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Embrace Creatives Celebrates Hispanic Art and Culture During Hispanic Heritage Month

September 24, 2023

Embracing diversity

As a female business owner, it’s important to me to bring on a diverse range of artists because that makes my art gallery richer via an array of viewpoints and expansive storytelling.  I’m honored to have a number of Hispanic artists included in my growing Embrace Creatives community, offering their distinct creative voices.  In order to educate ourselves and you, dear reader, EC asked these eight American artists to share their family background, how their culture and identity shapes their art practice, and how they feel Hispanic artists are represented in the arts community..

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month through the lens of art and culture is a wonderful way to recognize the rich contributions of Hispanic artists to the global artistic landscape. Hispanic artists have made a profound impact on art and culture throughout history, and their influence continues to shape the 21st-century art world.

Visit our artists’ EC galleries to learn more about their artwork, background, and stories.

Here’s what our artists have to say…

Cream Geometric Painting

Theresa Felice

Both of my parents were born in Argentina before they came to the US, and we are Italian-Argentinian.

EC: How does your cultural identity affect your artwork?

Theresa: Growing up in an immigrant family of such vibrant and passionate cultures, I have an innate love for adornment and whimsy that I express in my artwork. I create my pieces with the affectionate attentiveness I have been surrounded with in my own family, a group that will greet you with a kiss on the cheek upon entering their home.

EC: How do you feel Hispanic artists are represented in the arts community?

Theresa: Hispanic artists bring a vitality and magic to the arts community that not only widens our horizons but also brings back feelings of the home, of childhood dreaming and a familiar warmth.

Theresafelice_Peppina_2022_Ceramic_26X5X12Inches-300X368 - Hispanic Heritage Month 1

#Peppina
Ceramic, finished with gold luster and glaze, resin, cerne relief, my mother’s lace, a flower from my mother’s garden.

Theresafelice_Chimeraofself_2023_Ceramic_5X5X6Inches-600X839 - Hispanic Heritage Month 2

Chimera of Self
Raku-fired ceramic and acrylic paint

Theresafelice_Ravena_2022_Ceramic_9X8X6Inches-600X788 - Hispanic Heritage Month 3

Ravina
Glazed ceramic, acrylic paint, chain, vial of dried rose petals.

Cream Geometric Painting

Rey Alfonso

I didn’t move from Cuba, I escaped.”

EC: How does your cultural identity affect your artwork?

Rey: Thank you for embracing the spirit of Hispanic heritage month!  All of my works are inspired by my childhood in Cuba. The poetry of Jose Marti, colors of tropical splendor and the textures and patinas of sun bleached colonial architecture inform my work at every turn.

Growing up in Cuba formed me as a storyteller. I work within the visual realm of abstraction, where vibrant color, rich contrast, tactile surfaces, and evidence of process to speak of the shared pull of our humanity.

In my art I find resonance in motifs of water and the freedom they represent. It was in 1992, that I took to the waters in a daring escape from Cuba in a boat improvised from repurposed materials. My mixed media works are brightly hued reflections of my life’s journey.

Thealfonsos-7001_Jpeg-Copy-2(1) - Hispanic Heritage Month 4

Malecón
Mixed media on carved birch

Download-4 - Hispanic Heritage Month 5

Big Sur
Mixed media on birch

Screen Shot 2023-09-30 At 6.31.45 Pm - Hispanic Heritage Month 6

Whale Tail III
Mixed media on Baltic birch

Cream Geometric Painting

Gene Jimenez

I am so honored to participate. My DNA is 64% native to the americas, with primary marks as 17% Andean/Patagonian, 12% Mayan, 11%Aztec, 10% Sonoran desert, 4% Guatamalan, with roots in Toltec, Huitchil and Naj́al shaman/curanderas.

I’m also 3rd generation Hispanic/Indigenous American with my great grandparents WALKING 2200 miles from Durango, Mexico to Southern California in 1909.

EC: How does your cultural identity affect your artwork?

Gene: When I first started painting and showing as a professional, I used only my first name, GENE, as I didn’t want to necessarily be seen as ’that hispanic artist’, AND because most people really do butcher my last name when trying (or not trying) to pronounce it. It’s Jimenez (He mén ez).

