Explicit art


TM Carlos Ruiz

Lisa Naranjo, art major, works on a painting that is part of a series of paintings depicting abuse, relationships, over-sexualization and liberation of women.

Carlos Ruiz, Sports Editor

Stand in front of Lisa Naranjo’s art and you’ll see a series filled with forced religion, abuse, strained relationships and the sexualization of women and another focused on fantasy and liberation from those ideas.

While these ideals may seem complex, this art major at Cerritos College says these topics are what motivate her craft.

Growing up, Naranjo went through her own personal experience of child abuse. With her dad and step mother being Christians there were a lot of religious beliefs that were enforced upon her causing her to feel degraded.

TM Carlos Ruiz
Naranjo’s work focuses on themes like abuse, strained relationships and the over-sexualization of women. This painting depicts a very sad performance, trying to entertain, but not wanting to do it. Painted on canvas board.

“I have two sides of parents; I have my father and stepmother and then I have my very supportive mother and stepfather.

“My mother and stepfather are the ones who pushed me towards my art, they try to make it [a big deal] because it was something I would always do,” Naranjo said.

Naranjo’s mother is highly supportive of her daughter’s artwork. Naranjo recalls, “She usually says ‘It’s amazing, you can be a cartoonist, you can get that job at Disney!'”

Living with her father and stepmother for a large part of her life, “They never encouraged my art.

“When I used to get in trouble with my stepmother she would rip it, burn it or throw it in the trash right in front of me,” said Naranjo.

Naranjo expressed how these events would make her angry and sad.

She explained how art is her world, so it was almost as if she was getting her world ripped apart.

It wasn’t until her sophomore year of high school when she moved in with her mom.

In order to get there, Naranjo explains how her mental breakdown forced her father and stepmother to push her onto her mom, not wanting to deal with the problem.

Through her art she now demonstrates being liberated.

Art has always been an escape for her when she was dealing with her past. Naranjo said, “It was my own fantasy world to escape from reality.”

Naranjo started working with the aspects of art in the sixth grade, but didn’t start with paint.

She started creating with strictly pencil because she enjoyed having control over her drawings.

When she started drawing in the sixth grade she was inspired by anime. Anime was a calling for her when she was looking for friendships.

Certain shows such as “Sailor Moon,” “Digimon” and “Pokemon” were among the many that inspired her to draw.

Besides anime, when she was younger she would attend school field trips to art museums and would be amazed at how the art was painted, sculpted and created.

Although she would gaze upon these historical artifacts, “I never had the confidence, I realized it’s just practice and you can be as good as anyone.”

Naranjo doesn’t necessarily look up to famous artists, but personally looks up to her fellow classmates and occasionally has friendly competitions with one of them for fun.

TM Carlos Ruiz
This painting centers around a theme of escape, with paradise on the left side and Hell on the right side. The painting took Naranjo two months to complete and was done on two canvases.


Naranjo has completed some goals such as getting into the student art gallery and is graduating this spring semester.

After Cerritos College, Naranjo wants to go to Disney and was offered an internship with Cartoon Network.

When she was a sophomore in high school, she took a bunch of sketchbooks with her to an anime expo and decided to share her drawings with the Cartoon Network table.

Once she gets her feet wet in the art industry, she wants to go to Cal State Long Beach and explore.

Future goals for her would be to find something that matches, what she loves to do.

She has a dream of putting her art up in galleries, when she has a bit more confidence she believes it’s possible.

“It’s a process, although I have a good four semesters of painting under my belt I feel like I’m still just a beginner,” Naranjo said.

Naranjo describes art as a place where you can lose yourself and still have a piece turn out amazing.

“It wasn’t until last semester when I fully got into painting. ‘I hate painting’ is what I used to tell the professor and he would say ‘no, get into it, think of something more personal,’” Naranjo said.

With the many compiled series’ Naranjo has been working on, she still manages to have little mini side projects. “Later on I wanna develop my own web comic, but it hasn’t really worked out because I’m a terrible writer.”

She wants to focus on how teenagers have different lives, one being at home and the other at school.

Naranjo has many upcoming focuses and ventures in which she wants to focus in on her past.

“I was never able to express it when I was younger and now that I’m older nobody can tell me what to do,” said Naranjo.

She explains how art gets her to interact with more people. When it came down to the viewing of her series on abuse, Naranjo said, “Sometimes my art touches people. I’ve had people say ‘I understand, I’ve kind of been through this too.'”

The stunning and dramatic imagery are instilled upon the audience when taking a moment to reflect on Naranjo’s art pieces.

When it came down to it the reaction of the viewers makes Naranjo feel like she’s not alone. When she meets people with similar pasts they connect and have a support group for each other by each other.

“Art is fucking amazing, the whole art world is incredible and it doesn’t get a lot of credit in certain areas and I think it should be more credited. Everyone needs that relief that will help release the stress,” said Naranjo.

For all the idealists who are stuck in their shell and can’t seem to get out there and start dabbling with art, Naranjo says “Just do it, everyone in the art community is nice.

“I think of it as one big family and you [never] know where you’re going to go with art.”

Naranjo said, “I would’ve never dreamed of touching paint, but here I am doing oil paint [and working] on my own series.

“The possibilities are endless with