, I’ve been drawing ever since I was a small, tiny child, and I easily realized that this is something I should seek a career in. I grew up in Silicon Valley, where technology flourished and STEM careers were actively sought after; and I easily became insecure with my choice to become an illustrator as many of my peers decided to pursue engineering, biology, or computer science. In time, I eventually understood that doing art is where I excel. If I had chosen to be any other occupation/major, I would be, at most, mediocre. Art allows me to be constantly learning while being skilled at what I do.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love using line and painting loosely! Like I’ve mentioned before, choosing an art career came with a lot of insecurities. Although it’s easier said than done, I had to sit myself down and remind myself to say, “I’m good at what I do”. Sure, I may not be the best, but I’m at my best now and I forever want to stay on my toes to further my craft.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh wow, haha. I’m currently based in Northern California, so I hope it’s alright to recommend some places from there! I really enjoy eating breakfast at ButtercuP in Concord, California! I go with a classic eggs benedict (If you want the same thing but a little heavier/richer, I’d recommend their biscuit benedict!) and finishing my breakfast with their bread pudding drizzled with their lovely whiskey sauce. I’d also recommend a Filipino restaurant named Toppings Tree in Santa Clara. I love the sisig (If you’re not familiar, this grilled pork belly with onion, ginger, and jalapenos served on a hot, sizzling platter) with java rice!
If you’re visiting San Francisco and dig art, I’d recommend visiting the Legion of Honor (which sometimes hosts an organ concert!) and SFMOMA! The California Academy of Sciences, although I’ve yet to visit myself, is a great place to visit and learn! I also enjoyed a huge ice cream sundae between my siblings at the Ghirardelli Square!
In downtown San Jose, I love the SpiderMMan milkshake (A KitKat and Ferrero Rocher milkshake! Are you joshing me? Yes!!) from My Milkshake and walking around the Plaza de César Chávez.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There’s lots of people! I’d like to personally give a shoutout to fellow illustrator, classmate, and friend Emily Menendez! I appreciate her and all of our antics together. She motivates me and gives me the right amount of confidence I need. I’d like to really thank my family: my mom and dad, my siblings (Kamille, Kayci, and Ryker), and our dog, Kiwi! My family has always been my first group in support of my career and always keeps me smiling. Thanks to all of my professors, especially Brian Valenzuela and Wendy Emery, who kept me learning even when I couldn’t bring myself to. I’d like to also thank CSULB’s Illustration BFA Class of 2021 for the fun and insightful critiques!