Can you describe your work for us in 7 words or less
intuitive, playful, queer, figurative, tactile, dense
Being an artist can be a challenging profession, what advice would you give to your younger self?
It’s hard to say because I still feel like I am in the beginning of my career. I think I would tell myself to research and find more contemporary artists that can inspire and challenge me. Also to have confidence in the work that I am making and not to rely on others for affirmation.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Kali Uchis, SZA, Princess Nokia and Tierra Whack have been on repeat for the past few weeks. All of these artists inspire me for many reasons. It’s exciting to see so many women in music really doing their thing, and it’s especially inspiring to get to hear another artistic voice from Philly (Tierra Whack). These musicians deal with some of the same things in their music that I deal with in my work, so listening to them can be a way for me to tap into some of the themes in my work but also motivation in the studio.
What do you look at for inspiration?
Growing up and living in Philadelphia and coming from a Puerto Rican household has influenced my process and material choices in my work. If you look around Philly you’ll notice that so much of the environment is physically layered and responding to the architecture or objects that were previously there. I see my process of collage as a way of layering material and visual information to create a conceptual space relating to ideas of queerness and place. I also look to other artists whose work is similar to mine and spend a lot of time researching. Going out to shows and First Friday exhibitions always gets me inspired and motivated.
What artists inspire you most?
Mickalene Thomas and Kerry James Marshall are forever my top. But right now I am looking at Kenny Rivero, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Pat Phillips, Troy Michie, and Cheyenne Julien.
Who would be a dream artist to collaborate with?
I would be overwhelmed with excitement to meet or work with any of the artists I listed above. The dream would be to have a show with any of them.
What’s something that you learned early in your career that you feel made you a better artist?
To keep making work despite everything. As an artist there are so many moments where you feel stuck because you are overwhelmed by possibility or where you really don't know what the next thing is. If you just keep making work, things piece themselves together, and you will get to an open door. Be patient with yourself because you are not a machine. Also I think it is important to write about your work and to stick with a community of people or artists who you can talk to about your work.
Why did you apply to become a resident at Jasper Studios? And what did you hope to achieve during the residency program?
I applied to become a resident at Jasper Studios because I had just graduated undergrad and needed a space to keep making work. Jasper Studios has given me a space where I can work large and pursue the same concepts and processes which I was working on towards the end of my undergraduate education. While at Jasper my goal was to make a body of work that really pushed the tactile/sculptural quality of my paintings, while still exploring themes of queerness, gender, landscape, and material culture in America and Puerto Rico.