What part of the Bronx are you from? / Where did you grow up?
I currently reside in the Pelham Bay Area of the Bronx, but I grew up in Co-op City.
How has living in the Bronx inspired or influenced your work?
As a child of the Bronx, I grew up with a love for graffiti, street art, and urban street culture (especially Bronx Street Culture). Yankee Hats, Hoodies, Big hoops, gelled hair, and dark lip liner are all Bronx staples that I love and incorporate into my art. My character Dear Prince is a Bronx Kid himself, inspired by my son. He too adores graffiti and street art. So much so, that he aspires to have his own art in the streets one day. If you follow his adventures, you’ll see how he uses his imagination to envision his own street art, graffiti, and tags in the streets of New York. He even has a robot sidekick named CPR-07, who’s his accomplice. Together they ride the 6 train, explore the city, and dream of a city where Prince’s art fills the streets. Dear Prince is proud to be a Bronx Kid. I also adore sketching a group of characters called “Bronxies,” which are heavily influenced by female Bronx culture. I hope to introduce them to the world in the near future.
What’s your creative process?
I love listening to Lo-Fi Hip Hop when creating my artwork. Apart from being influenced by the Bronx, I like incorporating retro ideas (particularly 80’s and 90’s cartoons, movies, and pop culture), video games, as well as Kawaii culture into my work. I am heavily influenced by the Sanrio Brand, mostly known for character Hello Kitty. When I create, I think about how I can fuse all the things I love together, which would include the Bronx, childhood nostalgia, and an aesthetic of cuteness. In addition, I love children’s literature(I also have a background in childhood education), so that adds another ingredient to the mix. My art is an extension of who I am. It incorporates all of me and the things I adore. It's a representation of who I am. My personality mixed into an artistic package. I’ve always been artistic growing up, but didn’t get serious about my art until I was pregnant with my son. The main programs I use are Adobe illustrator, photoshop, and procreate. I learned how to use Adobe illustrator and photoshop with YouTube tutorials. And last year started using Procreate, again learning with YouTube tutorials online. Thus, emphasizing that you do not need to be an expert to start creating art. Just use the tools that you have and let your heart guide your creations. And nothing can beat traditional pen and paper. I most enjoy sketching for fun. That's where some of my best ideas come from.
What ideas, if any, do you want to inspire with your art?
My Dear Prince art is heavily influenced by my son. During my pregnancy, I dreamed of what my son would look like and through my art created a dream of who he would be. Since my son is Latino and African American, I felt it was important to have a character that reflected his cultural identity. Although I created the character 4 years ago, representation is still very much needed in the world our children are growing up in. It's important for children to see positive characters who not only look like them, but are also doing extraordinary things. Representation and diversity are ideas I want to inspire with my work. I also aim for Dear Prince to be the first Kawaii character of color. In addition, I hope to not only spread a message of positivity with my work, but to also emphasize the importance of creativity and the need to preserve our childlike wonder as we grow. Staying rooted to our inner child keeps us grounded to a youthfulness that propels creativity and imagination. Therefore, I think it's important to never grow up!