Faculty Spotlight: Cecelia DeLeon

Headshot of Cecelia DeLeon, a Chicana woman with curly black hair wearing heart-shaped sunglasses

Earlier this month, we hosted our paid Art 4 Life Digital internship. It was a great week, and one of the people responsible for this was the program’s co-Teaching Artist Cecelia DeLeon! We thought you should get to know a little more about her. 

What made you decide to become a teaching artist? 
I dropped out of an art college, stopped doing art for years after that, and bounced job to job. Doing art always brought me back to a therapeutic place and reminded me that when I did it, I was doing something I loved. Many random jobs and unhappiness later, I was googling “art teacher seattle”, or something along the lines of that, and after looking at the results, arts corps came up. I reached out, was hired as a Classroom Assistant and the rest is history! Being a Teaching Artist is cool because I can show up authentically as myself and I can teach my youth how to bring out their inner artist.

What do you like about Art 4 Life digital in particular?
There is a huge gap in this type of digital programming for our youth and Art 4 Life is creating the bridge of access for our most marginalized population. The way digital art is taking over the art scene right now is crazy! I think it’s cool that Art 4 Life can bring young artists together so that they can learn Procreate and how to create art digitally. This internship is teaching them a skill so that they can keep up with the art trends and which is a really useful tool to have.

What was one of your favorite moments of the internship?
Besides getting to know the students and seeing their artwork, I think one of my favorite moments would be when one of our students gave me instructions on how to use the Symmetry tool. You could tell she was really enjoying the class and was paying attention because she gave me clear instructions and guided me on what I needed to select within the menu to use the tool.

What is a message that you like to impart onto your students?
Don’t be afraid to do things on your own and learn new things! Always ask questions! Get connected with other artists in your community!

What are some of your own creative practices?
Sometimes I’ll switch it up from analog to digital because I like to do it all, I enjoy painting murals and creating illustrations on Procreate. I like cutting up paper and making collages or bringing out the gouache and just going to town! 

Do you have any projects coming up that you’d like to share?
I am currently finishing up a mural for Washington Health Plan Finder that will be installed in Granger, WA and I am doing a couple of illustration commissions for clients that I am pretty excited about because I am using Procreate to do them. 

Seattle-born, White Center raised, Cecelia DeLeon is a multidisciplinary public artist working under the alias Mousy DeVilla. Often switching back from digital works using Procreate, Adobe Software to acrylic paintings, mixed media arts, and collage artworks. She draws inspiration from the neighborhoods and cities she’s lived in and continues to serve her community as a Teaching Artist. The social justice themes explored in her bold and colorful work weave in the conversation around welcoming immigrants, uplifting BIPOC communities, and paying homage to Washington where she was born, while celebrating her identity as “Chicana”, the hyphen in Mexican-American. She’s created artwork for traffic boxes around King County, a mural for Food Lifeline, and has had work shown at the Tacoma Art Museum.