An Interview with Latin for Glory

Latin for Glory is an artist from Miami, Florida.

Here she talks to Artists Info about her work as an artist.

Please describe your artwork style.

My artwork style is realistic with a whimsical tone. I like to portray objects realistically, such as bull skulls, and place them within a magical context.

My work is very symbolic and layered with meaning. The motifs are bold, colours are vivid, and there is always a great sense of detail and depth in my pieces.

The subject matter is always centred on the paper, giving it importance and predominance in the composition. I aim for my artistic style to be universal and speak to both men and women. This is achieved by creating pieces that balance masculine and feminine elements in as many ways as possible.

What’s your background?

I am born and raised in Miami by Dominican parents with Italian, Spanish, and German roots.

How long have you been an artist?

Art has always been in my life –  it is a part of who I am. I have dedicated myself to the pursuit of art and following my calling since I can remember. If you ask my mother, she will say she’s known I am an artist since early childhood, specifically at age four during a kindergarten project where I drew her portrait very accurately.

Who or what are your biggest influences?

The biggest influence to my art is my spirituality. I believe, and feel, that creativity comes from a sacred source and is a direct connection to the highest power – regardless of what religion you practice. I’ve always drawn and painted, but my artwork didn’t gain true meaning until I started to feed my soul. I went from drawing objects such as shoes, to making works of art that stemmed from within. My work evolved from superficial subject matters into pieces that tell stories, evoke analyzation, and elevate the spirit.

One of my biggest outside influences is the artist Retna. I’ve felt a connection to his work since I first started attending Art Basel in Miami as a young girl. Throughout the years, I continued to be inspired by his art, and the career he has built around his distinctive vision and style. His artwork is not only beautiful, but it is powerful and symbolic – an aspect that speaks to me on a spiritual level. Since last year, I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with him, shadowing him on projects during his visits to Miami. I had the honour of assisting him earlier this year on a commission in which he painted his first boat, a Van Dutch yacht. It was a truly unforgettable experience. After all the hard work during the hot day, we took the yacht out for a ride and admired the city of Miami coming to life at sunset.

How have you developed your career?

My career has been quite the ride! I started my higher education in Architecture, then merged into interior design. Upon graduation, I worked as a professional interior designer and project manager for some time.  A great opportunity led me to explore Press Relations and Marketing in the fashion industry – specifically luxury footwear. Then the plot twist occurred – I decided to pack my bags and buy a one-way ticket to Madrid, Spain. I lived there for a little over a year with my fiancé, seeking inspiration, and dedicating myself to developing the series, Running of the Bulls.  Life brought me back to Miami, where I have been focusing on creating my own path as an artist. This year has been particularly important to my career because I reached my goal of opening my first art studio, as well as quitting my part-time so that I can be an artist all day, every day. I am continuing to evolve and develop as an artist and cannot wait to see what the future has in store!

Which current art world trends are you following?

My artwork goes against trends –it is timeless, stands on its own, and doesn’t need to “follow” the popular grain. Trends are temporary and fleeting, a concept which doesn’t speak to me at any level. I want to be unique in all my approaches both in art and life. It is a minor reason why I work with colour pencils – because not many people do it.

Where do you do your work? 

I work from my art studio located in the Miami Design District. I have converted it to be a space of creativity, freedom, dedication, and good vibes. I want anyone that visits to feel inspired and motivated to go after their dreams.

What do you feel is the role of the artist in society?

The role of the artist in society is to communicate. Artists have the ability to speak with others in such a unique and divine way. We can spark conversations without uttering a word communicate emotions, history, politics, inspiration, war, and love. The opportunities, and methods to share with the world are endless. I also feel that the role of the artist is becoming very important to society, especially with all the negativity and destruction occurring around the world. We have the power to give hope, inspire others, and add colour to everyday life.

What techniques/mediums do you use? 

My main body of work is created using colour pencils on paper. Colour pencils have been my ‘tool of the trade’ since I was a child. In the hectic, fast-paced world we live in, they allow me to mould my own time. It requires a lot of patience, dedication, and persistence. The drawings I create take anywhere between 80 – 200 hours to complete, depending on the scale and amount of details. I use colour pencils in a way that the final product has a semi-gloss finish that is achieved by pressing down really hard on the paper with the pencils, and building layer upon layer for a waxy coat.

