Embracing Individuality & Letting Your True Colors Shine with Grechen Escamilla AKA Riley

Self-portrait. Riley for 37 Magazine.

Revealing your true self and making a lasting impression is no small feat. Every individual has a purpose and every purpose has meaning that can transform the story of your life when used in a positive way to relay your message to the world. Riley, the artistic pseudonym for Grechen Escamilla, believes every story begins in black & white, and we decide whether or not to add color along the way.

Born a fraternal twin and being physically different from her sister has allowed her to appreciate what makes them uniquely different. Through art she has learned self-expression of her own thoughts, emotions and fears. She uses her artistic and multifaceted creative abilities to inspire others to do the same by connecting with their authentic self and the beauty that lies within them.

Currently based in Florida, Riley was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota of Cuban and Mexican descent. “I think from a young age, I was always drawing, colouring and painting. It’s always been a part of who I am.” Riley’s inclination towards art spans from surrealism to realism, encompassing her thoughts and emotions. Other artists she admires include Miriam Hoffman, Miles Johnston and Jean-Micheal Basquiat.

As a self-taught artist, Riley uses her art to tell a story. She gains inspiration from others and the stories of their lives. She has cultivated the capacity to shift her focus from within and acknowledge that these experiences also impact other individuals. “I am able to grasp the human experience by witnessing their fragilities of life and personal life experiences.” This understanding allows Riley to paint others with a deep sense of connection. She can capture their essence on canvas because she has walked in their shoes and it translates to her artwork.

“One painting is of my grandmother when she was younger, one is of my brothers’ best friend who passed away last year, and the one in the mirror is of myself.” Riley’s self-portrait symbolizes how everyday is a new day. “I painted this from a moment of overthinking and a chaotic mind, dealing with confusion of self identity.” You have opportunities to experience and make new discoveries about yourself and who you are. Consider the new day as an opportunity to keep learning more and more about yourself. To embrace your uniqueness is to reflect deeply on how you see yourself. If you had to describe yourself to someone else, what words would you use or how would you draw yourself?

Riley has been able to showcase herself to the world through her art. “I was able to do so slowly and comfortably. Small steps lead to a destination!” Focus on the positive. Allow yourself to enjoy compliments you received from taking that first step. Notice how any criticism doesn’t really mean a thing. The better you can make yourself feel, the more comfortable you’ll be taking a bigger step.

Justice for Khalil.

You have to be willing to put your best and unique gifts out into the world. Find ways to show yourself to the world that isn’t too uncomfortable. “I believe that success lies in pushing yourself to stay slightly outside of your comfort zone and making that your comfort zone.” If your talent is painting, but you fear to show anyone your work. You might choose to post your artwork anonymously online. Or you might try to sell your art in a gallery that’s out of town. There are like-minded people out there trying to do the same thing you are. Keeping with the artist theme, you could find other artists to spend time with. You can support each other. You can learn from each other. You’ll feel braver if you’re part of a community.

In order to fully embrace your individuality and unleash your inner colors, you must accept who you are and cultivate self love. The world needs you, so be willing to put it out there in a bigger and better way. Identify what’s unique about you. What can you do better than most people? What are your natural gifts and talents? What is unique about you? What can you bring to the world that’s in short supply? What is your greatest value to the world? How are you different from others? You’re worth the time to get to know yourself better. Find your own voice and allow your individuality to shine.

Follow Riley on Instagram.


Written by 37 Magazine

37 Magazine writes thought-provoking stories that transcend boundaries, providing transformative viewpoints on change and progress. Through an international readership of millions, every story empowers readers interested in gaining a wider outlook on life through diverse voices.

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