“So, why art?”
I get asked that question a lot! I think almost every artist get asked the same question about the work that they do – the why question. Out of all the things in the world that you could be doing, why did you choose this profession or why this medium of art. And the response that I use to give was “I didn’t really choose it, it chose me.” (more…)
Here in NYC, this weekend is the beginning of the yearly Memorial Day weekend!
This is the time of year where the great people of the US honor the men and women who fight/fought for our country. Manhattan is swarmed with men and women in uniform! It’s kind of cool to see where they came from and the stories that they have. (more…)
Do you have those days when you think you’re not good looking??
Women nowadays think they are ugly as heck! Recently I asked an old friend of mine if I could use her as one of the models for my paintings, and she said NO! (a capital letter yelling kind of no). (more…)
Mother’s Day is coming up & it’s that time of year to reflect on all of the amazing things that your mother has done for you. So instead of talking about my art, I’m devoting this entirely to my mother. But this year, I reflect on the things that I’ve done to my mother and I will confess – it’s a lot. (more…)
When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, the after math was heartbreaking.
Coney Island was buried in sand, homes were left in ruins and trains were down for days and days on end. I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life! Hurricane Sandy was a true force of nature and we all completely underestimated her.
As a kid I always enjoyed playing outdoors. My father would take my siblings and I to go hiking, bike riding or to play sports. One of the many reasons why I love visiting my childhood home is because of the trees. When you live in New York City, the only trees you will ever find are in Central Park (and I’m sorry my fellow New Yorkers, but they do not count!). It’s because of my relationship with the great outdoors that I’ve grown to love and respect it.
After Hurricane Sandy had passed, my father and brother decided to remove the storm debris from the backyard. I ran outside with my camera to document them working because it hit me: mother nature can not only be peaceful and calm – she can also be destructive and unpredictable. Just like human beings. Which mean’s we’re not that different…that’s the greatest lesson.
Instead of taking landscape images like other amazing photographers such as Ansel Adams and Sally Mann, I wanted to get up close and personal. Because the details and shadows that nature create are rarely documented and you would be surprised what amazing things lie just a few inches of us:
So this was a way of paying respect back to nature and understanding her just a bit more. Because she is Mother to us all and it wouldn’t hurt to show her some love in return. And with this attitude of gratitude of appreciating what is around me, that was one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned.
Now it’s time to share your story!
Who (or what) was your most influential teacher? What lessons did you learn that changed the way you are? Leave a comment below and let me know what was your greatest lesson of all
I would love to hear your story.
Til next time – much love,
A couple of days ago, I invited some friends over to show them some of my photo pieces.
I always like to get advice from friends so I can see how they interpret my work. They asked me how did I take the photos I told them that those pieces were taking with an analog/film camera. They replied: “Why are you still working with film? Why don’t you just stick with digital photography? No one does film photography anymore.”
A lot of people have asked me this question – they get confused as to why I still use analog and don’t take advantage of my digital camera. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely do use a digital camera and it works wonders. It’s quicker, easier and I have more control. Even my mentors say to me “You’re still working with film?”
If you think about it, as an artist, it’s a logical choice to make. Why wouldn’t I drop film and go to digital! It’s because I like to make sure that my brain isn’t turning into mush, or as I like to call it, I want to make sure I don’t turn into those artistic zombies.
Here me out a bit:
1- We live in a world of instant gratification!
Many people my age (and younger) lose their temper when the internet on their phone takes more then three seconds to load or when a person in front of them is walking too slow. With technology making it’s way into our life, we lose all patience and want things done now. We feel entitled to have instant gratification with everything. Much like zombies who are constantly looking for brains now!
2- In order to really have the things that we want in life, we have to WORK for it!
Many famous artists, actors and entrepreneurs that are known all over the world because of their success did not get to there overnight. They had to put in YEARS of time and effort to get to where they are and go through so much trial and error. With technology moving fast, we don’t have the actually need to put in the time. Film photography requires not just time but patience, attention to detail and brainstorming. Something that is fading little by little. Those people I call lazy zombies.
3- It forces my modern mind to slow down, be grateful and appreciate the process!
I’m considered a millennial and I do have days where the self-entitled zombie will come out and crave for instant gratification. But because I’m aware of it that is why I love working with film photography. This method isn’t the kind where you can sit behind a desk and see what you are doing. When working with film, you are constantly going back and forth from the darkroom editing images from scratch. Film brings me back to a humble place and reminds me to never take the easy route because greatness is never a given, it must be earned (and that my friends is from President Obama himself!)
