Ep 51 Featured Image Podcast

The Art of Reflection – Emilio Villalba – Ep 51

October 12, 2022


To grow artistically, especially in the beginning, we look out into the world at all the art made to help locate ourselves. If we are not yet sure where we are, it makes sense to look for art that reassures us. But it’s also confusing. At times it leaves us with that sinking feeling that the gap between where we are now and where we want to be is too much. The more you look outside yourself, the more you have to sort to find your expression. But what if you could artfully and sustainably stay open to all the art that influences and inspires you? Taking the time to consider others’ art will undoubtedly embolden yours. 

Meet Emilio Villalba. A young Mexican American artist born in Chula Vista, California. Emilio is an intrepid explorer committed to finding his common thread in all the art he gains inspiration from and ultimately creates. The trajectory of his art and the fact that it is undergoing a process of change visible to the growing numbers who follow his work is undoubtedly part of its draw. The other part is that we all know that whatever Emilio makes next will be startlingly fresh, original, and groundbreaking. Join us today for stories of early breakthroughs, inspiring influences, and how Emilio is pulling off his extraordinary art.

Listen if you are interested in…

  • Getting acquainted with Emilio’s art journey, his start in animation, and becoming obsessed with figurative drawing [2:31]
  • The conceptual complexity of Emilio’s work [16:26]
  • Emilio’s big turning point [22:47]
  • The evolution of Emilio’s art [29:32]
  • Emilio’s road ahead and current sources of inspiration [38:07]
  • Maintaining momentum while experimenting with your art [43:33]

Full speed ahead

You have to love what you paint and how you’re painting it to have a sustainable art practice. Even if that means leaving what you know behind to pursue the next artistic adventure. This willingness to follow passion wherever it leads has marked the art journey of Emilio Villalba. He started his career doing commercial animation, but after two years in the industry, he knew it wasn’t for him. He followed his love for fine art back to school where he ultimately fell in love with figurative art and began studying the mediums of oil and charcoal. Listen to this episode for more of Emilio’s journey!

Becoming a sponge

It’s rare to see someone have such a handle on form and realism but also balance it with abstraction and the earthiness of the materials. However, this is exactly the kind of work Emilio is producing. It’s at once a flat surface with messy oil paint in its natural state. Yet, there’s this miraculous putting together of those materials into something that looks and feels even more real than life. It’s the kind of balance between abstraction and realism that you can’t even get in a photograph. Emilio seems effortlessly comfortable with letting the materials be themselves in one moment and then transforming them into something else the next. He attributes his fluid style to being an art sponge. His work is a build-up of filtering out what he doesn’t like and then absorbing what resonates the most. It’s not about finding the one right style or technique. It’s about finding the styles and techniques that feel most authentic to what he wants to create.

Finding a common thread

Emilio Villalba has never been afraid to change the direction of his art when necessary. For some artists, there can be tremendous pressure to find their thing. However, Emilio is at a place in his art journey where he’s embracing his natural desire for inquiry. He likes to try a lot of stuff! And it’s that willingness to experiment and step outside his comfort zone that allows him to consistently create from a fresh perspective. He’s given himself permission to paint still lifes, collages, portraits, and even abstractions as long as he doesn’t give up on his life’s goal of finding the common thread between them all. He’s always trying to find his signature in what he creates. And that is the goal, isn’t it? The more willing we are to consider and try new things, the easier it is to create powerful, personal, and authentic art.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Emilio Villalba

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Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.

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