I personally feel work should stand on its own, without the public bias or sympathy for any particular culture or race. As my work and I have grown, I believe my roots have come through in a way that allows me to showcase my culture, as well as stand in pride of my families ancient history and traditions. I paint energetically, meaning, I rarely plan out my painting and in general, create in the moment and let the paint take shape, form and reveal what it wants to be, and then I just follow along to complete the images. My work led me to monarch butterflies. According to pre-Hispanic folklore, the migrating butterflies carried the souls of ancestors visiting from the afterlife. For centuries, Mexico’s monarch butterflies have served as a powerful cultural symbol of connecting the living to the dead. Then images of native indigenous cultures came through and are still my primary subject matter in my current works. Most of these subjects came along BEFORE I ever knew my DNA and its rich makeup. I feel the universe has a way of showing us who we are when we are willing to listen.

EC: How do you feel Hispanic artists are represented in the arts community?

Gene: I think there are plusses and minusses. The plusses are that there seems to be a growing respect for artists of hispanic backgrounds and the originality that is introduced by them, especially in cultural subject matter and medium. Case in point would be graffiti and calligraphic hand letter graffiti, or the chicano style art subject matter. The hispanic origins in these is a very old art style from the streets, while only recently being accepted into mainstream galleries, such as Christies and premiere shows such as the “Biannuals”. It has taken time, and it goes in waves like most things. An exciting genre is the emerging native american artists who until recently, had to fight to even be acknowledged they existed. A minus would be the cultural appropriation that is to blame for many native artists to be ignored or flagrantly abused by a system designed to benefit those within it. Two steps forward, one step back

Wombbound - Hispanic Heritage Month 7

Womb Bound
Acrylic on canvas

Waitingforlove_Web - Hispanic Heritage Month 8

Waiting For Love
Acrylics/Inks/Gold leaf on hardboard

Standalone_Adweb - Hispanic Heritage Month 9

Stand Alone
Acrylic on canvas

Fresh Art Drops Delivered Monthly

Cream Geometric Painting

Carly Wilhelm

My ancestry is made up of Puerto Rican, Indigenous Mexican- Yaqui, Spanish, Portuguese, West African, Irish and Finnish.

EC: How does your cultural identity affect your artwork?

Carly: It feels impossible to put into words the enormous significance my heritage and my experience as a mixed race person has had on my artwork. I’ve navigated this world from a unique perspective and I’m certain that it’s translated to the aesthetics of my work; which simply put, is a direct expression of myself and how I’m feeling at a particular point in time

Reydeflores-2 - Hispanic Heritage Month 10

Rey de Flores
Acrylic on bristol paper

Lilyaqui - Hispanic Heritage Month 11

Lil Yaqui
Acrylic on bristol paper

Lilavoidthatbunk - Hispanic Heritage Month 12

Lil Avoid That Bunk
Acrylic on bristol paper

Cream Geometric Painting

Christopher Rico

My background is a mixture of indigenous Mexican from the northwestern mountains and colonial Spanish and Portuguese. My father was born in NM, and only spoke Spanish until jr. high/high school. Raised in abject poverty, he eventually went on to realize the American Dream, becoming a Dr., a field grade officer in the military, and a community leader. I was very much raised with a first generation mentality, because my father saw himself as an immigrant despite being born in the US: the conditions for Mexican Americans being so difficult during his childhood. I have an old photo of my Great Grandfather and his brother in Puerto Rico from the early 1900s, but we’ve never been clear on whether this was a holiday or part of their immigration.

EC: How does your cultural identity affect your artwork?

Rico: My ethnic identity is complicated, being half Scottish and half Mexican.  On the Mexican side, I’m split between indigenous and colonial, making Columbus Day a bit of headtrip.  I don’t feel I make “Hispanic” or “Latino” art any more than Miles Davis made “black” music.  I strive for personal authenticity of expression and universality of experience.  Lately the brighter colors do indeed feel to arise partly from my Mexican heritage, but this is a minor reference.

EC: How do you feel Hispanic artists are represented in the arts community?

Rico: Of Latino/Latina artists in the canon, one inspiring example is that of Carmen Herrera, a “hard edge” abstract painter from Cuba who was contemporaries with male artists like Ellsworth Kelly and others.  Unlike her peers, it took the art world literally 100 years to catch up with her, having reached her apex of recognition in her late 90’s and early 100’s.  Major museum shows followed internationally, and now her work hangs alongside the men who sped past her in those early days.  It’s a reminder to stay true to one’s purpose, especially so when that purpose is art.

