Puerto Rican Women Killing It in the Independent Art Scene: Mya Pagán

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.


Mya Pagán is a freelance illustrator.


(picture by Stephanie Segarra)


What got you into the visual arts?

I’ve always loved drawing since I was little. It used to be a hobby that after many years became a medium of communication; to express my feelings, thoughts, concerns, etc.


How did you develop your style?

By practicing a lot, drawing every day I was able to “find” my style, although I think it’s always evolving. Did I mention I’m self taught? It has been a long process to learn to love what my hands produce and to love the process and to not compare yourself with anyone. There’s space for everyone in the art world.



How has it evolved through the years?

Well, I started doing only line work (ink). Then I started adding some watercolor details until I felt confident enough to just add color in general, after lots of practicing and making mistakes! Now I use mix mediums combining ink, watercolor, and color pencils for example.


What are some of your influences and inspirations?

When I'm brainstorming ideas, I try to avoid looking at other people’s work because otherwise my brain will either only think of the other’s work or I’ll just start comparing myself causing a creative-anxiety-block. However, I do love María Herrero and Paula Bonet from Spain, Matias Prado from Chile and many others!



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

I’m a ‘chef wannabe’; I love culinary arts. I just love being creative in the kitchen and mixing stuff. Everytime I eat I analyze the flavors and try to guess the ingredients. But answering your question for real I would like to pursue animation in the future; take my illustrations to another level by giving them life. Who knows?


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

After Hurricane Maria we were left with lots of concerns and emotions and there has been a lot of response to this through different art forms (visual arts, music, theater, etc).  People are supporting local art more and more local businesses are providing jobs for us artists, which gives me hope. However, the government still needs to support art more by promoting it in schools. In addition, museums could also include more women in their exhibits or open their spaces to new artists. There’s a lot of talent here and lots of artists ‘metiéndole’!



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

I’m super proud to be part of a generation that has so many talented people in all art forms. I think we have a strong independent community-scene that supports each other whether its by buying local, creating events for artists to sell or present their art or just sharing/recommending local artists.


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 never stop practicing, to remember that there is space for every style in the art world and that there is no correct speed to learn; your pace is okay, just keep it honest, keep it you.


(picture by Stephanie Segarra)


What is your biggest goal right now?

Pay rent! My biggest goal is to make my own book. Let’s see.


What do you seek to achieve with work?

Illustration can be powerful because it’s like a universal language. I illustrate hoping someone connects with my work. I also use my work to share information or things that are happening around the world or locally.


All of the pictures in this article were provided by Mya Pagán