In addition to drawing, I love playing around with paint. Spray paint and acrylics allow me to be more expressive and let go. They also help give my wrist a break from pressing down on a flat surface all day long. I also want to explore different mediums such as clay sculpting and carpentry.

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed? 

Both! Art that does not contain both a subject and proper execution is as meaningless as jotting down a bunch of random words without a purpose. Will Smith once said, “There is no easy way around it. No matter how talented you are, your talent is going to fail you if you are not skilled. If you don’t study, work really hard and dedicate yourself to being better every single day, you will never be able to communicate with people, your artistry, the way you want.” Perfect your craft, find a great subject matter, and execute it to the best of your ability!

How do you feel when you are letting your emotions loose on the canvas?

Whether I am working on canvas or paper, it is always more than just letting emotions loose. It is about finding that connection between mind, body, soul, and the universe. For me, art isn’t limited to just emotion – it’s a fully immersive experience. That being said, the process of creating art feels transcendent, even sublime.

What project are you working on now?

I am always working on more than one project at a time. At this very moment, I am developing my new series, Elementa, working on a commission piece for clients in South Africa, as well as a collaboration project with a musical talent. I am also getting ready for Art Week here in Miami, where I will be displaying two pieces at a group show, as well as performing Live Art at a private Art Basel event.

Any current or upcoming exhibitions?

The newest series, Elementa, will be showcased in Miami, New York, and an international destination that is in the works. All the details and information will be soon released to the public. I am especially excited about sharing this new series because it reflects the artist I am evolving into. The entire collection is bolder, larger, and more intense than ever.

Where do you find your ideas for your work?

Inspiration for me is everywhere. I find it in literature, music, fashion, travel, life experiences, people I meet, memories I hold, dialogues I’ve had and more. There is no limit to the source of my ideas and motivations. It is what makes the work I do uniquely mine. Once I focus on a leading theme for a piece, I work on developing how I can communicate it through the Bull – the symbol that has become the emblem of all my work and brand.

Is there an artwork you are most proud of? Why? 

I am proud of everything I create – whether it be “good” or “bad” – and that Is because it comes from a sacred source. When I am creating art, I am connected to my entire being, God and the universe. Therefore, each piece deserves my respect and pride.

However, if I had to choose a specific piece that I consider very special, it would be Eastern Expressions. It is the first piece I ever made of the Bull and it opened the door to everything my art has evolved into. Through Eastern Expressions, I learned about the deep connection humans have with the animal, and the importance of what it symbolizes. The bull has been an important symbol since prehistoric times. For the Egyptians it was associated with royalty; in China it is an insignia of hard work, progress, and material abundance; the Celtics view it as a symbol of fertility, power and luxury. In the United States, the stock market notes upward trends as “bull market” because of the animal’s upward style of attack and forceful approach.

For me, it reflects what I stand for in life – the power we each have within us to be strong, grounded, determined, and persistent in conquering our goals.

How do you know when a work is finished?

Deadlines. I don’t think a piece is every really “finished”.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

A piece of paper and a pencil/pen need to be with me at all times. Ideas come to me unexpectedly, and if I don’t have somewhere to jot down notes or sketches, I internally go haywire. Those two tools are essential to my mental and spiritual well-being. There are sketchbooks in my studio, apartment, purse, pockets, etc. If I don’t have them, I find them. I’ve had to resort to napkins, crumpled receipts, and even gum wrappers to jot down ideas.

Is there an element of art you enjoy working with most? Why?

The thrill of a challenge is what keeps me going. Each piece I work on needs to challenge me on some level, whether it be the level of detail, technique, meaning, or scale. For instance, I love working on commission pieces because it is a challenge of capturing each client’s individual personalities or inspirations, fusing it with my own vision, and then working on making it a reality. This process is especially enjoyable because of the amount of time I dedicate making to each piece unique and special.

See more of Latin for Glory’s work here: www.latinforglory.com

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