HOW HAS YOUR BACKGROUND AFFECTED YOUR LIFE/ WORK?
Born in Puerto Rico, Raised in the Bronx until I was 14 then moved back to the center of PR to a very small town called Morovis, where everything was very “machista” and men were very loud. From a very early age I gave hints of my queerness and was silenced so I grew up admiring the women of my culture and the work they did with their hands. I learned that this was how they expressed themselves in spaces where they were not expected to speak over men. As an adult I’ve learned to embrace my silence and feel empowered through understanding the work I do with my hands as its own form of language, whether I’m creating a painting, putting together a look or a preparing a Caribbean dish. This has been fundamental in how I see my craft. I’m carrying on the tradition of these woman. The relationship between the US and PR is so fucked up and I see the struggle of the entire island being silenced by the U.S. media. I feel strongly that the story of my people needs to be kept alive. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than putting in to practice all that my mothers have taught me.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU (UPCOMING PROJECTS)
I’m currently exploring food as my next subject and medium. This is how I’ve introduced myself to my new friends/family here in the city. Since I moved back to New York 4 1/2 years ago I’ve been working in the jewelry industry and the techniques I’ve learned there have informed a series of painting that tell my story. They are colorful and they are loud. I hope to exhibit these pieces with an enormous feast that I prepare for the opening night.
Photo: Dan Gutt