This Latina Artist is Dominating Instagram with her Iconic Celebrity Paintings


Meet Vanessa Ayala, the Latina artist behind the iconic celebrity paintings you’ve probably seen on Instagram. In three words she describes her art as neon, fresh, and creative.

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For the 27-year-old, it all began at a performing arts high school and a scholarship to California College of the Arts in San Francisco but her art career path wasn’t always this straightforward. After graduating she says, “I got a little discouraged because the art world puts a lot of pressure on you, so I quit for awhile but just in the last year, I’ve picked up painting again and I’ve gained so much support just through Instagram alone, which is kind of amazing. I guess I kinda went for it because it came naturally to me and because I missed it."

While the talented artist, who has Colombian roots, has an eye-catching portfolio, she mainly uses Instagram as her main platform to connect with her 9,000+ followers. An entrepreneur boss lady herself she understands how vital social media can be for business and uses Instagram to coordinate print sales or commission paintings, customized for buyers. It’s no wonder she chooses to paint other Latina self-made boss ladies such as Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B.

A lot of her inspiration for her self-portraits come from “the idea of fame and borderline vanity kind of like Lady Gaga’s first album, which references Andy Warhol a lot” and added “there’s a little bias against pop art sometimes, whether it’s art or music it gets criticised a lot but people like Andy Warhol broke down that barrier.” Warhol was known for his famous Campbell Soup Cans and Marilyn Diptych pieces lead pop art in the 1960s.

“I love to play off those ideas especially with Latina artists such as JLo and Selena because in a way they’re iconic and it touches a lot of people.”

Her favorite celebrity to paint? Selena Quintanilla.  

“It’s a challenge every time because she’s so iconic. If you’re going to paint her you have to do it right and do her justice. I love everything that she stood for and the fact that she was an authentic beauty. She was one of the only Latina celebrities that actually portrayed an indigenous beauty which you don’t really see that much in Hollywood, maybe more now, but still not as much.”

For any aspiring artists, she reminds them to, “not let the pressure of the art world get to you. If it feels good to you, create it. I always tell people to study three things, anatomy, color wheel, and most importantly light source, those are the three things that could push your artwork to a new level because it adds dimension, that is if you’re interested in a realistic art style.”

Proving that 2017 has definitely been a huge success, she was able to exhibit her painting in two events in Art Basel Miami. Her paintings were exhibited at a fashion show exhibit and a collaborative art exhibit. A woman of many talents, while at the latter exhibit she was able to perform music while wearing clothing from her fashion line, 2 Strong Fashion, that she collaborates with her business partner, Andres Hidalgo. “It was one the first events that I was able to combine all three things that I enjoy doing.” She certainly does it all!

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Keep an eye out for this painter next year as she prepares an art-show-slash-listening party. “I think it will be intimate and really nice for people who have been following the past year.”