Puerto Rican Women Killing It in the Independent Art Scene: Stephanie Vazquez (EARTHTOPINK)

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.


Stephanie Vazquez, also known as EARTHTOPINK, is a graphic design, photographer and creator of visual arts for electronic music events. She currently works as a Jr. Creative Director in Grupo Ferrer.



What got you into the visual arts?

When I was in high school I would always take pictures and one day I was gifted Photoshop to edit them. Ever since then I started playing and experimenting with the program and I fell in love with everything it has to offer.



How did you develop your style?

I’m a graphic designer but I'm awful at drawing. In the beginning, every time I tried to draw I never liked output. Fueled to create everything I imagined, I started to look for pictures here and there and I started combining them until I got the image I desired. With collages I can create a piece of art expressing what I feel while using various images as a narrative tools.



How has it evolved through the years?

At the start, I was very insecure about what I designed. A lot of times I felt frustrated and I would spend weeks without designing nor looking at the computer. When Maria happened, I spent many months without working. Thus, I put it on myself to design every day, watch tutorials and look for inspiration. I also read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, which helped me a lot and open my eyes to new things. I recommend it to any creative out there, trust me. Ever since then, I haven’t been able to stop and my willing to learn continues to grow. Every day I learn something new and feel more secure about what I do. I only had to believe in myself because there is a world of possibilities out there, and, of course, I had to practice a lot.



What are some of your influences and inspirations?

To be honest, everything inspires me. I am always doing research. Instagram/Pinterest are some of my favorite platforms to find inspiration. It inspires me to see how other artists are doing the same as me, they see and interpret their world and emotions. My top influences are Dalí, Frida, Van Gogh, Richard Hamilton, Charles Wilkin and the list goes on.



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

Right now I’m exploring resin art, playing with textures, patterns, etc. I want to learn a lot of more things, but I would need more hours per day in order to accomplish everything I want to achieve and learn.



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

Now more than ever a renaissance has emerged. It’s as if artists are absorbing everything that’s happening in Puerto Rico to demonstrate across the arts.



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

There’s a lot of talent across all of the arts in Puerto Rico. The passing of Hurricane Maria forced many artists to reinvent themselves and demonstrate the reality we’re living. There’s a lot of emerging artists from graphic design, illustration, animation, painting, fine arts and other mediums. We are the product of a social and economic crisis and our production reflects or shows that.



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

If you love it and it’s what you really want to do then go for it. There are no limits to what you can do. If you propose to yourself, you can do it. I would tell her to focus on her studies and takes advantage of any learning opportunity. Every experience can be enriching.



What is your biggest goal right now?

Right now I’m “puesta pal’ problema” (up for everything). I’m absorbing everything. I want to share my work in an international level and bring a bit of light on the emerging visual arts scene in Puerto Rico. We have a lot to offer in terms of cultural, social, artistic and tourist diversity.



What do you seek to achieve with work?

Through my art, I look to create parallel landscapes to the difficult times we are going through as women, [email protected] and Americans. There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty in the air and with my collages I look to inspire and create fantasy worlds where there are no limits and the line between reality and the imaginary is subtle. With every piece I do I am constructing a world completely out of my own creation. It is a product of my own imagination. If I have complete control over something it is over my art and mind. I see things not as they are, but how I want to be.


All of the pictures in this article were provided by Stephanie Vazquez