A vivacious, inquisitive creative force, Aria Luna has always been enthralled by the natural world. She has raised a bird from an egg, swum (at a distance) with sea turtles in Hawai’i, navigated the ancient rivers of Colombia with her parents, nearly been bitten by a water cockroach, seen pink river dolphins, caimans, and piranhas, watched baby rattlesnakes sleep, tracked wild hares, and is learning how to read the water from her father, an expert fisherman. She can also do a scarily realistic seagull call.
Bold, whimsical, and unencumbered by traditional expectations of style or technique, Aria Luna’s artistic expression runs the spectrum of color palette and media. Her works blend watercolor, acrylics, and oil pastels with india inks and mixed materials. Her art evokes the rich, colorful world that children see, imbued with fantasy—the impossible and dreamed made real.
Today, at just 11 years of age, Aria Luna is one of the world’s youngest exhibiting artists. She is the youngest artist ever hosted by Google for a solo exhibit, and the youngest to be commissioned to paint one of 30 six-foot sea lion statues for the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco. She is a member of two professional artist organizations (USA and Europe), has won numerous awards in the US and Europe, and has been featured in local and national media outlets. But what matters most to her is to be a “normal kid” and to be able to use her talent to open minds, hearts, and new ways of thinking about how we can all contribute to the shift that now needs to take place, across industries, lifestyles, and policies, if we are to adapt to our changing climate. This is why she’s so excited about working with the Amazon Aid Foundation… because the Amazon rainforest is at the very forefront of our struggle to return our planet’s ecosystems to health and equilibrium.
How old were you when you first started really enjoying art?
When I was about 1.5 or 2 years old, I drew a little octopus with a magic marker. Actually two. I brought the drawing to my mom who was working at her desk and she was thrilled. I don’t remember when I started to actually enjoy art but I’ve always loved to doodle and draw. We have boxes and boxes of all the drawings and little books I made in elementary school! And it means a lot to me when people enjoy my art.
What is your favorite thing to do?
My favorite things to do are talking with my friends, playing Minecraft, and lots of physical activities like swimming and running. I also really like soccer and basketball. And good food.
What made you so interested in environmental issues?
My parents always took me out hiking with them, so nature is the most familiar environment for me. When I was two, we spent a month in Colombia. We went on an expedition down to the wild plains where the big rivers are. I really like camping too, and watching animals, birds, and insects. I don’t like big cities that are noisy; I like smaller towns with lots of nature. Also, my mom has always been talking to me about all the things going on, like climate change and the drought and wildfires and things like that, so I just want to help in some way. When I hear about events going on in the news, my brain just clicks and I start thinking about what we can do to help.
How do you think children can spearhead change?
They can influence adults with their innocence and their bright ideas that mostly go unnoticed because they’re smaller and younger. Also, older kids can influence their peers or younger kids by inspiring them and doing cool things together.
What are your favorite things to draw or paint?
I like to draw/paint dragons, humans of all different colors, and sometimes landscapes. I also doodle a lot… I have stacks of sketch pads and journals totally full of drawings that I’ve done over the years.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I’m not sure yet. Art will always be a part of my life, but I also really like music and math. So I might want to study STEM. I do want to be well known and respected, but most of all I want to help people in a big way, maybe invent something or do something that will change a lot of people’s lives.
Follow Aria Luna on Instagram at @aria.luna.art