We had the good fortune of connecting with Brenda Barrios and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brenda, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I chose to be an Artists because I always enjoyed the arts and making Art. I’ve always found myself making Art or involving myself in a creative project. Art is what truly makes me happy, and it makes me feel alive. I love Art. When I got diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, I was lying in the hospital bed thinking this was it. I do Art even when I don’t feel well. Laying in the hospital for six days, I had the realization that I have only one life and should do what makes me happy. So I decided to proceed with Art as my career. Being first-gen with learning and now also physical disability, going to University for Art is not easy. But I always remembered that Art made me feel alive. I love making Art to make people feel, smile, and think. I make Art for myself and for the people.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The majority of my art is about my life with chronic illness and social justice issues. What sets me apart from others is that I believe that we all have something to offer. As artists and people, we are all distinctive, so simply being ourselves and being authentic is very special. What I am most proud of is never giving up on my dreams. I love art despite my struggles with my chronic illness and mental health; it is hard for me. But I manage to overcome it; I live for art. I am proud of that. I am also very proud of making art my career. Going to school for art is not easy. Currently going to school at UCLA for art. I am a first-gen with a disability art student. I always feel like I don’t belong in the classrooms, but I remember working so hard to be here. That’s something that I am proud of. I learned that there will be so many struggles in life but never give up; keep on shining even if you are the only one holding the light. I want the world to know that art is my life, and I wouldn’t be here without it. I draw when I am sick, tired, happy, sad. Everything I do, I make with love and hope to bring awareness and joy.
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?
I would take them to a museum or the botanical garden Huntington Library, or a place where you could see art anywhere in Los Angeles really. We will eat great healthy food because I can’t eat many things because of my illness. I would definitely take them to Wild Living Foods in downtown Los Angeles. It is a plant-based restaurant that’s so good and makes my tummy feel good. I would also take them to visit a plant store named Latinx With Plants and buy them a plant that they could enjoy and take home. I love plants. The final thing I would do is end the night with a sweet tea.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Starting my art career in the City of “Pasadena,” I wanted to help my community and youth. Two of the organizations that have been a part of the beginning of my Art career. Light Bringer Project is a non-profit organization that gave many opportunities to work as Artist in Pasadena, from Pasadena History Museum to Artist talks in Pasadena high school. Another Organization that gave me a chance to create art in my Community is DAY One Organization which helps the community advancing public help, empowering youth, and igniting change. Finally, I want to shout out to another organization that has helped me have opportunities as an Artist this year, Amplifier art, which promotes social change and gives artists a voice.
Other: Instagram: @bbbarrios
The first picture of me with the drawing pad with a laptop next to me was an action picture taken by me for a project that I am currently working on right now for Amplifier art. ( picture by Brenda Barrios for a current project with Amplifier Art) All the other pictures are taken by me.