Puerto Rican Women Killing It in the Independent Art Scene: Sayra Toro Colberg

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.

Sayra Toro Colberg is currently studying arts and is on her way to finish her bachelor's in industrial design. In her free time she likes to draw, paint and design.


What got you into the visual arts?

I have been in love with the visual arts since I was a little girl. I have always drawn, but I really loved painting and making sculptures with Play-Doh.

What got you into the makeup arts?

Makeup became something I loved before adolescence where I found I could be artistic and creative not just on paper, but one the skin and the body. Since I was a child, I was also fascinated by costumes because my mother always taught me how movie and Halloween monsters were created through makeup, costumes and special effects.


How did you develop your style?

I have developed my style through the years after being inspired by traditional tattoos, which I love to blend to create a colorful Renaissance influenced piece that also has realism and humanist exaggeration.


How has it evolved through the years?

Through the years, I’ve managed to evolve my realism, specifically perspective, lighting and shadows, which are all essential in industrial design. My study of the human anatomy, especially the feminine, has gotten better because many of the works I do on my free time involve surreal representations the female body such as “pin-ups” and fantasy creatures like sirens, fairies and elves.


What are some of your influences and inspirations?

My influences vary in style and season because I’m still finding myself through artistic experimentation. I mostly study the work of Leonardo Da Vinci, Lorenzo Bernini, Donatello y Miguel Angelo. I love these artists a lot because they inspire me in the sense that they mastered many fields and had a vast amount of knowledge. I also like to see and study the work of people like Juan Salgado, Kat Von D, Garza Pin-ups, Ian Parkin, Nicholas Keiser, Kasey Golden, Alexis Fleming, Jamie Jo, Deanna Smith and Matt Buck.


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

I’ve always wanted to pursue tattooing because I feel that’s one of the most profound and personal ways to express oneself. I’ve always been fascinated about the science behind it too. In addition to that, I would also like to pursue a career as a professional barista. For me, working with coffee is a form of art because there are many things one can achieve and create with coffee. It is something that creates a form of magic in both consuming and preparing it.

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

It is growing little by little and that makes me happy, though I do wish there were more opportunities for artists of all fields. We as artists can make more than just paintings and drawings. Art exists in fields even more complex and serious than science. It is something that’s absolutely necessary, but it isn’t given the respect or importance it requires.

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

I don’t know much about it. I’m still new to the field. However, in the small time I’ve been in it I’ve seen that it’s very active. I love seeing more events, opportunities and recognition on a local level. I’ve noticed many young artists don’t need to necessarily leave 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?

Honestly, I would tell her to be strong because the art field isn’t easy, especially if it’s the only skill you can develop. You always need to analyze for the future and the current situation will not change drastically in the future, so you need to develop other skills that help you survive while you get your name as an artist out there. You need to have a lot of patience.

What is your biggest goal right now?

My biggest goal right now is to perfect my art skills to their fullest potential in order to build my portfolio and recognition as an artist.


What do you seek to achieve with work?

With lots of work, I seek to create inventions through art that not only look pretty but can also be useful in multiple ways.

All of the pictures in this article were provided by Sayra Toro Colberg