Victoria is first and foremost, an artist. Her passion for photography & fashion fuel her brilliantly creative platform, she calls, Visual Vitaliti.
vīˈtalədē/ noun: The state of being strong and active; energy.
Victoria may have stamped her unique twist on the spelling, but the word’s meaning, boldly stands. RLR sat down with the inspirational artist, style blogger, photographer (and college student!) herself to find out how she does it all.
RLR: How did your dream of becoming an artist start?
My dream to really pursue a career in the creative industry started with a Nikon in my hand.
I’ve always had a passion for art and fashion, but early on I had no clue where that would lead me to, or where that would begin since there were so many stigmas on the creative field.
Once I started taking photography seriously, it led to everything I do now in more of a happy accident kind of way-Graphic design led me to create my style blog.
RLR: Where and/or how do you find inspiration?
Everywhere and anything that has a strong visual content or good design! Fashion magazines serve as a great source of inspiration, even postcards, packaging, storefronts, murals, food.
The world throws inspiration at my face on the daily, but I also use the world of technology and social media (Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram) as a creative outlet to get inspired.
Like most, I spend an unhealthy amount of time on my phone so I try to be productive and use some of that time to figure out where my next post will lead, or what my next photography/graphic design project should tackle. There are times where I come up with new ideas just by seeing what other artists are doing.
RLR: What is one of the biggest challenges/obstacles you’ve had to overcome and how did you find the strength and persistence to do so?
I don’t talk about this a lot and often keep my story to myself because I never want people to feel pity for me. We also still live in a time where the stigma on immigrants can be very negative. I was born in Guatemala and my family moved to the U.S. in 2002 for more opportunities for better education and a better life.
Our continued journey to citizenship has been anything but easy. When my senior year of high school came around and I realized I couldn’t apply to get financial aid, my heart broke. I was extremely stressed and upset.
I was accepted to all of the colleges I applied to, received amazing financial packages, but because of my citizenship status, I had to turn down.
This is what millions of students face every year and that itself is enough to make me upset, because in my opinion, that’s unfair to their dreams and the progress of a nation.
Out of high school, Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) and Concordia in NY were my dream schools. That didn’t happen for me.
As hard as it was for me to understand my situation while everyone else around me had the chance to pick and chose where they wanted to go, it just wasn’t meant to be for me. I toughed it out and decided to go to MCTC, where I just completed two graphic design certifications and my Associates Degree in the Visual Arts.
Thankfully, I received the Village Scholars Scholarship to help me pay for my education thus far and the rest I am able to pay out of pocket thanks to my part time jobs.
Looking back, I wouldn’t change my decision for the world. If you know me, you understand that education is extremely important to me and I wasn’t going to let the issues of a broken immigration system and things completely out of my control throw all of my dreams out the window.
I had to find a way to make it happen. I have no clue where I found the strength to do it, but I did and I figured it out (with amazing help along the way) one step at a time.
Although it has been a long road to the “American dream” for my family; Today, I can say I am the first person in my family to have a college degree and even though that’s enough validation there’s much more I want to accomplish.
A good outfit is like a walking masterpiece in the making, and that can be said for many things in life as long as you keep working hard for it.
RLR: Do you have a personal mission statement?
I don’t have a personal mission statement, but there is something that helps push my way through anything I do; my strong belief that art and fashion are not that different from one another. Thus, making it easier for me to incorporate the two in my life. I really can and love to do it all.
RLR: What do you hope to accomplish and/or work towards in the next 3-5 years?
Finalizing my bachelors degree is at the top of the list for my 5 year plan. I just finished my Associates in Visual Arts at MCTC along with two certificates in graphic design so many people have brought up that maybe I don’t need to finish since I have experience and can get work done, but I truly believe that education is key to success and to live a good life in general.
As a first generation college student, obtaining my bachelors degree will be as much for myself as it will be for my family. I also look forward to taking my personal career and passion for photography and fashion to the next level.
I’d love to get an internship at a local firm or agency and from that possibly land a long-term gig.
RLR: What is your greatest dream?
My greatest dream would be to someday work as a creative director somewhere, and get to travel a lot.
RLR: Favorite quote/artist?
“Give, even if you only have a little” By Buddha
Alphonse Mucha, his work is so exquisite and detailed it blows my mind.
RLR: What advice would you give other young artist with similar dreams and aspirations?
1) Network Fearlessly. I know it can be hard to go up and introduce yourself to someone you don’t know and try to start a conversation, but it’s crucial that you push yourself to just do it. You never know where a hello or short conversation can lead you to and that also goes for reaching out to contacts via email or any social media platform- go after and ask for what you want!
2) Never Forget to be Kind. I think more often than not, we forget to have empathy for one another. With understanding comes kindness and I think the world needs more of that- so if you can sprinkle a little extra kindness throughout your days, I encourage you to do so.
3) Never Compare Yourself to Others. No ones career path is the same. We all start somewhere and at different stages, so whether you’re at the top right off the bat or you have to go through the trenches of your industry to get where you want to be, just know that your unique journey is yours and no one else’s. Stay true to yourself and work hard; continue to set personal and professional goals towards accomplishing your dreams. It’s also important (and fun!) to encourage, motivate and empower your friends and peers in their journey to self-discovery -we’re all in this together!
RLR: This. Is. Seriously. Amazing Advice.
Thanks Victoria, we can’t wait to see what’s next for you and Visual Vitaliti!
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