Selected by Maui: Tonia Calderon
Anything that anyone makes is important, whether it be the person making your coffee or the person fixing your sink. Everything is connected, and every form of creativity is important.”
Los Angeles based artist Tonia Calderon(b. 1987) is well known for several of her styles and series. Getting her inspiration from her personal life experiences, relationships and multi cultural background (she is of Mexican, dutch, Indonesian and Chinese descent), she is an all-round creative artist. Her work includes paintings, photography, murals and sculptures, as well as the designing of interiors.
Growing up on Bay Area, Tonia decided to study business in college, inspired by her entrepreneurial parents. She started painting more as a hobby, and although she was always creative, she never considered art as a profession. One of her great passions included music, and although she wasn’t gifted in singing nor producing music, she really wanted to include music in her artwork. Her first inspiration was Tupac, one of her favorite artists, and she started working on several portraits of him that included written lyrics on his face. She contacted the Tupac Amaru Shakur Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, where her work got featured, and thats the point that led her to attract a wide range of collectors, among who Dr. Dre and Alicia Keys.
One of her other notable series shows a more graphic influence. In this series Tonia Calderon works with words and symbols, and by repeating them or putting them in a certain order, she creates a visually aesthetic and interesting work of art.
The words can mean different things to different people, and Tonia Calderon explains in an interview with Nike:
“When I started doing music portraits, they were pretty straightforward and all about my love for music. When I started adding different symbolic elements in my work, I realized how important it was for me to tell stories and connect with people on a more emotional level. I use the word “you” in my work a lot. People read it and initially think that it’s supposed to be about themselves. I actually use it to reflect the opposite. We need to recognize that everyone is important and have more compassion for other people. '…' Anything that anyone makes is important, whether it be the person making your coffee or the person fixing your sink. Everything is connected, and every form of creativity is important.”
It is amazing to see how Tonia re-invents herself every time, creating completely different artworks, but always seeing her personality through her work. As she explains: ‘…’ the only advice I can give is to be genuine to yourself. If you’re not doing that, it’s not going to last. I’ve always been focused on sticking with my style — my brand. I used to think that I had to do that by simply painting in the same way over and over. That approach can cause a lot of restrictions and creative blocks. I’ve pushed that aside, and I’m all for creating whatever feels right.
It is amazing to see how Tonia Calderon blends in effortlessly different colors, layers and various materials into her art. Her diverse and multidimensional personlity is expressed in each artwork, and her style feels feminine, modern, edgy and comforting. We really love the message Tonia Calderon is communicating, and everything she stands for as a person. If you would like to see more of her work, you can visit her https://www.instagram.com/toniacalderon/, as well as her https://www.toniacalderon.com.