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By Anais Hernandez, Feb. 15, 2022

Cal Poly Pomona alumna Bianca Ornelas is skilled in all forms of art from chalk murals to digital illustrations and even paintings. The two-time winner of The Pasadena Chalk Festival now has the opportunity to collaborate with renowned brands.

Ornelas uses her colorful art to shed light on sociopolitical issues by creating murals relevant to current events while teaching younger generations how to express themselves creatively.

She is an illustrator, visual artist and art teacher from Pomona, and she graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in communication, with an emphasis on public relations. Soon after graduating, she began freelancing as a visual artist a

A 2022 self-portrait of Bianca Ornelas. (Photo courtesy of Bianca Ornelas)

nd made a name for herself in the industry.

Her hard work, dedication and creativity have paid off; she has been presented with many opportunities that have opened doors for her art and has freelanced for clients like Substance Media, De Mi Alma Productions, “The Talk” and the Professional Esports Organization.

Her brand, Bianca Ornelas Art, reflects sociopolitical issues and is heavily inspired by history in southern California, feminism and her Mexican roots. It was colorful chalk murals that launched her career.

“I always participated in this festival called The Pasadena Chalk Festival, and it’s the largest chalk festival in the country where hundreds and hundreds of artists participate,” said Ornelas.

“Madonna and her child” chalk mural, as pictured above. (Courtesy of Bianca Ornelas)

She created a 4 feet by 5 feet chalk mural titled “Madonna and Her Child,” inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. The mural illustrates a spectrum of colors and is centered on an African American woman carrying her child in her arms. The woman is surrounded by purple clouds and behind her rests a blue sky with a bright and shining sun.

“I won twice, so by winning, I think it got my work out there and opened the door for freelance,” Ornelas said. “I kept producing these giant colorful chalk murals that are about 7 to 10 feet big.”

During her time at Cal Poly Pomona, Ornelas worked as a multimedia developer for Associated Students Incorporated, or ASI. While working as a videographer and graphic designer on their projects, she was reminded of her first passion: art.

“I was always really passionate about the creative side of marketing, design and public relations,” said Ornelas. “I liked art and graphic design and that type of thing even though I majored in public relations.”

Digital illustration of an indigenous woman by Ornelas. (Photo courtesy of Bianca Ornelas)

Ornelas began drawing at a young age and gravitated toward the more creative side of things. She translated that creativity into volunteering with low-income students at Philadelphia Elementary School in Pomona while obtaining her bachelor’s degree at CPP.

She helped create an artistic and engaging way for students to learn their alphabets through a series of cartoon characters she designs. “I did the character design, I did the voice-over, designed the cartoon characters and I was the teacher on camera…art is super important, and I don’t think people give it enough credit,” said Ornelas.

Her art was used to create flashcards, a workbook and a video that is still being used as part of the curriculum today.

Ornelas’s passion is giving back to her community, and she is currently an art teacher and freelance designer for the nonprofit organization Light Bringer Project where she teaches young individual how to create art.

“Working with kids and working with people who are super passionate about education and art, that is so rewarding to me, especially when I’m able to share some advice with them,” said Ornelas.

She enjoys sharing her life experiences and advice with those eager to learn and develop their creativity. A tip she gives to those still in college is not being hard on themselves and to accept all opportunities presented.

“All small wins are wins—just stay positive and keep going,” stated Ornelas.

Next, Ornelas will be collaborating with the Super Bowl to bring some sort of art piece to life. She wasn’t allowed to share many details, but she mentioned this would help give more exposure to her art.

To learn more about Ornelas, visit her online portfolio here.

Featured image courtesy of Bianca Ornelas.

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