MEET FERNANDO – A SELF TAUGHT ILLUSTRATOR FROM DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Let’s start with the cool stuff. Fernando was born and raised in Dominican Republic (DR), learned English on his own, taught himself illustration, and has a lot of creative skills. Although he isn’t completely sure what he is professionally right now, he is currently working on finding a balance between all his creative work, “I have been experimenting on how to mix some of the things I enjoy doing, like photography, film, design, illustration and 3D design, and hopefully create something I could call a style or a theme. So with that said, all I can call myself as of now is ‘an ongoing experiment.'”

Fernando is currently “working on a lot of websites for brands, agencies, and other freelancers,” but he is also “secretly working on a project” of his own called “Nichijou Collection”. Working on anything during the pandemic can be quite difficult across the board, but Fernando excitedly shares that he was able to make it work and will be sharing soon.

He shares his experience on being raised in DR and how that shaped him to be who he is today, “Growing up here has had its ups and downs, but I definitely wouldn’t change it.” Although it’s not one and the same, Fernando expresses that there are similarities and differences he has come to learn with his travels to America, “On one side, most of Latin America has the same problems, corrupt governments, criminality and such, so you grow up looking over your shoulder all the time. But I think that’s also what tends to make Dominicans be so friendly and nice with people they trust because people here really try to help each other out with anything and everything.” He explains that he has always been very introverted, sometimes a little too much but he adopted certain natures of his extroverted peers/friends “in the most random ways.” Those random things help break him out of his shell and allow him to loosen up a bit in order to create better work. The creative process is not a one track mind but it does require a healthy amount of patience, confidence, and pace, “That’s also something I try to think about when creating anything because I sometimes get too hard on myself so I try to think of ways to ‘let loose’ and get out of my comfort zone.”

Being too hard on ourselves is not uncommon and sometimes it gets the best of us. Fernando shares that one of his greatest obstacles is actually himself and his mind, “The biggest thing that has challenged me the most to grow is probably my own mind. I really am too hard on myself most of the time and I tend to think I am not capable of doing certain things for whatever reason I can use as an excuse.” He added that because of his introverted nature, he feels like dying inside every two seconds speaking with humans (major LOL here), “(my) social skills are not my strongest feature.” Both are something he’s working on and is constantly challenged by. I’m 90% positive that most of us can relate to this to a certain degree.

Of course, with challenges and weaknesses, there are also opportunities and strengths. Fernando shares that one of his personality traits is what truly defined his life and made it great, “I spent a good amount of time trying to think of what has defined my life the most, but I’d say it was my curiosity to try new things since I was a kid and giving everything a chance, because I really used to hate art and everything that had to do with drawing at an early age, but I just wasn’t doing it my own way, and when I discovered that and got into it, I didn’t let it go!”

I asked him how he manages everything and he gets real with you all, “I am the worse person to manage multiple things at once, all I do is sacrifice sleep, drink coffee, and rant to my best friend about it, then I just get it done however I can think of at the moment.” Who’s with him (lol)?

Everyone has someone they look up to or is inspired by. For Fernando, it’s Jamie Hewlett, “he’s always been my biggest inspiration.” He explains the weirdly coincidental experience on why he’s his biggest inspiration, “I saw drawing, initially when I was a kid, as ‘you have to draw everything in a realistic way otherwise it’s wrong’, but then I stumbled upon the band Gorillaz around 2010-2011 (I was about 11 or 12) on TV. The moment I saw that, it defied that mentality I used to have, it was really weird for me. And so I tried to replicate that because it seemed so strange but fun and interesting, so I started to get into it and I really enjoyed it, so I’d keep drawing the same thing over and over. Then I thought about drawing more like that instead of only being completely realistic, and here I am.”

Beyond his creative work, he advocates strongly for equality. “Social status, skin color, ideas, abilities, sexuality, anything else you can think of, those things don’t matter, everyone is a living being and they have their own life.” He expresses that he’d “love to come with a way to make people understand that nobody is different, we’re all humans, and being or looking different is what makes us special! If we were all exactly the same, it would be an extremely boring world, the only thing needed is acceptance and respect. I try to call out on people who treat anyone wrongly because of who they are and peacefully educate them on how they are acting and affecting that person’s life in a bad way.” *cue applause*

Fernando is a phenomenal person with a big heart, sensitive spirit, and most importantly, a passion that strives to emulate who he is while inspiring others. He’s a prime example that anyone can do something they love despite the odds, and all you have to do is start.

Find him on Instagram here!

Bonus: Favorite anything, and why?

“Favorite person, my best friend, Lian Lendor. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be who I am right now, he doesn’t know it but he’s helped me so much and has inspired me to keep going so many times, he’s the nicest person I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting and I am incredibly grateful that I got to meet him!”

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