Imitating Life: Posing questions to local artist Isaac Arambul

“Aurora Borealis,” ink on illustration board

“Aurora Borealis,” ink on illustration board

Cory Bilicko
Managing Editor

Isaac Arambul says he began making art at a very young age, and the memory seems pretty vivid to him.
“I think it all started when I was about 2,” he said. “I woke up early from my nap and drew giant ladybugs on the carpet with marker. I haven’t stopped since.”
The 22-year-old Yorba Linda resident has since graduated from markers to using mainly acrylic, ink, graphite and oil.
When asked about his “jobs,” Arambul lists “fine artist” first, followed by “student, tattoo apprentice, wrestling and jiu-jitsu coach, and art tutor.”
The Anaheim native is currently studying at Santiago Canyon College and Santa Ana College, and he plans to transfer to a four-year institution to earn a bachelor’s degree in fine art.
When he’s not in class, in the tattoo parlor or on the mat, he’s often making art in his bedroom or part of his family’s garage that he converted into studio space.

Isaac Arambul

Isaac Arambul

How would you describe the type of art you make?
Surreal, dream-like, full of imagery and metaphor, detailed. I would also say I lean toward a vibrant color palette in my paintings and the opposite in my illustrations and drawings, high-contrast and black and white.

What do you try to achieve with your art?

I try to invoke the healing or rejuvenating power of art for both the viewer and myself.

What inspires you the most as an artist?
I find so many things inspiring, it’s difficult to pick. Knowledge in general, various sciences, great minds throughout history, human interaction, not to be cliché, but love in all forms: divine, unconditional, family, romantic, self, unrequited. I guess you could say I find a sense of growth and understanding most inspirational, constantly expanding our perspective and refining ourselves to always be better.

“Beneath Your Skin,” acrylic on canvas

“Beneath Your Skin,” acrylic on canvas


Your work tends to have a lot of detail. How much time do you usually spend on one painting?

That’s a difficult one to answer. I’m not sure there is a usual amount of time per painting. I’m often trying to branch out and push my limits in terms of technique or subject matter, and sometimes everything works out and the piece flies by. Other times, I find myself working and re-working a piece nearly to death before I’m happy with it. Additionally, I usually have several in-progress pieces at any given time, and they usually vary a bit in size. Because of all that, it can range from about a day to a month.

What ends up being your biggest source of frustration as an artist?

My biggest frustration used to be being a perfectionist or overly critical of myself, feeling vulnerable in putting a part of myself out there for the world to see, and knowing when to call it and say a piece is truly finished or ready for an audience. I would say the biggest frustration at the moment is relatively small in comparison. It’s when people tell me things like “I’m not creative” or “I can’t do that.” I believe a part of it is natural talent but a much bigger part is hard work, and the latter will always outweigh the former. Working with paint, or in a broader sense creative thinking applied to any medium, is a honed skill.

What’s your favorite art piece that someone else has done?
That’s a tough one. I have a dozen or so that constantly shuffle for the top spot. For now, I’ll pick the painting “Omens” by Cynthia Sheppard. She made a great Youtube video documenting the process of her work on the piece. It made me like the painting even more to watch it develop and hear her explain her techniques.

“Metaphoric Projection,” ink, acrylic and charcoal on paper

“Metaphoric Projection,” ink, acrylic
and charcoal on paper

What’s your favorite piece that you yourself created?
I always try to think of my next piece as my favorite. Of the ones I’ve already created though, it’s probably “Spirit Walk.”

Do you have a least-favorite color?

Probably lemon yellow, the one with the greenish tinge.

To view more of Arambul’s work, visit isaacarambul.com .

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