About Braids: This piece is up there in my favorites. It’s a digital piece I made my last year in college. I hand drew the hair and trenzas on paper and scanned it, then manipulated the pieces in Photoshop to create this. It’s about femininity and my struggle to accept my own beauty. I really hated my looks when I was in high school, I had really low self esteem and I had this image of myself that I wanted to look like someone else. I wanted to be thin, have straight hair like Posh Spice, straight teeth, and have less body hair. Not all, but some Latinas have a lot of body hair, and we have to do all this work to keep things looking “nice” if you know what I mean. This was something I thought about a lot, I hated that I was just so hairy! As funny as it sounds, I know I’m not the only Latina that went through this. I shaved my arms constantly and I just took forever getting rid of hair, straightening my hair, crying over how “big” I was. I guess something just clicked in my mid twenties where I said “Fuck that” and I stopped worrying about my arms and hair and weight. So this piece is a reflection of all that.
What elements of your identity do you transfer into your art?
I mostly paint girls, so for me each girl I paint or draw is a reflection of myself, sometimes they’re inspired by other women I admire but most of the time my fictional girls are just little pieces of myself. I sometimes write phrases or words I like, or relate to at the time onto my work.
As far as elements I use I would say colors, a lot of bright colors, and GOLD! I love gold. I take a lot of influences from my culture so I feel very free to use every and any color in the crayon box without mixing colors. Some art snobs would look down on this but I love vibrant colors. I also had to learn to just let go and do whatever the hell I wanted after art school so now I just go crazy and paint what I like, what makes me happy.
“Para mi Abuelo Gabino, en paz descanses,
Tengo tantas memorias lindas de ti, cierro los ojos y me acuerdo de tu cara y de tu alma.
Me acuerdo los fin de semanas que llegabas temprano, escuchaba tu troca desde lejos! Me saludabas con un apretón de manos fuerte. Y me dabas mi domingo, $2 uno para mí y otro para mi hermano pero siempre igual. Me apretabas la nariz y decías “No te pusieron nariz!”
El dia que te fuiste de esta tierra fue de repente. No fui a tu entierro porque no quería que esa fuera mi última memoria de ti. No soy religiosa y no sigo la doctrina pero soy espiritual, y me siento conectada a ti en momentos. Como el dia despues de tu entierro me viniste a visitar en mis sueños, y te despediste. Gracias por eso, me sentí mejor en verte una última vez.
Hay te veo después Abuelito, hasta luego.
Con cariño, tu nieta,
What have you learned about yourself from being a creator?
I’m really really really hard on myself. I’ve also learned that things won’t always turn out the way you pictured them in your head and that’s OK. As artists were always comparing ourselves to other artists. I’ve learned that I will never be satisfied with my art as harsh as that may sound. At the same time I like that about myself because it pushes me to make more, to always improve and learn new techniques. How boring life would be if we as artists made the same things over and over again! I leave that kind of routine at my desk job. Artists evolve, we’re forever students, always absorbing images and ideas in our heads to create new ones.
Part Three of Sarahe’s interview will be up on March 23rd.
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