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International Artist Feature: Puerto Rico

For this article in the international artist series, we turn to Puerto Rico,
featuring six artists who create fantastic work, from illustration to
graphic design and more! I asked each artist how their country and
culture inspired their work, and they delivered fantastic answers.
Enjoy!

Ivy Gladstone

Ivy is an illustrator and digital artist based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She
creates beautiful digital paintings that feature wildlife with incredible detail. Check out a small selection of her work below or see
more in her portfolio.

The Post Card

There are many things I love about this island. I was born and
raised here. My mom was native to the island and she met my father when
she was living in NYC. When they married, she wanted to come back to the
island to make her family.

I grew up on an island that is very diverse.
People are very friendly and welcoming. You get the feeling that you
are in an extended family. People help each other and there’s people trying to do what they can
to still live a prosperous life on the island by not giving up.

The Post Card by Ivy Gladstone
The Post Card

Puerto Rican Ground Lizard

Puerto Rico has inspired me in so many ways. There’s always a vibrancy in the culture that I
know is within me and it speaks out in my work. I still search around every day to see what new things I can find and
how they inspire me.

Puerto Rican Ground Lizard by Ivy Gladstone
Puerto Rican Ground Lizard

Ave Con Sus Hijos

Ave Con Sus Hijos by Ivy Gladstone
Ave Con Sus Hijos

The Dapper Pug

There are a few different art communities. You got the high art community that loves to be in the
old city teaching the youth
what art is and how it can be manifested. Then there’s the graffiti community showing the masses that there’s
other voices that need to be heard in different mediums. Lastly, you have
the more obscure minimalists, the hipster graphic designers and the
nerdy game-loving expressive artists that simply love drawing what they
love.

The Dapper Pug by Ivy Gladstone
The Dapper Pug

Abimael Rodz

Abimael is a freelance graphic designer based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His work features gorgeous 3D illustrations full of conceptual meaning and beautiful imagery. Check out a small selection of his work below or see
more in his portfolio.

HyperAbortus

One of the main things I love about living in Puerto Rico is the great
amount of beautiful, colorful things around me. Things like the
beaches, the handwritten signs, the architecture, the murals, and, most
importantly, the people. Being surrounded by so many beautiful things
makes me feel alive and inspired to make more things that, in a way,
represent my culture and the way I see these things.

HyperAbortus by Abimael Rodz
HyperAbortus

Theory

The culture has influenced me a lot because Puerto Rico is filled
with a lot of different forms of art like graffiti, sculpture,
performances, mosaics, graphics, and many others. So seeing all of
these things around me all my life has influenced my work a lot. I know what my art
means to me, but what it means to the people around me and how it affects
them interests me more because I can
see how our culture has influenced them.

Theory by Abimael Rodz
Theory

36 Days of Type

36 Days of Type by Abimael Rodz
36 Days of Type

Luminary

The art community here is very big. I think due to the richness of
our culture, most Puerto Ricans really like art and understand the
importance of it. We have a great amount of events that celebrate art
such as Santurce es Ley, Los Muros Hablan, Arecibo Street Art Project,
and others. We have also received visits from many international
artists like Conor Harrington, Bicicleta Sem Freio, Axel Void, and
D*Face.

Luminary by Abimael Rodz
Luminary

Carolina Espinal Beato

Carolina is a graphic designer based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She
creates vibrant vector designs full of color and texture as well as creative logos. Check out a small selection of her work below or see
more in her portfolio.

AZ Studio Logo

For me, Puerto Rico is a real enchanted island. What I love most about
living here is the tropical climate that allows you to do any outdoor
activity in almost any season of the year. Puerto Rico is a small island in
the Caribbean that
offers a wide scope of adventures and experiences to enjoy with friends
and family. One of my favorite places is the Old San Juan, a 500 year
old historical city with a magical atmosphere and beautiful
bright-colored buildings.

AZ Studio Logo by Carolina Espinal Beato
AZ Studio Logo

Retro Futurism

This island has a vibrant, modern, and unique multicultural society
that offers a great diversity of experiences. This paired with the
bright colors found in the environment, as well as the warmness of the people
has greatly inspired me. Another thing that inspired my artwork is the mixture
of cultural elements that have been introduced to the island from other
places, such as the North American culture that was brought to the
island with the arrival of the US in the late nineteenth century.

Retro Futurism by Carolina Espinal Beato
Retro Futurism

Packaging Design

Packaging Design by Carolina Espinal Beato
Packaging Design

Emotions

Currently, the art community on the island is reemerging.
Despite the financial problems of the island, a new wave of Puerto Rican
artists are joining forces with movements such as “Santurce es Ley,”
which seeks to exhibit contemporary art and revitalize the
Santurce area (formerly known as the “Arts District”) in a creative way.
This new wave of artists also seeks to expose new generations of young
people to the local arts culture.

Emotions by Carolina Espinal Beato
Emotions

Jan P. Reyes

Jan is a freelance artist specializing in graphic design and illustration who is based in Ponce, Puerto Rico. His work features electrifying designs showcasing his love of color and natural elements. Check out a small selection of his work below or see
more in his portfolio.

