Latino Life: Young Visalia Artist Creating Bold Work

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- She is only 19 years old but with a paintbrush in hand, Mikayla Gutierrez is armed with creativity beyond her years.

Bloody reds and cactus greens fill the canvas as her creative instincts take over; with dabs of color, she launches fireworks of expression.

The South Valley student is currently studying art at College of the Sequoias in Visalia. With her self-portrait near her, she sat down with Latino Life host Graciela Moreno to discuss what inspires her creations--creations that infuse themes of love, heartache, and family.

She creates art mainly as a means of healthy self-expression. Mikayla says she is inspired by her life experiences to produce work that is vivid and surreal, creating a therapeutic middle ground between reality and her imagination.

Mikayla is on Facebook as Mikayluvvv and Instagram as @mikayluvvv.

She also has an Etsy account.

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She is only 19 years old but with paintbrush in hand Mikayla Gutierrez is armed with creativity beyond her years.

Here are some excerpts from the Latino Life interview:

Graciela: I know that you get a lot of inspiration, right, from -- Is it from other artists, as well?

Mikayla: Yeah. I'd say so, yeah.

Graciela: Tell me about that.

Mikayla: My work is definitely surrealist. So people automatically go to Frida Kahlo -- plus I'm of Mexican heritage and whatnot. So that really inspires me. But you know what, I've actually

been really more inspired by people that work with color and form more, and so I've just been trying to put that in my work more, just focusing on color a lot.

Graciela: And so do you have formal training, or how did you learn this?

Mikayla: Well, I was self-taught for a while, until I decided that I kind of wanted to humble myself down to the knowledge of other people. So I applied to COS.

This is my first semester here, and it's been really awesome.

Graciela: Has it?


Graciela: So, since you were self-taught, now that you're learning, maybe, a different technique perhaps, how has this enhanced your work?

Mikayla: It's really awesome. I love it. Because I have my own knowledge, and then being able to add that of people, other artists that are 10, 20 years ahead of me

really helps my work out. But I still try to keep my own individual style and whatnot.

Graciela: And I noticed you, in one of the other ones that we saw a few seconds ago, that you do a lot of self-portraits, right?

Mikayla: Art for me started as therapy for me, really, to cope with life and whatnot. And once I realized that I just had a passion for it, and just a passion for life

overall -- like, I feel so much, and I just want to be able to represent that in my paintings.

Graciela: Wonderful. And so what are some of the goals for the future? What do you hope to be doing?

Mikayla: I want to pay rent with my work. I want to make artwork that inspires people to be themselves, and I want to let people know that, no matter what in life, you can literally

achieve anything you want to as long as you have your heart and your soul. And I have my heart and my soul into this. I do it every day. And, yeah, just to live happily

Mikayla spent the next half hour working on a new painting during Latino Life which she revealed at the end of the show.

Graciela: So let's check it out. Mikayla, this looks really nice.

Mikayla Thank you. thanks. I wanted to go for something simple and to show a little of my skill and how quickly I can work on something.

Graciela: Yes. I love the intensity of the color that you use. I love how all your paintings are just so vibrant.

Mikayala: Thank you. Yeah. There's definitely so much color in life, and I think I find that same joy in my paints.

Watch the entire interview on video.
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