Art Substitutes as Therapy

By Jenisa Chauyjarernsook

The Mirror
Entertainment Editor

“It made me mature and think about what I want to do in the future. It opened up a lot of doors to me.”


Artist Profile: Gustavo Chavez

January 24, 2017

FEATURE: Artist Gustavo Chavez shares some insight on his personal experiences with art.

He fell in love with art in the tenth grade.

Gustavo Chavez, currently a senior at Van Nuys High School, didn’t know what he wanted to do with his future.

Then he discovered drawing.

During tough times he would use his passion as a way to detach himself from the problems that overwhelmed him.

Drawing was a friend. It helped him cope with his distressed feelings.

Art changed his thinking in beneficial ways. “When I draw, it allows my creativity to flow and focus better in school,” said Chavez. “It made me mature and think about what I want to do in the future. It opened up a lot of doors to me.”

His drawing style consists of dark and mysterious features. In order to create a stronger message in his art, Chavez touches up his work with elaborate calligraphy.

His passion for art translates into his interest in tattooing. Currently Chavez works part-time as a tattoo artist.

“Being surrounded by other artists helps you out because they can criticize you and tell you how to improve,” he said.

He enjoys the benefits that follow his job, such as flexible hours and a high wage—a minimum of $100. He is determined to save up for college with the money earned.

In college, he plans to major in business. At the same time, he is seeking a mentor who could give him hands-on experience.

One of his dreams is to combine business and art by opening an art-themed coffee shop. He was inspired by a visit to a unique coffee shop fused with an art gallery in Long Beach. He hopes to someday establish his own tattoo studio with a friend.

In the future, he wants to help the community by auctioning his art work and donating the money to help the homeless and kids with cancer.

In his free time, Chavez practices new art techniques, then gathers with artist friends to trade and display artwork.

Chavez offers some advice to students who are interested in pursuing similar goals. “Keep pushing because it can get frustrating,” he said.

“Create a group who shares the same passion in art. Some of my friends do digital imaging and tattooing. We all help each other improve. It benefits a lot because it’s easier to learn instead of trying to learn on your own.”

Chavez also suggests to constantly challenge yourself to do better and not stay in your comfort zone, “I had a huge improvement with getting out of my comfort zone. If you stay comfortable, you won’t progress,” said Chavez.“Keep trying and the end results will make you feel good because you worked really hard for it. ”



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