By Venessa Rivera Colon
Rachel Matos is a 23 year old Latina artist residing in Miami, Florida. Born in San Diego, she moved to Puerto Rico at the age of 3. Rachel lived in Puerto Rico until the age of 13 and then moved to Miami. She currently works as an art teacher in the hopes of traveling and inspiring others around the world with her art.
When did you have your epiphany that you were meant to be an artist?
I actually began taking private art lessons in Puerto Rico at the age of 12 but it wasn’t until I got to middle school and I painted, what back then seemed like the best painting in the world, a picture of a girl in a basketball court. Looking back now I don’t know exactly what gave me so much confidence about my talents but ever since that painting I knew there was nothing else I wanted to do than be an artist. No matter what the cost.
What are the factors that influence you? What is your muse?
I have always been very interested in the female figure as a thing of beauty; the power that we have as women and how we can use our bodies as power rather than as an object. The urban world has also had an effect on me as far as my color palette goes. My paintings tend to be very bright and alive, very saturated in resemblance to graffiti. Many things catch my eye but for some reason I always end up tying it back to the figure and the urban.
We don’t want to sound cliché, but as a woman and Latina, do you find that there are greater challenges in the art world for you?
I think there is definitely a stereotype for Latino artist. Many of us paint very traditional with traditional subjects like landscape of our home countries, of typical Latin imagery or images that talk about how we have been oppressed. I think getting over this stereotype and surprising my audience and art collector with new and fresh ideas will be my biggest challenges. It is always hard to be young and a woman since most artist don’t make names for themselves until much older. But this is why I think Miami is a perfect stepping stone for me to branch out in because of the large Hispanic community here and the city life compliments my painting style.
What one word drives you?
Determination. My father is a very important influence in my life and every time I am having a lazy moment or I am in an artistic rut he always brings this word up. He tells me I have to determine to make more paintings to get out there and make more contacts. I have to be determined to want to succeed because no else is going to do it for me. With out determination and drive you cant accomplish anything. For me this word is what really keeps me going when I need it most
Okay so you knew it was coming, what is up with all the “nalgas”?