Visual Artist, Curator, Pantera's Mom (Pantera is the street chihuahua I adopted on a surf trip near Zihuatanejo, MX)
I am Mexican-American, born in El Paso, Texas, raised in San Diego California. After studying Art History at UC Santa Barbara... I followed my wild 21-year-old heart to New York where I worked in fashion and art direction. In 2014 I heard the ancestral call and opened my art studio in Mexico City, where I currently work painting murals, illustrating, and painting live portraits. Wherever art is needed... I am your gal!
Can you briefly walk us through your story to becoming the woman you are today... *
I think I entered this artist's life through the back door. Since my first memory- drawing... was... my... thang! Because drawing came so naturally to me, I thought it did for everyone else as well. I didn't realize it was something special. We often make that mistake- we don't value what comes natural to us. Scared to dive headfirst into art, I did everything in its orbit: museum work, fashion styling, window displays... sales! My Chicano parents put a lot of pressure on my sisters and me to be PERFECT, so I never felt safe to experiment with my passions. I was terrified of failure, especially to fail at what I am in love with- what I didn't realize is once you follow your heart... you can't fail.
What is the most impactful experience that has shaped who you are today? *
It is funny because really... all of the failures, the dark times, the crisis... has helped me to get closer to my dreams. They have all prepared me to jump when the doors of opportunity have opened. My father was an alcoholic, so I was inspired to leave home at 17, making me quite independent. I put myself through school- which made me very conscious of finances fast, and put the fire under me to hustle (still paying those loans off, hehe). I too have been fired from jobs that I thought I loved, only to realize they were distracting me from my true dreams. Overcoming these challenges gave me the bravery to start my career in New York, and take major professional risks like open my studio in the wild metropolis of Mexico City. In the end, all of those rough times, build the necessary grit to take on the world.
Has it been a smooth road? *
The road is certainly full of bumps. I think the hard part is... when we are going THROUGH IT, it is impossible to see what the silver lining will be in the moment. When the going gets rough I have to remind myself that it is temporary. Before bed, I try to mentally gather the good things of the day and REALLY express gratitude. This practice has been such a game-changer. Also, my secret is... wake up, put on a bomb outfit, and just believe that you will get out on top. I don't know if fashion will save us... but at least we will look good trying, haha.
What's something that you're currently doing or working on that excites you or you're most proud of? *
Working during the pandemic has been wild. When Covid took to the main stage... I thought... work was over. I thought my career is done! Why didn't I take my parent's advice and become a doctor! I had bought the nonsense that art is the first thing to go, which I realized is just a misconception, in tough times we are drawn to art! I have been so surprised by the support my studio has had during the pandemic! Snoop Dogg ordered a portrait! SNOOP D O Double G! Along with some really awesome families who commissioned work, friends, and collectors who bought prints all over the world, a new mural that I just completed about the history of medicine in Mexico, along with producing new work for my first solo show at the Viceroy Los Cabos on January 8, 2021- book that ticket!
How does what you're currently doing now impact you? *
I just inaugurated a mural about the past present and future of medicine in Mexico. This project had a huge impact on my creative process because the topic was so outside of my comfort zone. I spent more hours researching for this than any other previous mural. My challenge was to create a visual narrative that would connect with the people who work in an industry that was totally foreign to me. I started at zero, it was scary! I spent hours in the library, interviewed scientists, and then- a global pandemic happened and made the concept of health less abstract. If good health is happiness, the medical field and the arts are very connected- creatively tackling challenges in the pursuit of joy. This project reminded me of the power of art, and how rewarding it is to work in uncharted territory.
What advice would you give to fellow women trying to make an impact? *
Just GO! Often we take more time planning, making lists, and thinking about how to get something off the ground- that time is better spent just DOING! Let the process inform the journey and welcome the mistakes and hiccups along the way.
How do you create "balance" in your life with all you do? *
It is not easy but I started to schedule a "do nothing" slot time during the week. It feels indulgent to push pause when 1,000 things are due, emails and texts are flooding in, and you feel like there is never enough time in the day. However, I realized that this negative space in a busy day fuels me and makes me more present, productive, creative, and resourceful during the working hours. During this time I am disconnected, no mails, no social media, no chatting- I just kinda see where the wind blows me in this time... perhaps I read a book, take a long walk with my dog Pantera, binge on Ru Paul's Drag race, watch fashion shows, or doodle something totally unrelated to current projects. Exercise is also really important to me. In December 2019 I was diagnosed with hypothyroid, and have to be very conscious of what I eat while getting in the fitness. I do ballet and got into pilates online (I always resisted pilates, and now I am addicted). I love that I can roll outta bed, and get a class online before going to work in the studio. It has helped my zen levels, and my sleep a lot!
We as women have many superpowers, what is one of yours? *
I wish I could say multitasking, or napping on command- but... alas no. I can write your name on a grain of rice... I am bilingual... and I can draw your portrait in 3 minutes. Wonderwoman is most likely shaking her head right now- ha!
Let's go girls!
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