Puerto Rican Women Killing It In The Independent Art Scene:

With the internet being so easy to access, it has become easier for independent artists to find an audience and let their work be known. As a result, a variety of movements, collectives, and scenes have found a way to pave their path. The independent art scene in Puerto Rico is no different. Recently, many artists from a variety of disciplines have found platforms that have made it easier for them to share their work. In addition, small businesses such as Electroshock in Santurce and Rio Piedras, bars like Off The Wall in Mayaguez, and libraries like La Casita Books and Gifts in Aguadilla have provided up-and-coming artists a space to display their talents. “Puerto Rican Women Killing It in the Independent Art Scene” is a series of  interviews that provides a glimpse at some of the women who have recently gained recognition in the art scene. Though the artists are asked similar questions, some are asked queries surrounding their work, specifically.

Damaris Cruz, also known as damalola, is a plastic artist who has created her unique style, which can be seen around Puerto Rico’s streets.

What got you into visual arts?

I think I have always been in love with art. I started when I was 14 years old taking photography classes until I graduated from fine arts in the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras.

How did you develop your style?

Despite working in a variety of mediums, my base is still photography. When I studied in the university, I had a lot of friends who were graffiti artists with which I would make my pasquinades using my pictures as references, until one day I noticed that there were not many Puerto Rican photographers doing street art who used their pictures. What I would mostly see were stencils or images taken out of the internet. So I started experimenting by printing my own images and I never stopped.

How has it evolved through the years?

I think I dominate my technique more and more every day. Every time I do a new project or mural in another country, I experiment with paper, printing and textures of different buildings. Now I look at cities with different perspectives, the buildings, the walls around me, they are all blank canvases. It has all contributed to my painting style as well.

What are some of your influences and inspirations?

I work a lot with the idea of memory and remembrance, so I’m very inspired by life, everydayness and sentimentality. Some of my influences are Jack Delano, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Salvador Dali.

Is there any other form of art you wish to pursue? If so, what field and why?

Maybe video because, since I come from photography, I believe documentation is essential, especially today when everything is digital and accessible for the masses, so it would be good to work with video.

What do you think about the current state of the arts in Puerto Rico?

It is sad to see how art is handled in Puerto Rico. Artists are treated as less most of the time. To a certain degree, the entire country is in crisis and for the artist it is a double crisis.

What do you think about the current state of the independent scene in Puerto Rico?

Despite what I mentioned previously, the independent art scene has many artists working hard and in muralism there’s more acceptance by the public every day. There are also independent galleries that provide opportunities to emerging artists.

If a young girl came up to you and said she wanted to be an artist, what would be your advice for her?

Discipline, physical, and mental preparation because it isn’t easy, but if you’re really passionate anything is possible.

 

What is your biggest goal right now?

Leave my art in as many countries as possible.

What do you seek to achieve with work?

I do art for me, because I’m passionate about it and I feel the need to make my ideas real. That feeling is so good that I think others will feel the same when they do it. I’m happy when I jolt people’s minds.

All of the pictures in this article were provided by Damaris Cruz