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Discovered on Behance: Orlando Arocena

By Katrina Lewis

A bit of advice from his high school guidance counselor helped steer Orlando Arocena, native of New York City borough the Bronx, to become a professional artist. Years later, influenced by everything from subway rides to a stint as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Orlando continues to use his talents to vividly express himself and affect the world.

Orlando’s client list has grown substantially since Adobe chose him, based on his Behance profile, to create the 2015 release of the Adobe Illustrator CC splash screen cover. We spoke with Orlando about his upbringing, his influences, and the risks that have taken his career to new heights.

Orlando Arocena’s Adobe Illustrator CC splash screen cover, 2015.

Create: How has art influenced your life?

Orlando Arocena: Art has influenced my life in so many profound and unusual ways. From growing up in the Bronx and riding graffiti-bombed subway trains and watching cartoons on TV, to attending the Pratt Institute, I’ve found inspiration everywhere. For me, art history (and the cultures that use it to express themselves) is metaphorically the recipe book every artist or designer should always pay reverence to and be inspired by.

Create: When did you realize you wanted to pursue a design career?

Arocena: After many times of being sent to the principal's office for doodling during classes, my high school guidance counselor brought it to my attention that I should really consider investing in my creativity.

Create: What are three words you’d use to describe your art?

Arocena: THIS IS VECTOR.

“La Preciosa” is Arocena’s take on Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa."

Create: Why did you showcase your work on Behance?

Arocena: I joined Behance because it was the only community-based showcase of talent that represented itself professionally and respectfully. Above all, Behance is very supportive in promoting the diverse spectrum of creatives who share their work there.

Create: From your perspective, how does Behance differ from other online portfolio platforms?

Arocena: Behance has a personality like no other. It has invested the right amount of energy to build relationships with many highly credited schools, inspiring brands, and influential organizations, adding to its authentic culture and providing a benefit to its community. And this culture is the DNA that many try to emulate. The unexpected bonus is that the community rocks! They're genuine, supportive, and appreciative.

Create: What was your first reaction when you were commissioned to design artwork for the 2015 Release of Adobe Illustrator CC?  

Arocena: I was in shock! Grateful. And soon after the phone conversation, I had to change my pantalones.

Create: How has showcasing your work on Behance affected your career?

Arocena: Sharing my artwork on Behance for the past six years has greatly benefited my career in many unexpected ways.  I did a risky thing by doing away with my website when joining Behance. It was an experiment to see if being a "Behancer" would drive any beneficial exposure. And it sure did! I’ve completed commissions for world-renowned brands, taken part in gallery exhibitions, and been able to push the bar forward in the digital fine-art realm.

But what I really am truly grateful for are the opportunities to lecture and share my story at creative conventions like Adobe MAX and at universities. I enjoy sharing and meeting with creative folks and that in itself is better than any trophy.

Orlando’s list of exhibitions includes Miami Art Basel, The Museum of Western and Eastern Art Odessa Ukraine, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a recent exhibit with the Official Star Wars exhibition at L’espace Villeneuve Bargemon-Marseille, France. Catch more of his work on his Behance profile.