Imitating Life: Posing questions to local artist Ivan Zuno

“Fred and Samantha,” pencil drawing

“Fred and Samantha,” pencil drawing

Cory Bilicko
Managing Editor

Freelance illustrator Ivan Zuno has been making art ever since he learned how to use a pencil. “I learned to make art when I learned how to write,” he says.
Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, the 32-year-old just took his first art class last semester at El Camino College.
He mostly works in pencil, pen and ink, acrylic, drafting markers and some aerosol spray paint at his home in Torrance.

When did you start making art?
When I was in the 3rd/4th grade, I saw for myself that I was beginning to get recognition for something that was so natural to me. I don’t even really remember “learning” how to make art or beginning to illustrate. It’s just something I’ve always done.

Ivan Zuno

Ivan Zuno

What kind of art were the first things you created?
A combination of people that would strike an interest or objects that were fascinating or simply caught my attention.

Why do you make art?
I make art because it’s in my blood. I make art for the same reason I breathe. Art gives me instant gratification. The reward you get from bringing an idea to life on what was once a blank piece of paper or canvas never gets old!

If, for some reason, you could no longer create art, what would you do? I would redirect my focus in the direction of teaching or helping others to develop their creative ways.

“Juan John,” pen and ink, pencil, drafting markers and acrylic

“Juan John,” pen and ink, pencil, drafting markers and acrylic

Is there anything that blocks you as an artist?
As cliché as it may sound, I may develop a brief “artist block” if my heart isn’t in the work–if I’m not fully inspired, I feel it reflects creatively.

Do you have a favorite piece of art you’ve created?
One of the last paintings I illustrated was a young boy with weary eyes who’s extending his arm as a white dove caresses his finger, bringing him, in essence, a sign of hope. I chose to paint a fiery sky as background to give an illustrative contrast but also, metaphorically, show his struggle. I named it “Hope Beyond the Flames.”

“Hope Beyond the Flames,” acrylic on canvas

“Hope Beyond the Flames,” acrylic on canvas

Do you have a favorite piece of art that someone else has made?
Salvador Dali’s “Saint John of the Cross” is one of my favorite paintings. Not only is it a visual masterpiece, but it’s creative and unique. I’m also a big fan of Joe Madureira. Everything he touches is magic.

What is your favorite subject matter to include in your art? I take pride in the fact that, as an artist, I try not to categorize myself, therefore I am constantly changing my subject matter. I love working with the direction of others as much as I like creating on my own. If I don’t place my art in a box, I never have to think outside of it.

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