Artist Crush || Barbra Araujo

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Meet Barbara Araujo.  We were so thrilled to get to know this environmentalist and talk about how she uses her art for activism.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I lived in Buenos Aires until I was 4, then returned to LA.
I was influenced by art, animated films, fantasy, history, and nature growing up and became passionate about costume history and the macabre as a teenager. I majored in fashion design at Otis College of Art and Design and worked as a fashion designer for 10 years. I was fortunate to get to travel for work all those years and that is what fuelled my love for exploration. I am currently traveling the world with Remote Year, living in a different country each month and immersing myself in other cultures. 

How do you like to start your day?

I like to organise my tasks and prioritise the things I need to do during the week. I constantly feel like I have an endless list of things to do so this helps me feel centred and focused.

What makes you feel the most alive?

This varies depending on where I’m at in life. Right now, it’s definitely traveling and exploring. I made it a mission this year to live my life to the fullest and to not hold back on the experiences I want to have. I’m living as if this is the last chance I have to travel. All of this is feeding my inspiration and motivation for my art immensely. 

What would you like to learn more about?

I would love to learn more about developing sustainable practices in the fashion industry and to learn how to use my skills and experience to create a new future in fashion.

What is one thing you think everyone should do?

I’m not into telling people what to do, but one thing people can do to help our environment is to do their part to recycle and reduce their use of plastics in their daily lives. Most people think the problem is bigger than them and that they can’t make a difference, but if we all contribute we can in fact make a huge impact. For example, bringing your own tote bag when shopping instead of using plastic bags, bringing your own water bottle and refilling it, bringing your own bamboo or metal straw or refusing to use straws altogether, and giving extra thought to things that we use in excess and trying to use them less to decrease the demand for them. We are hurting our planet at a faster rate than ever and we should do our part to undo the damage as much as possible but more importantly to prevent further damage from happening.

How long have you been drawing?

I started drawing when I was 2 years old. My twin sister, Mia, has always been my biggest motivation and inspiration because she always carries a sketchbook around and draws wherever she is. I drew during my entire childhood but stopped during my early teenage years. I resumed drawing when I decided to go to art school and have been drawing ever since. 

You are an artist + environmentalist, when in your art journey did you realise that these two things go together and how do they work together for you?

I started watching documentaries and became increasingly upset with the unethical and polluting practices of the fashion industry. I have always been passionate about nature as it is one of my biggest sources of inspiration and I am a firm believer in human rights. But I felt like a helpless yet willing contributor by turning a blind eye and continuing to work in the industry. So I quit and decided to use fashion illustration to help spread awareness to these issues, and vowed not to return to the industry unless I can work for a company that is willing to do things differently. 

What advice do you have for young artists who are suffering from self-doubt, gremlins or the ‘imposter-syndrome?’

Find your style and what makes your work stand out from the rest. Don’t copy other artists; learn what makes them successful and find out what that means for your work. Keep a sketchbook and use it to draw anything and everything. Experiment, explore, don’t be afraid to make ugly art. No one has to see it but you. Use it as a tool to express yourself, discover your strengths and weaknesses, and develop your visual style. 

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“Do what you love, love what you do.”

I don’t know that this is the best advice I’ve ever been given, but it’s something I try to constantly remember. For many years I worked for a paycheck and didn’t enjoy what I was doing. I was miserable. I’m sure many people can relate. The minute I started doing things I loved outside of work, I felt more fulfilled and became a much happier person. Even if you can’t do what you love for a living, you can still do it as a hobby or side project and it will transform the way you look at your life. 

What are you grateful for today?

I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to travel and for all the amazing people I have met on this journey. Travel has broadened my mind, stimulated my creativity, and filled me with more understanding and compassion toward others. I hope to continue traveling, creating art, and meeting more like-minded people.

All images provided by Barbra Araujo of Headhuntr Studio.

Follow Barbra on Instagram HERE.
See her website HERE.

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