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Puerto Rican Women Killing It in the Independent Art Scene: Las Santas

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 way. The independent art scene in Puerto Rico is no different. Recently, a variety of 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 for them to display their talents. “Puerto Rican Women Killing It in the Independent Art Scene” are interviews which provide a glimpse at a few of the women who are making their way in said movement. Though the artists were asked similar questions, some were asked queries focused specifically on their work.

Las Santas are a group of passionate female jewelers who are looking to continue to grow their business, while empowering other women. Recently, their work has been slowly giving them a space in the independent arts community while empowering women through appreciation of self. The following interview was conducted online.

(Las Santas, María Del Mar Rodríguez and Talisha Báez)


What got you into jewelry, how did you develop your style and how has it evolved through time?

“One of our Santas, Talisha Báez, our Managing Partner & Designer, had a debt of multiple transit fines at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez, which she could not pay and the necessity gave her a new life.” After telling her friends, Maria Del Mar Rodríguez, Fabiola Toledo, and Alisa Carillo, they decided to join forces and started to do earrings and bandanas, our first products. With time, we have added a variety of products such as handbags or wristlets, necklaces, bracelets, and, recently, shirts for men.


I’ve seen your work is highly influenced by a variety of things such as surf culture, flora, fauna, and bright colors. How did this happen?

We wanted our pieces to represent a little bit of who we were while having a tropical, yet “tropi chic” style. We live in a tropical island; one with an eternal summer. So we thought, “why not stay tropical the entire year?”

(work by Las Santas)


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

Our island is filled very talented people. With the boom of jewelry, many people have decided to turn their passions into their work reinventing themselves to move forward and they have shared their work with us in a variety of ways. Every day they surprise us, which is why we will continue educating people who value Puerto Rican art so they continue supporting local businesses that keep emerging to aid Puerto Rico’s economy.


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

In my case, (Talisha) I would love to work as a fashion stylist and (Maria Del Mar) would love to be a fashion designer. We are also fans of theater and we worked in the field for a while so we would love to go back to that some point, especially together.

(work by Las Santas)


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

If a young girl came up to us we would tell them, “girls are awesome and we do awesomeness and don’t let anybody tell you different. Girls rule & we can do anything if we feel passionate about it.”


What do you seek to achieve with art?

Our short-term goal is to have an online store to facilitate the selling process to our fellow Santas, so that our family continues to grow because we all have a little bit Santas inside us and we are all tropical beauties.

(Las Santas, María Del Mar Rodríguez and Talisha Báez)


What is your biggest goal right now?

As a collective, our biggest goal is to have our own workshop where people can come visit, see our pieces, and meet us while providing a space of confidence where they feel at home and see us as there friends and personal stylists. On a side note, Talisha looks forward to graduating from college and starting graduate studies in advertising.


You can find Las Santas in Facebook and Instagram



*All the pictures in this interview can be found in Las Santas’ Facebook

Fernando E. E. Correa González is the author behind over 20 self-published poetry books. He has been published by literary magazines & journals [Id]entidad, El Vicio del Tintero, Sábanas Magazine, Smaeralit and Tonguas. Other than writing, Correa is also a filmmaker, podcaster, photographer and master’s student. He currently lives in his native Puerto Rico.
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