Thoughts

Everything in Puerto Rico is beautiful, especially the beaches, but
there’s one thing I love the most and that is being able to be around my
family and friends.

Thoughts by Jan P Reyes
Thoughts

SquidGrip Designs

I think both the culture and region influenced the way I use
color in a sense. There’s an event in my city called “Carnaval de
Ponce.” One of the traditions of the Carnaval is the use of colorful
masks made out of paper mache and everything about it is dope.

SquidGrip Designs by Jan P Reyes
SquidGrip Designs

Colors – Helmet

Colors - Helmet art by Jan P Reyes
Colors – Helmet

Colors – Portrait

The art community has started to grow a lot over the past year.
Everybody should take a look at the event called “Santurce es Ley.”
There’s a lot of talented artists out right now on the island.

Colors - Portrait art by Jan P Reyes
Colors – Portrait

Olga Quiles

Olga is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Her work features colorful vector illustrations of fun cartoon characters with her own signature design. Check out a small selection of her work below or see
more in her portfolio.

Motorcycle

The thing I love about living here in Puerto Rico is the amazing mix
between cities, mountains, and beaches. Everywhere I go, I know it won’t take long before I find a beach or a great spot to relax under a tree. Also the people are very interesting and
great to chat with.

Motorcycle Art by Olga Quiles
Motorcycle

Explore

Since we are a combination of Africans, Indians (“tainos”), and Latinos, I find it very interesting all the different ways people express
themselves through art. In my case it’s with drawings and illustrations. I find
it so hard to stick with a specific style, although most of my designs have a lot of colors. I can’t deny my love for the tropical colors.

Explore Art by Olga Quiles
Explore

Lost in Perfection

Lost in Perfection art by Olga Quiles
Lost in Perfection

Couples

There’s a strong artistic presence among Puerto Ricans, although a
lot of events involving art tend to be more inclined to “traditional art.” Puerto Ricans like to encourage those
with great art skills to move and do something with their art. So it’s
my time to encourage anyone who’s reading this:

If you are learning to
draw, paint, record, film, or whatever you’re learning―keep doing it. Don’t
listen to those who say “You won’t make it” or “You won’t make a living
out of it.” Go the extra mile, and learn even the things you think you will
never use, because you will, trust me. Not everything will be
peaches and cream, but you’ll learn a lot and it will take you to the place
where you always dreamed you would be (artistically speaking). I’m in
that moment, I’m just 24 and I know you’ll get there too. Hopefully
earlier. I believe in your talent.

Couples art by Olga Quiles
Couples

Israel Oliveras

Israel is an illustrator and caricature artist based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His incredibly detailed digital work features hilarious caricature illustrations of pop culture icons and notable Puerto Rican people. Check out a
small selection of his work below or see
more in his portfolio.

Oscar López Rivera

We Puerto Ricans are known to be passionate about our roots, folklore, accomplished athletes, musicians, and actors. We have abundant forests, rivers, beaches, and dreamlike landscapes.  I had the privilege to study at the School of Plastic Arts and Design of Puerto Rico. Studying there is an unconditional source of inspiration because of its cultural diversity, historic architecture, and the Atlantic ocean that surrounds it. Daily adventures from the countryside to the former Spanish capital are like traveling in a time machine. Most of all, I know that Puerto Rico will always hold the peak of my tranquility.

Oscar Lpez Rivera Caricature by Israel Oliveras
Oscar López Rivera

Marcus Ulpius Traianus

When I was little, my first source of inspiration for drawing caricatures was the social commentary that was published in the local newspapers. I got into movements behind social protests, and if I was fighting for something it was for the awakening of each individual.

This blasted me off through philosophical and mystical experiences, and eventually to my development as an independent entity, which I extrapolated to the revival of my art. Interpreting myself through dreams, poems, and drawings led me back to my childhood when I enjoyed drawing imaginative characters and portraits of random people. I always learn something through the eyes of another, and this kind of maturity in my creative process is something I have acquired through the confrontation of all the beauty and decay of my own culture.

Marcus Ulpius Traianus Caricature Art by Israel Oliveras
Marcus Ulpius Traianus

Siddhārtha Gautama

Siddhartha Gautama Caricature Art by Israel Oliveras
Siddhārtha Gautama

Alexandra Lúgaro

Through the analysis of the techniques and styles of other Puerto Rican caricaturists, I first synthesized and applied them to my ongoing style of digital caricature. The public forum of caricature in my country is concentrated in social media where you can share your own work, but it has to be relevant and limited to the chosen Puerto Rican character.

The term we use in our country for that person who finds you the opportunity of your lifetime is called “la pala” (the shovel in Spanish). But I wanted to taste other experiences and go outside the boundaries, so I discovered international forums of caricature, such as Caricaturama Showdown 3000. There I met extraordinary artists from whom I’m still learning from to this day. This exploration in the outer world led me to belong to renowned sites such as the Mad Artist Publishing’s Illustration Vault, Fran Moreno’s Caricaturas de Famosos, as well as a feature on the cover of a magazine.

Alexandra Lgaro Caricature Art by Israel Oliveras
Alexandra Lúgaro

Many thanks to the artists who took time to answer my questions
and share a bit about themselves and how their country and/or culture
has affected their work. You can check out more of their work in the
links below: