Interview with Collin Salazar

Hi Collin, how are you? Tell us a little about yourself…

Hi, doing great, thanks for having me for the interview! So, my name is
Collin Salazar and I’m emerging contemporary artist based in Los
Angeles, California. I grew up in Hot Springs National Park and was
constantly outdoors surrounding myself with trees and mountains.
Growing up, I was always the calm or chill kid in school, always
observing and questioning the world around me. Since I was young, I
gravitated toward drawing human eyes.

How did it all start for you? Were you one of those kids always
scribbling on notebooks at school?

My creative journey began on paper, doodling on anything I could get
my hands on. I remember times in grade school covering the entire back
page of homework or study guide with weird abstract eyes and designs
in just one period. After finishing college in 2014, I began experimenting
with various watercolor painting techniques and textures to create
abstract portraits. I’ve been developing and honing in on my skills ever
since.

What was the first ‘spark’ for you to pick up a spray can and hit the
streets? Did you start off as a writer then progress to larger more
muralistic pieces?

The first spark came from a music and art festival in San Diego, where I
watched these large scale murals come to live throughout the entire
festival. I remember watching these amazingly talented artists on these
scissor lifts and saying “That looks like the ultimate expression and I
want to take the challenge to work that large!” I had never been a writer
or even touched a spray can before that moment.

Was there a big graffiti/art scene in Colorado or did you feel like moving
to LA was better for you in terms of the scene and creativity wise?

Colorado had a small graffiti/art scene that was slowly growing, but I
realized I wanted to go bigger and immerse myself in the most creative
and diverse hub possibly. Los Angeles was the only choice in my mind.

The pieces of yours that I have seen focus on the human eye but mixed
with a real psychedelic vibe. Where does your artistic inspiration come
from and what first drew you to this style of painting?

Yeah, so all of my work incorporates the human eye into an abstract and
free flowing background. The minimalistic style surrounding the eyes
allows the viewer to focus on the eyes. I believe the eyes alone are one
of the most powerful tools of communication and connection and will
continue to drive my artistic inspiration.

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When working on a wall do you have a plan in mind when you start a
piece? Or do you like to look at the wall and the surroundings and take
inspiration from there?

Well, in the past I’ve done both, planned and just free flow from the
surroundings. Moving forward, I’d love to use a little of both, by having
a particular idea and concept in mind and incorporate the energy and
elements felt while actually painting. If you look at my previous work,
you’ll sometimes notice a secret reflection in the eyes!

What do you find to be the most difficult part of the creative process?
I’ve read other artists speak about the fear of the blank page/canvas, do
you ever get this?

I’ve heard of this too, but I don’t have this fear myself. I do find that it’s
difficult to call a piece “finished”. With my minimal style, I find that I
can always be adding or layering more and more paint or elements.
When is a piece really finished?

We met & spent some time together when you visited Barcelona (on a
strangely cold week, sorry!) last year, how you did you find the city?
Did you enjoy the experience of painting somewhere new and what did
you think of the street art scene here?

To be honest, Barcelona is one of my favorites cities I’ve visited! I didn’t
mind the cold weather that much, it was a nice break from constant
summer in LA haha. It was such a dream painting in such a new and
foreign place. The culture, diversity, and especially street art was
incredible, I had no idea what to expect really. I found that street art was
much more accepted and open in Barcelona than any place I’ve been in
the US, which felt comforting and inspiring to share creations to the city.

Do you have a favorite city or place to paint/show off your work? Is
there a dream city or country or wall even that you’d like to do this?

There’s a ton of cities I’d love to paint in, it’s too difficult to pick just
one favorite haha. Montreal, Vancouver, Miami, London, Dublin, Berlin,
Lisbon, Paris, Israel, Istanbul just to name a few. Also, I’d love to return
home to Arkansas and paint this massive concrete dam someday!

The concrete dam sounds really interesting! Do you like to collaborate with other artists?

Yes, of course. I haven’t done it much, but I’m always open to work with
other artists!

Something I really enjoy is hearing which artists inspired other artists.
Which artists inspired you growing up and who’s work do you really
like just now? And is there any artist you would love to work with?

I’m still discovering insanely talented artist everyday, it’s just a growing
list of artists that inspire me on the daily. When I first started, it was
Agnes Cecile and Lora Zombie, now it’s some of the top mural artists
such as Tristan Eaton, Saturno, Lauren YS, and Nychos. I’d love to work with
any artist/muralist, all collaborations and the way styles fuse is
interesting to me.

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Just to speak about something different for a minute, tell us something
about yourself that maybe not many people would know!

Hmm….well, before diving into being an artist full time, I got a bachelor
degree in Agricultural Sciences focusing on Horticultural Sciences. I
used to be sort of a lab rat, carrying out various experiments on plant
growth patterns and pathological diseases. The science side of my brain
still plays a huge role in my artwork and will continue to.

If you could be anyone or anything for a day who or what would you be?

I used to brew my own craft beer at home and was extremely interested
in the science behind it. That said, I’d love to be a master brewer at a
major craft beer brewery!

Back to the art! Do you have any upcoming shows or projects we should
know about? Are you currently exhibiting your works anywhere?

I’m currently in talks with multiple upcoming mural projects and festival
exhibitions this summer. I hope to have a solo exhibition in San
Francisco at the end of this year.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before you go?

Lastly, I just want to express to any inspiring artist reading this that
anything is possible and don’t hold yourself back from pursing your
passion. Find your artistic path, dive into the art scene, continue to make
art, and live your dream.

Many thanks for your time Collin, all the best with your future artistic
endeavors and I hope to see you soon for some painting and authentic
BBQ!

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