Now it’s time for you to change the world.
Leave a comment below explaining your way of slowing down and appreciating what you have. Or if you are still a busy bee, explain how you can slow things down and work with an attitude of gratitude.
By the age of eight, I felt that I was ugly.
There were so many times when I was being picked on as a kid because I was Colombian, flat chested and didn’t wear any cool clothes that were in style. I come from a working-class family and (more…)
A few years ago, a very dear friend of mine committed suicide. It tore me to pieces.
For those who haven’t experienced a loss like this, there are no words to describe the feeling. The feeling of knowing that your friend left this world by choice. Later I learned that the main reason for his actions was from being bullied and chastised constantly art school. (more…)
Like many art students in New York City, I graduated college with a prestigious degree and I was broke.
My days consisted of chaos: Wake up, work a day job, come home, and make art all night wishing there were enough hours in the day to get other things done. I was religiously going to gallery and museum shows hoping to make connections and apply to exhibitions. By the time I arrived home, I slept for 3 hours only to wake up and do everything all over again. Suddenly after a long day where I felt completely drained, something dawned on me that I never noticed until now:
The one thing that college FAILED to teach me was that the art world is a business world.
And I had no business savvy in me at all. Everyday I felt like a deer in headlights thinking how do I do this? How do I live the artist life? Am I going about this the right way?
I was going to all these artist shows and making all this work only to be rejected and unnoticed. It made me questions whether I was even talented enough to do this for a living. My artist friends would tell me “But it gets better!” Nope, it doesn’t. As a working artist living in New York City in a small studio apartment with two cats, being an artist is not a career. Being an artist is a lifestyle and you need to find the method to the madness.
For years I knew that I wanted to become an artist but was stopped by fear: fear of failing, fear of disappointment, and fear of the unknown. But I realized that I couldn’t run away from who I am. I’m a creative. It’s what I was born to do and it’s what brings me joy. No matter what day job I take, nothing will ever fill that feeling of creating artwork. Simple right? You’d be surprised how scary that is.
So as I sit here in my apartment preparing for a show coming up this summer, I want to share with you my method on how you can live an artist life with confidence and bravado:
1 – It is going to be difficult.
You’re going to make a lot of bad decisions and have a high failure rate. You’re going to encounter people who will never understand who you and why you choose to stay up late creating while the rest of the world sleeps. You’re going to get out of your comfort zone and deal with change on a regular basis. You will never ever know what is going to happen next and every single day will scare the hell out of you to the point to where you want to quit. And even though this will happen and it might not get better, YOU will get better. You will get better living and working as a artist because it is who you are. And it is this mindset, you will definitely go far.
2 – You need a day job.
This one is where I received a lot of backlash but it’s necessary to address. You need to eat, you have bills to pay and you probably have a studio that you rent out as well as your own apartment. If you are going into the art world to make money or be a big shot then please stop and do something else. The truth of the matter is you probably won’t be making a lot of money (at first) and you are more likely to spend money then make. Remember the whole purpose of you being an artist is because this is your calling and it’s who you are. If you think you need to be working on art 24/7 in order to be a “real artist” I have news for you – no one makes art 24/7. And if it makes you feel any better, a high percentage of artists that you see in galleries and in museums…they have day jobs too.
3 – Keep working no matter what.
Just like writers have writers block, artist can have an artist block. There will be days where you will not be motivated to make anything or you don’t know what to make and you might say to yourself “I’ll just wait for inspiration to come to me!” Please know that if you wait for inspiration, you will never get anything done. Also, not every single art piece you make is going to be great – and that’s okay! This is for you to explore, to find your voice and to find your style. The greatest work comes from trial and error. Give yourself a deadline, mark it on your calendar, find something that will keep you motivated to work on your craft. Even if you feel like you are making crap, just keep working because remember you’re creating because you love the process
So I say to you my fellow creators and to anyone else who feels like the world is against them: keep working, be bold & be YOU! Because no one can take that way from you.
Now, it’s time to show the world what you are made of!
Leave a comment below with an example of when you broke your barrier from giving up to taking on the world by storm! I would love to hear your story.
A couple of years ago while attending college, my professor at the time made it a requirement to attend The Armory Show located in New York City. Her name was Asya Reznikov, an amazing video & sculpture artist (highly suggest you take a look at her work). She told me that I would benefit from the show…and I have attended every show ever since. (more…)