By Hannah Stewart (Comm’19)
Art by Jamie Chihuan
As a child, Jamie Chihuan would go to his grandmother’s house and see paintings of brightly colored desert landscapes and other Incan art. Years later, a high school art class helped him realize he wanted to create paintings of his own.
“The projects we did helped me focus my creativity,” he said. “I thought, ‘What if I become an artist or graphic designer?’”
Chihuan now explores his interest in visual arts by incorporating it into his collegiate studies and internships. Eventually, he hopes to use these experiences to build a creative agency.
Since coming to CU Boulder, Chihuan has created a niche for himself as a strategic communication major minoring in media production. As a multimedia artist, he enjoys finding ways to incorporate his art—largely inspired by his Latino identity and other personal experiences—into professional settings.
“When I first started, I found it very hard as a 19-year-old Mexican kid. People never took me seriously,” he said.
Chihuan explores everything from painting to videography, and his surrealist paintings attract the most attention. In spring 2022, his artwork was displayed at the Museum of Boulder’s Voces Vivas exhibit, which showcases the stories of early Boulder County Latino families.
“Jamie’s painting is intriguing,” community curator Linda Arroyo-Holstrom said. “I embrace the idea that we all have sacred knowledge within us. The painting is like an embrace to our reciprocal relationship with nature and ‘homelands.’”
As a student, Chihuan’s love of art has blossomed into a love of visual communication. Following his passion, Chihuan searched for internship opportunities focused on visual production.
“I really wanted to get into somewhere where I could start doing content creation,” he said.
In March, he began a six-month internship with cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks. He received daily assignments to interview colleagues and create videos for internal teams like sales and marketing. One video he loved creating was a multimedia documentary incorporating animation, footage and archival material.
“I am able to take the documentary practices I have learned at CU and apply them to my process at Palo Alto Networks,” Chihuan said.
Chihuan also applies his training in graphic design and media production to his own passion projects. He sells his art online through a website he calls A Deal in Hell, its name inspired by Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy. He plans to grow this company into a creative agency capable of producing a variety of work.
As a Latino in the art and media world, Chihuan has experienced and overcome doubts, but through his work as a content creator, he has found new ways to apply his artistic skills. As he heads toward graduation and his own career, he hopes to inspire others to pursue their own creative passions.