Human of the Week is an initiative by KosmicKult, featuring queer individuals who are killin’ it in their fields. Every week, we celebrate an individual (preferably human) by showcasing their work and talent. Through this, we aim to create a platform for representation of queer folk.

Steve Aparicio

Step into the colorful world of Steve Aparicio, an illustrator and visual artist from El Salvador.

Although professing a creative streak from childhood, Steve never thought to explore art until his college years, whilst he was studying graphic design in university. Yet, Steve credits art with being a much needed outlet, after dropping out of college due to financial circumstances in 2014. Being academically driven, the loss of that focal point in his life robbed Steve of his direction and motivation, sending him into a downward spiral. After seeing the work of some artists, Steve felt the desire to draw. By the end of 2014, he decided to focus on making illustration his career, and started his instagram page, where his bold use of colors, shapes and linework soon drew clients from El Salvador, America, Spain and even Australia.

We spoke with Steve to find out about his work, inspirations and how his identity informs his art.

1. How did you develop such a unique and identifiable style? Has it always been this way?

I think when you start, you have no idea what you want to do or the style you want to develop.
I have always had diverse tastes, so one day I can be obsessed with the work of artists with a realistic style, but the next day I can be obsessed with the work of an artist with a more abstract artistic vision.

From this, I started by integrating all the elements I liked about the work of my favorite artists, and gradually built towards a style that showcased my tastes and personality.

My work is full of textures and colors that contrast and fill each illustration with details. I get inspiration from the cultural and natural diversity of Latin America.

I think that style is something that can evolve and I like to try new things. So my style probably won't remain the same over the coming years.

2. What’s your favourite piece of work that you made? Tell us about it!

It's hard to choose one because I like them for different reasons. But I think this piece is always one of the first that comes to mind, because it's one of the first illustrations that I made to talk about LGBT rights. It’s also one of the pieces that began to define the artistic style that I have today. 

'Pride Girls' by Steve Aparicio

3. What’s your proudest moment or achievement in your career so far?

My proudest moment goes back to my first steps into the world of illustration in 2015, when I started participating in art markets and events to sell my illustrations and products. Seeing people's positive reactions when they saw my work gave me an overwhelming feeling of happiness and validation. That gave me the confidence to persist and believe in my work.

4. The characters you create are so full of personality, and so diverse in their traits. What inspires you to create them this way?

I think the individuality of the human being is one of the most beautiful things to exist, and I like to represent that in my work. We all look and express ourselves differently and that's what makes us unique.

Beauty should not conform to a standard, nor should it be represented in just one way. I honestly have a lot to explore and show with my characters and work, and that motivates me to keep creating.

'Winnie' by Steve Aparicio

5. We love that you touch subtly on queer topics in many of your work, and the response has been largely positive! How does that make you feel?

I couldn't believe it at first. My work began to gain exposure when I started to include those themes in my work.
I think it comes down to being honest and vulnerable about your emotions, and what you believe in and will fight for.
At first, it was intimidating to start sharing this kind of work because I didn't have much time to be honest and open about my sexuality. But it certainly helped me to have more confidence and be able to show the world the real Steve.

Steve Aparicio


6. What aspect of creating art do you value the most?

I think what I value most is the freedom it gives you to express your emotions and perspectives. It allows you to share with more people and find connections through that.

7.  What do you hope to achieve with your work? Is there a message you want to spread?

It was really a long journey of coming to this state of openness. This question is difficult because it's something I ask myself every day. I think I'm still in the process of defining my voice as an artist. 

I want to be real and honest and showcase that through my work. I want to express my feelings, and be a voice for the things I support. And I would like to be able to continue using my work to discuss issues related to inclusion and diversity. I think I still have a lot to show and represent.

8.  Who are some artists/creatives that you follow or look up to?

There are too many artists I admire and all for different reasons. But some of them are:


 You may find Steve Aparicio on Instagram at @steve_aparicio