Residential-Context_Rico - Hispanic Heritage Month 13

All Tomorrow’s Parties
Acrylic on Birch panel

Crico-4941_Jpeg-600X606 - Hispanic Heritage Month 14

Kaivayla 2
Acrylic on Birch panel

Rico_Zenith_10-600X600 - Hispanic Heritage Month 15

Zenith 10
Acrylic on Birch panel

Cream Geometric Painting

Troy Ramos

My family lived in Michoacán and Monterrey, then left Mexico for Texas during the revolution in the early 1900s. My grandfather came seasonally to Michigan to work in the fields then and that led to them staying here more permanently (I was born in Michigan).

EC: How does your cultural identity affect your artwork?

Troy: Regarding how my background affects my work, or how I feel about Hispanic artists in arts communities, I don’t have an answer for that nor do I think about it. I’m sure all of our histories play some role in our lives ofc, but it’s not something I reflect on. I’m sure all of our ancestral histories play some role in our lives, but it’s not something I reflect on. Whether there are subconscious cultural and ancestral roles at play in what I create or not, my focus is simply on making interesting works.

EC: How do you feel Hispanic artists are represented in the arts community?

Troy: I’m not informed enough to know the answer to this, but I think a great many artists of all backgrounds feel underrepresented to varying degrees. I hope any people who make art find the spaces they need to share their work with others.

Structures-4-Headshot-Crop-Some-White-600X719 - Hispanic Heritage Month 16

No. 4, from Structures
Acrylic, Spray Paint and Pencil on Paper (+ Paper Collage)

Structures-No-7-Portrait-600X714 - Hispanic Heritage Month 17

No. 7, from Structures
Acrylic, Spray Paint and Pencil on Paper (+ Paper Collage)

Structures-2-Headshot-Crop-Some-White-600X711 - Hispanic Heritage Month 18

No. 2, from Structures
Acrylic, Spray Paint and Pencil on Paper (+ Paper Collage)

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Cream Geometric Painting

Rich Lanet

My mom was born in Mexico City and I consider myself part Mexican.

EC: How does your cultural identity affect your artwork?

Rich: I have to be totally honest in how I see and project my Cultural Heritage – I am what I believe to be the embodiment of what America truly is, I am a melting pot of various cultures.

My mom was born in Mexico, and I have lots of family in Mexico & I feel that Hispanic heritage, but both of her parents were from Eastern Europe (Russian & Poland); my father was born in Chicago w/ both his parents coming from Romania – Neither of my parents went to College, but instilled in myself & my siblings that there was no choice here, and that Education was imperative to being successful in the United States, whatever that looks like.

My cultural identity is therefore one with a world perspective, one that feels a need to connect with all Humanity on a very human level, and not on any kind of national level. All cultures that I respect, and have inherited have unique perspectives, but all share common values in what they honor & how they see the world, and my Mexican heritage is part of that. All my cultures are tied to simpler, happier, human values that are tied to connections with the land & landscape, and to respect for the that land & all living beings.

All my cultures value diversity & universal acceptance & respect for differences.

EC: How do you feel Hispanic artists are represented in the arts community?

Rich: The only places where Hispanic artists are represented is within their own communities. Only recently have artists of Hispanic backgrounds been accepted into the larger art world on any kind of global level; mainly because of new “Hispanic” museums & collections which are starting to open & exhibiting, just in the last few years are Hispanic artists now being more broadly accepted into the “arts community.

Sm.wks_.-3-Untitled-Rotated - Hispanic Heritage Month 19

merging suns’
Natural wood partially acrylic painted

Sm.wks_.-2-Detail-Scaled - Hispanic Heritage Month 20

diagonal rain’
Natural wood partially acrylic painted

Img_7553-Scaled - Hispanic Heritage Month 21

dimensions 3′
Flat white acrylic painted wood

Cream Geometric Painting

Patricia Deleon

I was born in Venezuela

Through The Passage 4 - Hispanic Heritage Month 22

Through the Passage 4
Mixed media on Baltic birch

In Full Bloom - Hispanic Heritage Month 23

In Full Bloom
 Mixed media on Baltic birch

Camino Sunset Ii - Hispanic Heritage Month 24

Day 4: Camino Sunset II
Mixed Media on Baltic birch