Growing up in a pretty rough neighborhood of San Francisco, Ca, Ana’s life was just as rough. From being bounced back and forth between Mexico and California, to being physically, mentally, and psychologically abused. All the while making some poor decisions of her own. Through all of that Ana fought off adversity and found her strength through her faith and through art. When people shot her dreams down of one day becoming a successful artist, she kept going. When she suddenly became a young mother she still kept on going. Ana Never gave up on her dreams and when roadblocks got in her way she pushed her way through them. She stopped letting the fear and insecurities from the past run her life. Instead she used it to fuel a fire burning inside to be great and stop and nothing to achieve her goals. Today Ana took that fire, that passion and most of all her love for art and used it to become a successful tattoo artist and painter.
I recently sat down with Ana at an art show in Oakland to ask her some questions.
SKYN: What Inspires your artwork??
AD: The things that surround me inspire my artwork. Sometimes I'll paint skulls because they're around me, but it's the emotions in each brushstroke that is more inspiring. I can paint something because I think it'll be dope but it’s when my emotions take over that the painting is transformed to compliment me
SKYN: That’s dope! So then what made you start tattooing?
AD: The father of my son is the reason why. He always saw the potential in me that I couldn't see myself and he wanted me to try something new. He bought me my first machines, ink, pretty much everything I needed. He pushed so hard for me and when I finally went for it I loved it.
SKYN: Awesome! So I have to ask.. What do you like doing more tattooing or painting?
AD: Painting. I have so much more freedom to express myself and I can work at my own pace.
SKYN: You had a rough upbringing correct? A lot of people tend to gravitate to what they've known all their life. How were you able to overcome the odds?
AD: I wanted to give my kids something I was never given. Which were support and a pure and genuine love. But in order for them to be good I needed to be good within myself. It was so hard in the beginning but I've come to see more positive than negative in situations. Instead of my kids saying "I don't want to be like my parents." I want them to be like damn I wanna be like moms! Haha. It's a constant battle of having to work on myself and them at the same time but I feel so much more empowered through my art now that I've gotten in touch with myself and I'm now able to transfer more positive feelings towards them and those around me
SKYN: Is it safe to say art saved your life?
AD: Yea you can say it did along with my faith. But without art I don't know what I would do with my life. I do know I'd be miserable without it.
SKYN: Do you have a favorite piece or tattoo you have done?
AD: Out of the tattoos, I can’t say that I have one favorite. I love them all and I love how my work is forever on another human. But for my paintings, I have three I'm really attached to because of what I was going through at the time I made them. They're very intense and I feel like it shows the intensity and passion I was experiencing at the time.
SKYN: Do you have any artist both painters and tattooist that you look up to?
AD: Frida Kahlo has always been my favorite because her art is a reflection of the world she lived in. It was a reflection of her environment and her emotions being expressed through pictures. It was an intense vulnerability that she displayed for the world to see and I absolutely love it because that's what's I've been beginning to do myself.
SKYN: Tells us something about you most people wouldn't know?
AD: I looove to cook and clean! I'm a neat freak and love to be neat and organized. It makes me feel good lol
SKYN: You love it?? Haha really???
AD: Yeah! Haha. It makes me feel good coming home to a clean house.
SKYN: What’s your favorite meal to make?
AD: I have more than one! I make good posole, chicken enchiladas, broths too, chicken and beef... Oh and this really good rice with bell peppers and cilantro.
SKYN: Damn girl, sounds like you throw it down in the kitchen. So for those reading this wondering, are you married, dating or single?
AD: I’m single and not ready to mingle lol!
SKYN: Ha, damn like that?
AD: Lol, the reason why I'm not trying to date or talk to anyone is because the breakup with my baby’s father is still fresh. I'm over him but I'm still rediscovering who I am. I'm learning how to value, respect and love myself. There's still so much I need to work on, to heal and be restored. The void that was to be filled in my life isn't supposed to come from a man. And in order for me to be happy in a relationship I need to be happy while I'm alone first. Plus this year for me is about growth, self worth and focusing much harder on where I am going with my career as an artist. I can’t do that if I have distractions.
SKYN: That makes total sense and I respect that. A lot of people tend to try and fill that void with someone but in reality they are still broken inside because that void is something they need to fix within. For women who have walked the same path you have had to walk in life. What advice would you give them?
AD: Yup exactly!! I’d say to push forward with a strong and positive mindset. Throw all pride to the side and ask for help when you really need it. We all need help in the life. It takes a lot more courage to ask for it than it does to harbor those feelings. This life is all about growth and encouragement. And as a woman it's important to empower each other not put each other down. If you have a vision that's such a part of you like art has been for me then it's important to nurture that vision and make it happen. Not for anyone but for yourself.
SKYN: With that being said, where do you see yourself in 20 years?
AD: I see myself with my own art studio/ gallery Teaching art classes to kids and being further involved in less fortunate communities and inspiring others through what I create. By that time my artwork would have already expanded and evolved into something so impacting and so intense. My goal isn't to be a famous artist, but more of a successful and positively inspiring on a deeper level even to non-artists.
SKYN: That’s really dope Ana; I wish you nothing but the best in achieving your goals. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me and giving a little insight as to whom Ana Duran is.
AD: No problem! I had a great time doing this and I only hope I'm able to inspire others through my experiences and the artwork that is created from them.
ANA DURAN | AD. Artwords | @_artandsoul_
INTERVIEW & PHOTOS
STEVIE BELOVED | @BelovedStevie | www.steviebeloved.com
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