Isaac Pelayo

Isaac Pelayo: Inspired by the beauty and turmoils of life

As we make our way through life, we all need to find our own “escape.” Whatever it may be, it allows us to be transported to a happier place, a calmer place, a secret garden where we can take a moment to contemplate the obstacles we face…or to just quiet the world around us. Even for just a few hours. For Isaac Pelayo, a talented and passionate painter, it was art that brought him great solace. “My second home wasn’t my dad’s house, it was the art gallery,” he shared when discussing his childhood.

He grew up with divorced parents and lived with his great grandmother, grandmother, two uncles, and mother. His father, who is also a renowned painter, would spend his time with Isaac visiting museums, shows, and more. “I would study his work and practice replicating it. Using the same tools and materials as him,” shared Pelayo when discussing his father’s influence on his career. “I began to build a deeper relationship and understanding with graphite and paper.” And this was just the beginning.

But before going on to following his dreams, it is no secret that growing up with his family was bittersweet. Sharing very candidly, “my family and I endured a lot of turmoil, defiance, and despair. I grew up in a broken household on welfare mixed with arguments and substance.” And instead of letting it suck him into the sinking hole, he used it as a “clear picture of what I wanted to avoid in my life,” shared Pelayo. Lack of money, fathers, and some pride, it is the unfortunate recipe to a household filled with chaos and negativity. His family was missing proper guidance and structure but ironically, growing up with them “shaped me into the man I am today without even trying.” As humans, we make mistakes and it is okay! When you can turn your hardships into opportunities, that is where the magic happens and it did for Pelayo…at a young age.

Imagine being an eleven year old artist whose work was exhibited in a gallery for the first time. I know what you are probably thinking…no way. Eleven years old? Trust me I was in awe when I learned about this but it is true and it is possible! This was the age at which Pelayo showcased his work for the very first time. It was a contest between the different elementary schools and he won first place. Not only that, he also sold his piece of art for $100 and that was his first real taste as an artist. With excitement he shared, “I was addicted and hooked immediately. It also seemed like the first time my family was really proud of something I accomplished.”

You see, most children dream of being a cop or doctor, whatever it may be, they fall into different types of categories. But for Pelayo, his shared candidly that he did not play sports nor was a “brainiac” which led him to realizing which path was meant for him. “I was gonna to be an artist. For real.” His father did keep him grounded reminding that his chances of becoming a successful artist were “slim to none.” However, it was confusing at times for the young artist which he expressed: “when I got praised as a kid I was often found confused between my “chances” and my “applause.” But for him, there was nothing that could turn him away as he was determined to beat the odds and find success in his passion.

Looking back on this strong desire and determination, he does admit that if he could, he would tell his younger self to stop stressing as much, “to learn to live and let go.” This was an unknown concept to him as he found himself having to mediate everyone’s arguments and catch anyone who was going through a downfall. There was no time for him to focus on what he loved most and his own dreams because he was “too concerned with what others were going through,” and engulfed by the idea of being a role model for his brother. Stemming from love, it is a lesson we can all learn from. Never forget to love and take care of yourself as well.

Now, there is no denying that this sense of guiding others has been engraved within Pelayo since a young age and it just so happens to be a big factor in what his purpose in life is. Matched with representing what hard work and dedication mean, the artist also opened up, “I have always felt like I needed to be a role model and lead by example.” Growing up, he was taught that you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Through his passion for painting, he is able to show others that anything is possible and that “any height can be reached. One just has to climb.”

For the artist, he has had to face many obstacles himself. One of them being “IT energy to create something spectacular.” He tries not to worry about selling his work nor gaining notoriety as these are recurring thoughts for artists. As Pelayo put it so gracefully, “It’s easy to make money but it’s a battle to create timeless work.” For all you other young artists out there, take his advice and just keep producing as much work as you can! Find inspiration around you and create.Speaking of inspiration, Pelatyo’s stems from a variety of things as his mind often times goes on to autopilot as he also analyzes everything running through his brain. “I get inspired by the light beaming through my window at sundown, golden hour as they say. When I paint, I paint with every emotion flowing through my veins.” Hoping to channel his energy through the oils and paints, it is also the thought of time that fuels his ambition, as he explained. If he could describe himself as a piece of art it would be one of his pieces. As he pours all of his energy and emotion into his work, he believes that you can feel this. “You can see the parts of me that are sophisticated, poetic, passionate, and loving mixed with the parts of me that are angry, hurt, reckless, and maniacal.”

Isaac Pelayo has overcome many obstacles in his life and continues to do so with grace and strength. Also a musician, tattoo artist, actor, and model, he pulls inspiration from each line of work he is in. Having been inspired artistically by “anything that portrayed real life and raw qualities in humanity,” he has spent his life trying to master that. In recent days, he finds himself going back to his childhood and breaking all the rules of whatis people consider classical portraiture, expressionism, pop art, and street art. As Pelayo said, “I’m like Dr Seuss’s Cat in the Hat. I’ve become the result of what happens when you collide my world with the real world. Disastrously balanced.”



Model Isaac Pelayo @isaacpelayo
Photography Raven Durán @ravendurann
Styling Raven Durán @ravendurann
Interview Alexandra Bonnet @alexbonnetwrites


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