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Sunday, March 05, 2017

Hoy, Artista: Travel Begins

My long trip begins tomorrow. My husband and I are taking off for 2 full months. Our son is grown. Our building is functioning, for now. Our families are o.k., for now. Our health is fine, for now. Now, there is a window, and we are jumping out of it before life catches up to us again. It's a gift for many years of building a life.

And it is also an opportunity, a relief. A chance for inspiration. An opening for the self to release and inspire. A breath after a long journey.

I leave with the hope of emptying my being of all that I no longer need. And with the wish of filling my mind and my soul with something new. A new feeling, a new idea, a new hope, a new vision.

Too much hope for one little trip, even if it is 2 months long!

We begin in Barcelona. Will be posting.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Hoy artista: A New Year

Hand-painted jewelry by Tanya Torres (2016)

The year began with a warning: Stop!

I had not been sick in ages. Except for a day of allergy once in a while when I am very tired or stressed. But as the New Year approached, I felt an inner compulsion to plan, to get on top of things and to get ready. And then I got so sick I've been in bed for a couple of days and I lost my voice almost completely.

With my intellectual mind, I know it is a virus I caught at one of the many events and parties I reluctantly went to at the end of 2016. With my magical mind I feel that I am saying something to myself.

The past year was good, at least if I look at it in terms of checkmarks.

I did all the usual events.

I created a great event, the Mary Magdalene Celebration.

I created a fashion line.

I published a book.

I participated in several exhibitions.

I opened a store, a real life store!

I helped create a Saturday program at the Puerto Rican Cultural Heritage House.

I helped my friend create websites and exhibitions and realize dreams.

I'm sure there's more. But even though I feel these have been great accomplishments and I have enjoyed them, I need to stop the frenzy. Because that is how that voice inside my head sounds, as if I am running out of time. There's always this fear that if I don't do enough and I don't use my time wisely then when I die I won't have finished my mission. It's irrational, but always there. And it needs to stop, because missions are not accomplished with busywork but with great work, and great work requires uninterrupted thought and concentration. And because I waste a lot of time not having a clear head!

In order to get my mind working within that wavelength...

I have been planning a long trip, a time free of the commitments of the world I live in right now.

A long trip. A trip to think, forget, and to remember, to reconstruct.

So that's what I am doing this year, even if it will not be as long as I wanted it to be, or the exact trip I wanted.

The trip I wanted sounds really boring to most people. I wanted to rent a house in Albuquerque, and set up a studio in a room of the house, and just work, go for walks with Raquel, go to Sunday dinner at Linda's house, and at the end of 6 months, find myself wanting to come back to NYC with my mind renewed and my objectives and desires clear. My worst fear was that I would not want to come back.

But since I am not going by myself, I will have to compromise and go to Spain for 2 months and just travel around old cities, eat all kinds of delicious foods, draw, take photos, and write, which is something I have not been able to do lately since my mind is in "shutdown" most of the time and that's why I need a trip. (This blog post is a sort of "permission to write post," to get me started...)

That trip is probably going to be from March until May. On March 4th, I have an event with Xiomara Evans and Marni Rice at La Maison d'Art. Then we leave! After that, back to NYC, where I have a date set for this year's Mary Magdalene Celebration on July 22 at PS 109/El Barrio Art Space and La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña.

After that, I don't know. I hope the trip will help me decide what changes I need to make, what to keep and what to let go.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

My Fashion Show: This Should Put a Smile on Your Face :)

All I can say is: It was fun!

We had a full house for the one day exhibition by the Seven Women in Movement, a group of women artists that I am part of and that was formed with the intention of presenting work about the current situation of Puerto Rico. My political art days are long over, so the pieces I am working on for the show in 2018 have more to do with wishes of protection, but in the meantime we are doing exhibitions with work we already have done and this was the second one.

Creating the fashion designs was one of my most exciting projects of 2016 since, for a long time, I had been wishing to create something like this, but had not found a way. When I received the VIDA  invitation I got to work right away and it was one of those graceful and magical moment of flow. I am very happy with the products. My only wish is that VIDA could accelerate the production process, since it takes almost 2 months for the pieces to arrive. Although I have to say: they are worth it.

I hope the fashion show makes you smile!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Did you see my fashion designs?

Here is my shop at VIDA, where you can see all the Spirit of the Forest fashions. 

Black Friday only: 40% off! 

Note: They take a long time to arrive, they may not get to you on time for Christmas. 
Also, I have samples to see and try. Come by if you are in NYC and visit

Monday, November 07, 2016

Grand Opening!

I have been busy these past weeks making a new space ready for a new project. I now have a studio-store at La Marqueta!

This project began with a group of "artisan squatters" at the site. In popular memory La Marqueta is the place where people used to go shopping for traditional Puerto Rican foods and other special items. In time, the market became smaller and smaller and almost disappeared. Politicians and concerned citizens have been trying to keep it alive all these years by reconstructing it, and bringing in new businesses. It now works as a sort of business incubator, but there are also long-time vendors selling the traditional foods of the Caribbean. My friend Mercedes, who knows the people in charge of making La Marqueta a lively place again, especially Melissa Mark-Viverito and the La Marqueta Retoña project, managed to "squat" on two spaces with other artisans. It became a more formal arrangement and now a corporation named Acacia pays for the 2 spaces and 4 artists are allowed to set up shop for free as a way of embellishing and improving the space. 

When one of the artisans left and another was evicted, Mercedes invited me to join the space. I suggested we invite my friend and partner in many projects Yarisa Colón, and we got to work. 

The space is now pretty and ready to open! I set up my tile painting studio there and spend most afternoons painting and meeting with people. Or decorating ;)

This Thursday, we are doing the "Grand Opening" together with Mercedes Molina, who is a doll maker, and Carmen Ayala, a painter, and you are invited if you are in NY! Come by and see the stores-studios!

La Marqueta
115 Street and Park Avenue
Thursday, November 10th, 2016
6-9 p.m.
Enjoy a wine and Cheese reception, Puerto Rican Appetizers by Maruka, and delicious cupcakes by Sprinkle Splash!

***Thanks to Melissa Mark-Viverito & La Marqueta Retoña for making this project possible.***