Modern Day Hippie Profile: Vanessa Rivera August 30 2015

Beginning this month, we will be profiling a few of the amazing Modern Day Hippies we have gotten in touch with over the past year. In the process of building this vision and brand, we have been blessed enough to connect with some very inspirational men and women. These hippies are young, beautiful, conscious, ambitious, and just like you. Please continue reading and get inspired by their stories.


Artist/Graphic Designer



Instagram: @vjrivera

What's your zodiac sign?

Cancer! but I'm not THAT emotional lol. I'm a Cancer / Leo cusp.

What is your definition of a Modern Day Hippie and how do you identify as one?

A Modern Day Hippie to me is someone who believes in the ways of the universe, collective conciousness, and oneness. Someone who is conscious of self and our generations failures and successes. Modern Day Hippies are not afraid to be different and aren't easily swayed into hype. We live a different lifestyle and that's what intrigues people about us. For me, that lifestyle includes a lot of meditation, interaction with nature, and reading.

How would you define your style?

I'm a very chill person and I think that tends to reflect in my fashion style. The most important thing for me is comfort. If I'm not comfortable in it I won't wear it, no matter how cute it is. I'm also an artist with an introverted and extroverted side. I can be very quiet and observant, but I am also outgoing and social. My style reflects that. I'm either in all black or super colorful. It just depends on my mood for the day.

Where do you like to shop?

I don't really have a place I consistently shop. I tend to buy things very randomly. I enjoy shopping when I'm traveling because it's always something no one else will have. That's important to me. I like reflecting my individuality by having things that are cool but exclusive. I'm also huge on backpacks! I find great backpacks at Urban Outfitters, but my favorite one right now I bought in Amsterdam.

How did you decide to start on your venture/career path?

I didn't choose my career, it chose me. It may sound cheesy but it's true. I never planned to be an artist. I remember being really creative and drawing a lot when I was little, then I hit 4th grade and I started being more into my friends. After my dad died in 2009, art became my release. I drew a portrait of him the first fathers day after he passed away. After that piece, I never let art go. No matter how far I thought I was getting from it, it always reels me back in. I think that's how you know your purpose, when you continuously return to it without any effort. In September 2013, I showed my art to the world for the first time and that's when I started pursuing art as a career. A year and a half later I had my first solo art show. It's been an interesting few years.

I'm also a graphic designer, which I thought was something I wasn't going to pursue after college. Originally, I studied graphic design because it was a happy medium between art and making money while making art. Surprisingly I've been doing pretty well in the design field since I graduated from USC. I enjoy making my clients happy and I make money off of it. It's great!


Who and what are your influences and inspirations?

Basquiat is my greatest influence and inspiration. It was after I watched "Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child" that I realized the power of art. It made me realize why I wanted to be an artist in the first place. It's hard to explain what it is that Basquiat has that made me feel... something. For a long time, I didn't know what that feeling was, or why his art made me feel anything. I just knew that he had a message and for a long time I was intrigued by him. I studied his pieces and I tried to figure it out. It wasn't until I went to his exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum earlier this year that I realized what it all meant, and I still can't really explain it. Every piece is a message filled with messages but in order to understand the message you have to pay very close attention and you have to know his references. It's like you have to work to understand his pieces and in that search, you grow and it's so rewarding. That's what I want to do with my pieces. I don't want to just hand you the juice! I want to give people enough bits and pieces to make them curious and have them search for more. I've learned that people don't appreciate anything that is simply handed to them. People appreciate things that they have earned. At the end of the day, I want to teach. I want people to wake up.


What are you biggest dreams?

My biggest dream is to be someone that continues to help people after death. My biggest dream is to make a life-changing difference in peoples lives. You'd probably expect me to say that I want to be some famous memorable artist. Well, if that's how my purpose is meant to play out, which I believe is a possibility, then sure I want to be a memorable artist. However, if I was to accomplish this dream through some other medium then I would be just as happy with that. 

What are some of the challenges you face?

I expect a lot out of myself. I am very ambitious and I believe I have a built up a reputation of being that. I expect myself to be very successful in all that I do. It has become a challenge because when I am not performing at the level I expect myself to I can be very hard on myself. I forget that there's a journey to success and in that journey every moment is not going to be a peak.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Honestly, I don't know. I stopped planning things a long time ago. 5 years ago, nothing that I thought would happen is reality now. Some parts of my life are far better and some aren't. I'm just a soul enjoying the journey. All I know is that I'll be successful in whatever I do.


What piece of advice would you give to other young people trying to pursue their dreams?

Man. I'm still trying to find some advice for myself but I think the most important thing is to take things step by step. People get easily discouraged by pondering on everything that they must do to get to the finish line. Stay focused on what you need to do right now. We will always be able to handle the present. The thought of something is always worse than the actual moment. Don't look up and think of how many more steps you need to take to get to the top of the mountain. Concentrate on where your foot needs to land next. Next thing you know, you'll look up and be exactly where you wanted to be.

What themes do you wish to see in our generation in 2015?

I think that our generation has a lot of extremes. I see a lot more people starting to gain consciousness of how we've affected society in the last few years. I think there's room for so much improvement in our society and communities. I would really love to see people unite to fight this whole police brutality issue. For me that means having peaceful protests where everyone is free to join without worrying about getting killed because of gang violence. I would like people to understand that this issue is beyond the petty gang rivalry. What I would really love to see is for gangs to really look at the premises of what they have built and understand the stupidity and manipulation behind it all.

Anything else we should know?

I love trees! I like listening to birds sing. And sometimes God makes my dreams come true.


Vanessa is wearing vintage pieces provided by Modern Day Hippie. Styling: @VByJamilVeals. Photography: @dre.a