Posing questions to local artist Daniel Barajas

He might be mixing up your special order at a nearby Starbucks, but Daniel Barajas is brewing up something bigger, as he pursues an education in art. He is currently in the process of transferring to Cal State Long Beach, with a focus in fine art.

Born in Michoacan, Mexico, Barajas now lives in Long Beach, where he’s lived since the age of 4.

“I’ve been lucky enough to continue calling this city home,” he says.

He said he likes experimenting and switching from medium to medium but he feels most comfortable with oil paint, charcoal and digital.
He produces his work at home, having turned his bedroom into a studio/office, where he has a large easel, an artist drafting table and a small bed, for “creating art… doing homework and resting, all at my convenience,” he says.

Barajas claims he’s been making art ever since he can remember, but it’s only been in the last four years that he’s become comfortable with showing his work.

How would you describe the type of art you make?

My work for (the series) Precarious Dissolution is romantic, yet sad and dark. But for Sticks and Stones— my new series that I am currently working on— I’m focused on realism. It is beautiful, yet uncomfortable in the themes and subject matter in which I choose to paint my subjects/portraits.

If you chose to suddenly do work that is completely different from what you normally create, what would it likely be?

Maybe landscapes, or abstract.

Does your artistic life ever get lonely? If so, what do you do to counteract it?

It really does. Personally, art is my life, and my focus. I don’t have children, nor someone to call my own at this moment. My education and evolution as an artist is my main concern. I don’t counteract any of my decisions, though I try to be optimistic, and always give myself the right to learn from myself and others. The best thing that I can do is surround myself with other artists, and career/goal-oriented people. It has not been a juggling game of art vs. social life, as we are all very busy individuals, but make time to get together and keep each other sane.

Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?

I do like to listen to music. My taste in music varies and is usually based on the emotions I want to emote through my work. I’ll listen to artists like the Shins, Aqualung, and James Morrison when painting with oil—soft melodies that allow me to be gentle and precise with the strokes of my brush. Then I’ll listen to Nine Inch Nails, Deftones and the Bravery when sketching and creating concept work.

What inspires you the most as an artist?

Love. Being able to love, being able to forgive— to understand and to be vulnerable. This allows me to see myself in other people’s eyes/ shoes. It’s my family, my friends— people I’ve been fortunate to call “my other,” the stranger walking down the street. Because the human spirit is nothing without love. It is their stories, and mine, that I try to capture in my work.

What are one or two primary areas of fear for you as an artist?

Creating work with no value, work that is not a true reflection/representation of myself. I remember making a life-size drawing of a girl, for my final years ago. I drew her dead in a pool of her own blood. I thought it was the coolest thing at the time. I got drilled by my professor when he asked me to explain my work. I had nothing to say other than, “It’s a girl, dead in a pool of her own blood.” He told me, “As an artist, we have the obligation to explain our work, to give it a purpose, whether it’s negative or positive.” Those words have been engraved in my head ever since. Though I felt like I hated him for making me feel stupid in front of the class, he gave me the confidence to express myself and create work that has meaning and a purpose. That is the true value of art.

To view more of Barajas’s work, visit danielbarajas.carbonmade.com .