Puerto Rican Women Killing It in the Independent Art Scene: María del Mar Lugo Molina

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, book stores like La Casita Books and Gifts in Aguadilla, Libros AC in Santurce and Libros 787 online, and independent festivals like Feria de Libros Independientes y Alternativos and Tintero: Festival de Cómics y Arte Independiente de Puerto Rico 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.

María del Mar Lugo Molina is an embroidery artist, illustrator and seamstress.

What got you into the visual arts and textiles?

I’ve been drawing and sewing for as long I can remember. I took my first embroidery class when I was in fourth grade, but growing up I focused more in drawing and fashion design. I rediscovered embroidery and textile transformation when I was admitted at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de Puerto Rico, where I majored in Fashion Design and completed a minor in Textiles.

How did you develop your style?

I think that those college years were very crucial to defining my drawing style.

How has it evolved through the years?

I noticed a huge difference in my drawings after I started taking classes of anatomical, fashion and botanical illustration. However, my embroidering style has been more of a self taught journey. Learning to use different quantities of threads to create more dimension and different kinds of stitches has been really useful. My embroideries are still evolving.

What are some of your influences and inspirations?

My main inspirations are women and nature. How amazing, vulnerable yet strong both can be at the same time.  I’m also inspired by the uniqueness of people’s faces, personal experiences, and music. I spend a lot of time looking at portrait photography.  Some artists that inspire and influence me are Ryan McGinley, Elaine Torres, Egon Schiele, Danny Roberts and Tessa Perlow.

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

I’m currently studying Horticulture at the University of Puerto Rico in Utuado because I want to learn how to grow plants that give natural dyes. I want to become a natural dyer, pursue gardening landscaping and learn how to make vertical gardens. So, I would say my wishes are slowly coming true.   

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

I think there is lot of great young talent in the island still waiting to be discovered, and they will need all the support to thrive and inspire future generations.

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

The artists of my generation have had the opportunity to gain exposure thanks to the independent scene. However, I feel it is mostly present in the bigger, urbanized cities, and I would love to see it grow and spread out to other parts of the island.

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

Stay true to yourself, regardless of what people say; do what you love and what makes you happy. Also, don't be so hard on yourself, sometimes we are our worst critics.

What is your biggest goal right now?

Complete my degree in Horticulture, move to the west coast, start an agroecological farm, dye my own thread, live off the land and make a living as an artist. Oh! And get a pet.

What do you seek to achieve with work?

Get out of my mind and not think for a while.


All of the pictures in this article were provided by María del Mar Lugo Molina