Catalina Villegas – illustrations from Colombia

An interview with the person you've always wanted to become

Catalina Villegas is an illustrator from Colombia. She loves star gazing, clouds, yoga, moving, thinking, connecting, alfalfa sprouts, pasta, tofu, dark chocolate, chihuahuas, silence, loud music, chilly weather, the ocean, speaking her heart out, succulents, lavender, freedom, classic rock, curly hair, and staying barefoot all day long. We love Catalina.

rp_30733-Macaws-by-catalina-villegas.jpg

Catalina Villegas, on your website you tell us that “life has been really good to me and I’ve done some pretty amazing things.” That sounds great, can you give us a few examples?

I’ve always tried to keep a positive outlook on things, and I kind of trained myself to find the good even in the toughest situations. So during my formative years, as an adult, as a professional, a human being, I have come to understand that the random things that we end up doing are what eventually make up your life, personality, and quirks. My parents taught me from an early age to question things and not to be afraid to do that. I was never a shy person (I’m actually a quiet person…but some people mistake it for shyness) and I have always loved challenges and so many things spark my curiosity.

Some of the highlights definitely include photographing jazz legend Wayne Shorter’s home about ten years ago. I was freelancing as a graphic designer and photographer in Miami at the time and this was definitely the coolest gig by far. He’s so talented and as a music lover and musician myself, I deeply respect his work, talent and genius. Can you believe that he writes music just by sitting on his desk, jotting notes down on paper and watching the news? I was in awe when I saw that. People are often curious when they find out that I’m a musician. They question and wonder how so many creative endeavors can be taken on by one person. I just see art and music as the same thing really. It’s all about understanding that intangible order inside the creative process. It works the same way, in my brain, if I’m writing a song with my band or if I’m working on a brief for a client. It’s this wonderful duality that I live in. I create these magical worlds of color and animals and magic and there I am sitting at my desk listening to Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Rush, or Slayer.

I work from home, alone, and the only living thing I have contact with and talk to during the day is my dog. I live with my husband but he’s out working most of the day. I go from this absolute shell of solitude to playing bass and recording with progressive and hard rock bands. That’s another highlight for sure and it feeds of my illustration work as well. They complement each other really well!

The picture of your hometown Medellin, Colombia on your website gives us an impression of how you see the city. Is this representative of your perspective of the world?

The world is a mix of dark and light and it really is up to us to create it and see it the way we want to. I learned this from yoga. What we put out is what we get back in. That’s become my modus operandi in a way.

Medellin-Pattern-Bombing-1024x386

How is that reflected in your work?

I think people perceive a certain positivity from my work. I hope they do! I was born in a country with such a deep social conflict (Colombia) and was raised and lived my entire life in the States, so I had a chance to see it up close and from far away. There’s enough crap going around in the world with the news and people bringing each other down, so that I made it a goal not to participate in that in any way whatsoever.

PAISLEY PEACOCK by Catalina Villegas

PAISLEY PEACOCK by Catalina Villegas

What has been your favorite, most interesting, most peculiar or quaintest assignment so far?

Each assignment is different but what strikes me the most is the diversity of places where work comes from! I mean, here I am, writing to your amazing Photocircle organization in Germany! I’m currently working with a French company on a really beautiful set of temporary tattoos. I haven’t been illustrating for very long. This year has been the culmination of many shifts, both personal and vibrational, and I think many people have felt the same way. There’s a change going on. So I consider myself really lucky to be able to connect with like-minded individuals and companies in other countries, and to do what I love for a living!

You say you’re an “aspiring hula hoop dancer”. Explain yourself please 🙂

There’s this amazing hula hooper called Katie Sunshine and I became OBSESSED with her craft. Remember when we were kids and we would hula hoop and it was all about just keeping the hoop on the waist for a couple of seconds? Katie blew my mind. She dances with it and throws it around and jumps and just does all these graceful and intricate choreographies with a hula hoop! Oh, and there are even LED ones that light up. I bought myself one of those and it’s so much fun. I’m slowly teaching myself and getting there. It’s a good workout for sure! Just be sure to practice outside or in an open space or things can get ugly 🙂

Your next project?

I have several projects in the works. Like I had mentioned, I’m working with a temporary tattoo company in France. I’m in talks with an amazing greeting card company in Australia as well. There’s an interest for handmade art that’s kind of surprising me right now. I think we are slowly shifting back to the rawness and beauty of the pencil and its derivates. Computers compliment it wonderfully in my opinion. This beautiful and strange mix of the paper, pencil, hand and the screen and digital pen. And on a musical note (no pun intended) I’m working on feeding my YouTube channel with brand new bass cover videos. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time! Working on some classic rock covers like Black Sabbath’s War Pigs and Rush’s YYZ.

Check out Catalina’s work in her gallery on Photocircle and read more about her many projects on her website.

IGUANA by Catalina Villegas

IGUANA by Catalina Villegas

PAISLEY ELEPHANT by Catalina Villegas

PAISLEY ELEPHANT by Catalina Villegas

JAGUAR by Catalina Villegas

JAGUAR by Catalina Villegas

PAISLEY TIGER by Catalina Villegas

PAISLEY TIGER by Catalina Villegas