Victoria Villasana is a Mexican artist whose work centers around culture and human connection — and it's so powerful.
Although the Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico native has only been doing her signature embroidered artwork for three years, her razor-sharp themes make it seem like she's been doing this her whole life.
As a Latina artist making bold statements with her work, Villasana admits that her own culture has influenced her art.
She draws a lot of inspiration and passion from her Latin background, but points out that there is a lack of Latinx representation in both the media and art world because it's still rooted in stereotypes. "Latinas are always the house keepers or perhaps the hot girl with no class or brains," she states.
Her pieces stray away from that damaging narrative and profiles empowering and motivational people.
Like the badass woman that she is, she's making all this magic happen while being a mom.
When we asked her how long it took to make one of her creations, her answer was honestly refreshing: "Each piece is different. It depends on the piece, the design, my mood, my emotions, etc. Art doesn't exist in my life like an 8am-5pm type of job. I hyperfocus in and out constantly throughout the day. I'm a mum, so art happens in between my daily life with my son," she said.
Villasana's pieces center around artists, pop culture icons, and activists — visionaries who have shaken up the status quo.
From Frida Kahlo and Angela Davis to zapatistas and everyday women, Villasana highlights figures who have left their mark on the world. "I've always admired true visionaries from throughout history, people who realized their inner power to change things and people who have questioned our humanity," Villasana told Vivala.
Although she stumbled upon yarn and began using it as an experiment, it has become her trademark style to symbolize change in both a literal and figurative sense.
Interestingly enough, she works with material that is traditional but uses it in a modern context. The Latina artist says that the "only certain thing in life is change," which is why she likes that frame of thinking to be translated into her work.
Her creations can be found on walls as well as on the streets; the only consistency is that she allows her work to remain "unfinished," which is why the yarn bleeds outs of her work, causing it to take on new forms no matter what environment it's in.
And she isn't afraid to get political with her artwork either.
"Today, I feel we are lacking good leaders. My art is an invitation to remember these 'visionaries;' musicians, writers, activists, etc. I would like to keep the message of these visionaries in our minds and hearts, and inspire a belief in our own power to change things. I believe we need to empathize with other communities/cultures; this is the only way we can help one another to move forward. It’s not about YOU and THEM, it’s about US. No one is winning when one community is losing."
The chilling street art pieces that Villasana has made about refugees and indigenous Mexicans are the most important to her.
As an artist, she is using her platform to raise awareness on topics some might deem "too controversial" or "uncomfortable" to talk about; for instance, this particular piece shines light on Syrian refugees.
"We cannot forget about the pain and marginalization that a lot of communities are experiencing today," she said.
It's clear that she isn't making art to please the masses, she's making art that evokes feeling.
The 34-year-old artist told Vivala that as long as people feel something when they see her work, she's happy. "As far as I’m concerned, people can feel whatever they like: love, hate, connection, curiosity, disgust." She added, "I will never try to dictate a feeling to my art."
But it looks like the overall reaction to her work has been positive.
She revealed that she is genuinely surprised at the supportive response she's received because she began creating her art out of curiosity, not with a planned mission to be where she's at now.
She's even had pieces commissioned for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.
Talk about making an impact!