My mother likes to say that I’ve been drawing since I was two years old. The way she tells it, she would put paper in front of me, give me markers and crayons, and then watch as I sketched an entire world. There was nothing analytical about it. After all, I was a child. The act of creating was born out of pure instinct.
We came to Los Angeles from La Paz, Bolivia when I was six years old. Both my aunt and grandpa were living in America, and my parents thought LA would be an ideal place for us to start a new life.
I went to Santa Monica College and was fortunate to take a figure drawing class with ArtCenter grad Nathan Ota. Nathan and I talked about art in the same way. He emphasized telling a story through visuals and bringing all of yourself to your work. Nathan understood that if I wanted to nourish this impulse and grow as both a creator and a person, ArtCenter was the only place for me.
Three of my dear friends and I took a tour of Hillside Campus. We all loved it, but I’m the only one who ended up actually attending ArtCenter. It’s wild to think that I was this close to choosing another path.
Walking around the campus was transporting. I had dreamt of being surrounded by artists my entire life. I found all of that and more when I arrived at ArtCenter in my early twenties. At ArtCenter, I found my people.
I’m a storyteller first and a problem-solver second. My goal is to create things that inspire joy in others – things that have meaning and depth, a sense of discovery and play. I enjoy creating work that makes me feel something. My work is predicated on the idea that art should speak to people – that it should reach out and make them feel something as well.
Even when I don’t take myself seriously, I always take the work seriously. A lot of my work is a reflection of what’s going on in my personal life. Occasionally, what I do deals with themes that can seem heavy. When I got a cancer diagnosis – and conquered it with the help of incredible doctors and life-saving chemotherapy – I addressed it the only way I know how. I buried myself in my work.
These days, my goal is to live in the present. When you feel like death is at your doorstep, you start to see what really matters. When you feel like you’re about to die, you stop caring about trivial things. I just want to live a good life, make good work, and have great friends and family. That’s it. I hope that my work takes me somewhere fulfilling, but I try not to obsess over things that don’t really matter. After all, there are bigger things to worry about… like climate change, politics and the state of our planet. Things in my little microcosm are as good as they can be!
Along with my artistic practice, I manage scholarships in ArtCenter’s Financial Aid Office. I was able to attend ArtCenter solely because I got financial aid. I understand the power that a scholarship can have for students with limited means. To be able to work in this capacity today gives my soul a deep contentment.
ArtCenter trains you to always go that one step further. I apply that rigor to everything I do, even though people tell me I seem like a mellow person. Everyone here shares the same mentality – stubborn, unyielding and brilliant.
When I was young, I would second-guess myself all the time. ArtCenter taught me to trust myself and to trust in what I do. I trust myself, and I trust my decisions when I’m making my work. That’s when I’m most confident in my life – when I’m creating.
Eunice San Miguel
BFA 2010 Illustration
Scholarship Steward and Financial Aid Counselor in ArtCenter’s Financial Aid Office