We recently caught up with artist Michael Trujillo who has caused quite an internet frenzy with his amazing art work and even received over 2 million views on one of his drawings. On top of all his amazing talent, Michael also happens to be a wonderful person who loves to give back to his supporters and make others happy. We recently caught up with him to ask about some of his inspirations growing up, his very first piece of artwork and what he is currently working on. Here’s what he had to say:
When did you first become interested in art?
I first became interested in art while in elementary school. I would get put in time-out a lot (I was a crazy kid!) so I would draw while I sat in the corner. It eased my mind and helped get me through things (even as an 8 year old). I continued at home and my love for art kept growing. Even if I didn’t show anyone what I made, it was something just for me.
Who were some of your influences growing up?
My biggest influence is Disney animator, Glen Keane. He is the talent behind animating iconic characters such as Ariel, Beast, Aladdin, and Pocahontas among others. I was inspired by Disney movies in general, however his characters resonated with me the most. His way of bringing an image to life captivated me and I wanted to draw just like him. As I developed my own style, I took inspiration from other sources other than just art. Music was — and is a big one! Sometimes I have to be in the right mood and mindset to create a piece of art -and music gets me to that place. And there is no one who can do that better than Mariah Carey. With a wide range of music with varying emotions, she is a gold mine of inspiration. And she is now one of my prime art subjects.
What do you remember the most about your first piece of art?
My first piece of art (which I still have) is of an outdoor scene I drew in 2nd grade. It’s very comical to look at, however it is one of my most pure artworks. In it, I have a tree, some grass, it’s sunny and a butterfly is fluttering through. It’s very simple. The funny part is that I drew faces on everything — even the tree! I was an incredibly happy kid and looking back, it’s nice to see that was reflected in my artwork. That happiness is something I try to hold on to, and pass on in my current artworks as well today.
What has been one of your favorite moments/highlights so far with your work?
One of my most memorable highlights with my art was my first viral image. I created a sketch “just a sketch” of 5 divas (Aretha Franklin, Beyonce, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Toni Braxton) re-imagined as the Muses from Disney’s Hercules. I almost didn’t post it because it was so rough looking, but I did anyway. Then 5 minutes after I posted it, my phone was blowing up! For days it was non stop with likes, comments, tags, etc. It was a fun time to experience that and so many opportunities have arose from it. In the end it received over 2 million views and that one image, clearly made my social media what it is today.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment I am taking some time to give back to my supporters and open commissions. I rarely take requests or personal commissions, because I’m focused on my next art show, or creating something for myself. This time around I want to show my appreciation to those who helped propelled me on my journey and create something special for them.
What are your plans for the future?
My plan for the future is to keep creating what I love and not lose sight of that. However I hope to be designing merchandise for Mariah Carey very soon. I can’t speak much on it now, but I have high hopes and I pray it all goes well.
What would be your best piece of advice for aspiring artists?
For people aspiring to become an artist, my advice would be to just do what you want! If it feels good for you to create a piece of art and you enjoy it on your own — without an audience, then that’s all it’s about. That’s a real artist. It’s not about how good you are, the money, or having a career from it; it’s all about creating something from a place inside for yourself. Once you’re comfortable with that, then opportunities will open up. And the biggest reward as an artist is being able to connect with people through your artwork and send a positive message through your creations.
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