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.
Gabriela Rodriguez Laureano, long for GRL, is an illustrator.
What got you into the visual arts?
I don’t want to sound cliche but I will say I was just born into arts. I have always been very creative. I really don’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t drawing or making something with my hands.
How did you develop your style?
My style really comes from practice. I always draw myself because I’m my biggest muse and cause I see myself everyday.
How has it evolved through the years?
I used to try to be perfect and draw really realistic faces and stuff, but with time I realized that it wasn’t my style and now I’m more into “cartoon” types of drawing.
What are some of your influences and inspirations?
I’m really inspired by my day to day drama, but creatively speaking I would say that Amanda OLeander and Check in Mela are my major inspirations. I feel really related to their styles and I would say I’m a combination of both but with my own spirit and artistic touch.
Is there any other form of art you wish to pursue? If so, what field and why?
I’m actually an architecture major. I just finished my bachelors degree on design and hopefully I will start my masters very soon.
What do you think about the current state of the arts in Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico has some really creative individuals and I just recently got myself into this creative space with my art page. I’m really hoping to be part of the artistic community, so I can contribute a little more to the art scene.
What do you think about the current state of the independent scene in Puerto Rico?
Not as good as it should be. I know a lot of creative friends who struggle to be part of a more creative scenario in the island. We need more support.
If a young girl came up to you and said she wanted to be an artist, what would be your advice for her?
I would tell her to create, and never be shh to do whatever she wants. Art is biased, some people will love what you’re doing and some people won’t, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you love. Out brain is powerful and trust me, art is our super power.
What is your biggest goal right now?
My biggest goal is creating more art. I only have my page “officially” for 4 months and I have received so much support that I only want to keep it going.
What do you seek to achieve with work?
I strive to make people feel that they’re not alone on their dramas, and I try to do that with my art. Making people laugh and feel like my art is a safe zone for them.