Puerto Rican Women Killing It in the Independent Art Scene: Tania M. González Justiniano (Petu/Petupetin)



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.

Tania M. González Justiniano, also known as Petu or Petupetin is an illustrator, 2D animator and UI UX Designer.

What got you into the visual arts?

I’ve been drawing ever since I could remember. My family is pretty artsy; my dad draws, my mom plays guitar and my sister writes, so I guess when they saw I liked to do art they did all they could to help me grow in that.

How did you develop your style?

I remember having conversations about styles in college with friends and not wanting to feel tied down to any style in particular, but that’s something a bit inevitable, one usually gravitates towards a particular way of doing art. Anyways, I decided to work different styles at the same time that are tied to a theme. I think I have different styles, it all depends on what I want to say.

How has it evolved through the years?

It’s become deeper, I hope. Besides having a better use of anatomy, perspective, etc. I’ve become a better observer of people and situations. Being an avid reader always helps a lot.

What are some of your influences and inspirations?

I get inspired a lot by what’s around me: people, conversations, books, other artists. I always try to make that circle of interests bigger just to have better things to say or deeper thoughts about something or just a different perspective.

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

Toy Art! I’m learning 3D modelling right now and I love the idea of making gizmos and toys. I think mostly because I love collecting figures, so it'd be really neat to make my own; maybe start or help the toy art community grow in Puerto Rico.

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

I think we’re in the middle of a transition. I’ve been seeing a lot of new young artists in the spotlight lately. Regarding digital art, people are in that learning curve where they realize painting in a canvas is not the only way to be an artist. My canvas can be a computer and it doesn't make me any less of an artist.


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

I think it’s steadily growing. There’s a lot of awesome artists showcasing their work and people are organizing more events and fests than ever.

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

Well, first I'd be honored and sad that she’s asking me and not someone more fit to answer that question. I’m kidding. Whenever someone asks me something like this I think of Buscabulla’s song “Métele Bellaco.” I’d say not to be discouraged by anything. Sometimes we set expectations about ourselves and when we don’t achieve them we fall hard and we forget that we can set a new goal.


What is your biggest goal right now?

I want to get into the toy art scene and feel “que le estoy metiendo bellaco.”

What do you seek to achieve with work?

I want to make people reflect and try to shed a light on themes that are often hidden to us or show a different perspective of it.


All of the pictures in this article were provided by Petupetin