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Meet Catalina Vásquez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Catalina Vásquez.

Hi Catalina, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in Medellin, Colombia, a city between the mountains of the Andean Mountain range in South America.

Since I was little, I always loved drawing, painting and everything related to the arts. I grew up watching music videos from the 2000s and I remember a lot that at that time the animation of the Daft Punk album Interstella was very trending among TV channels, as well as Gorillaz´s videoclips. I loved coming home from school and sitting down to draw the characters I saw in those videos on my TV screen.

The hours flew by and I was captivated drawing in my notebook while listening to music.

After that, when I was finishing school, I decided to take a completely different path, moving away from drawing and focusing on a career in the area of ​​communication.

I decided to try a different thing, hoping for getting a good job after I graduated, because at the time, I thought was that given the unstable economic condition of my family I was not meant to be an artist.

But I really enjoyed my time at university. I learned to analyze texts, to write essays, scripts, I loved to watch film and to start thinking more in moving image.

Also, I discovered another of my passions: documentary films, so I worked a lot during those years doing anthropology and history research for those class projects. I loved the experience and I was really learning things that not only fueled my intellectual interest, but also gave me the basis to argue and discuss on different topics.

I started illustrating around 10 years ago while I was about to finish university, and ended up drawing as a way to express my thoughts and feelings.

Storytelling has always been an important component in my work, so from the beginning, I enjoyed writing comics about daily life and the things I was experiencing at the moment.

After this first approach and discovery of how I could move between disciplines and ways of creating, I illustrated my first picture book in 2015. Called Manual Para Cazar una Idea (Manual to Hunt an Idea) in Colombia. So I began to work in the publishing industry. More books came after that: A Éstoria do Sol E do Rinoceronte (Portugal) and The Sky´s Animals (Colombia).

I also have directed several short films about personal stories from my own experiences and my family. Titles include: Recycling Memories (2010) Islands (2014) and Cárcel (2016).

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
During my teens and college years, it never crossed my mind that I was going to end up drawing for a living. I started working when I was 19 years old doing different types of work, from supermarket promoter, to assistant in a local radio station, photographer and video maker for cultural projects and NGOs among other activities.

When I started drawing again by the end of college, I had quite limited free time due to office work and was usually only available in the evenings for drawing.

So I would sit down at 8-9 pm most days while I found better financial stability so I could quit my job and pursue my dream of being a freelance illustrator.

Over time, I became known in the medium, and was able to achieve greater visibility and recognition, which has led me to develop a career in the creative industry and to work with international brands.

In the present, I´m focused on giving myself the time to focus more on my personal projects and trying to have a healthy balance with time and work.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
In the present, I split my time into personal projects and I work as illustrator and content creator for Reserve,a fintech US company. that focuses on cryptocurrencies,web3 and money exchange for countries with high inflation across South America.

Currently, I´m developing the visual concept of the project “metaverse”, so right now I´m learning and diving in my first steps in the NFT world.

This work has allowed me to discover a new horizon and ways of creation in my career as a digital artist.

I think I´m always known for using really bright colors in my work, and I love to create color palettes and to combine them with shapes, and texture to express emotion.

The thing that I am most proud of about me right now, is the fact of seeing my life in retrospect and realizing how much I have learned and evolved in my creative journey not only as an artist, but also as a human being. Art and storytelling have been a key tool in my life to develop my own voice and to ask questions about the experience and the world that surrounds me.

We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
A lot of people have always thought that I’ve been a good drawer forever, but the fact is that when I took up drawing again in my mid-twenties, I practically felt like I didn’t know how to draw anymore, after having stopped drawing for so many years since I was in high school.

So I had to learn again, be humble and patient with the idea that getting it right was going to take a while.

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Catalina Vásquez

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