artist feature story

Getting Acquainted: A Mini-feature Introducing the Artist Tonia Calderon

Saturday, March 04, 2017 Celia A. Pena

Hello Readers!  This week I was given an amazing opportunity to feature a truly talented individual by the name of Tonia Calderon. She is an artist, a lover, of music, and yes, she is talented. Her paintings are worth a thousand words (literally) as many of them involve very familiar famous icons with beautifully painted lyrics seeping through the portrait as a whole. Her talents,of course, are not limited to this artistic style. She has done work in the past alongside Gigi Hadid and Tommy Hilfiger, providing hand-painted installations for their collaborative fashion show titled Tommyland and her work is also well-known among many celebrities such as Lady Gaga, P. Diddy, Dr. Dre etc.

There is no doubt that this woman has an artistic gift, and luckily for me, in a mini-interview conducted via email, I got to know Tonia Calderon a little better, and ask a few questions regarding herself, as well as her artwork. Below you will find the Q & A between Tonia and myself. It was an honor getting to know her, and now you can get to know her too.
So....let's get acquainted with artist Tonia Calderon.

Photo provided by CodedPR

1. Tonia, would you like to say a little about yourself? Who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?

Hello, I am Tonia Calderon, I am a female Mexican, Dutch and Indonesian Artist and Designer. I grew up in San Jose, California and my art studio is currently based in Los Angeles, California.

2. What inspired you to become an artist? 

I always knew I was an artist. I started drawing at a very young age but never dreamed Iʼd be fortunate enough to make a career of it. I studied Business in college and somewhere in between studying I had a vision of what I wanted to create, a concept, specific and unique to other artist. I starting painting that day, itʼs been over ten years and I havenʼt gone a day without a paintbrush in my hand.

3. What are you trying to communicate through your art?

When I started to paint the most important thing I wanted to communicate was my love of music, specifically my love for lyrics.
As Iʼve grown as an Artist and as a woman I now feel the need to tell my own story thru my art, to touch on current events that affect my life and our generation. My new series embodies my beliefs and passions as a person. I no longer feel so much a need to stick with any certain brand. I am my brand, and as I evolve so will my art.

4. I have looked at your artwork via Instagram, featuring iconic individuals with lyrics elegantly painted through the portrait. It is truly fascinating! Aside from being inspired by music, what else inspires you to paint this way? Are there specific genres or musicians that influence you more than others? 

I grew up on hip-hop and classic R&B. My all time favorite artist has always been Tupac. As I got older I started to explore various music libraries I found love and appreciation for all genres of different times. I love jazz, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis… I love different sounds from around the world like Andrea Bocelli, and Bebel Bilberto. I love rock music and music I can vibe to like The XX, Frank Ocean and Alina Baraz.

5. Amazingly, you have worked in the past with Tommy Hilfiger & Gigi Hadid for their fashion show TommyLand. What was that experience like for you? 

Collaborating with The Tommy Hilfiger x Gigi Hadid Fashion Show in Venice, California was a very fun and easy experience. Creative director and artist Al-Baseer Holly (ABH) reached out and told me he wanted me on the project. He was very open to allowing artist involved create as they wanted. Itʼs always nice to have freedom as artist on any project

6.  Are there other fashion designers you would hope to work alongside in the future? If so, who? 

I love fashion, I was able to create customized jackets for Hudson Jeans and collaborate with a popular street wear brand ADBD on Fairfax. I would love to get involved with a variety of brands. Some of my favorites are Stella McCartney, Maison Margiela, and Nike. 

7.  What is one goal you have for yourself as an artist? 

One of my goals as an Artist is to be involved in more museums around the world. I would love anyone and everyone to have access to viewing my artwork. Art is a completely different experience in person.

8.  What other things do you enjoy doing aside from art? If you weren’t an artist, what other career would you be pursuing? 

If I wasnʼt an Artist I would still be in a creative field. I love to direct, and directing is still something I would like to be more involved in. Iʼve created a few music videos and would love to get into creating documentaries.

9. Do you have a favorite art piece that you have produced? If, so why is it your favorite? 

I am always asked what my favorite piece is and itʼs always difficult to decide… I think some of my favorites are “Bye.” A portrait of the Heath Ledger as the Joker, and “Othello” a portrait of William Shakespeare.
My last solo exhibition “Somewhere on The Moon.” At Soze Gallery in Los Angeles, California was very special to me. The Gallerist Toowee Kao was very open to my vision and trusted me to create something new. I was able to create and tell a story. I created each piece on circular mirror panels showcasing each phase of the moon in abstract form. I was very happy with the result, and I believe anyone that was able to see the result felt the emotion of every piece and the exhibit as a whole

10.  What are you working on right now? 

Iʼm currently working on my next solo exhibition called “The Fallacy of the Moon.” The show will continue the journey for the last exhibition “Somewhere on the Moon.” This show will follow a journey from the Moon through various constellations and back towards earth. Iʼm using a lot of new mediums and creating sculptures as well. I am very excited to share this particular story with my audience.

Take a peek at some of her artwork !

You can  also find out more information and check out Tonia Calderon's work below!

Her website:


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