Today we’d like to introduce you to Kandy Lopez.
Kandy, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was born in Bayonne, New Jersey in the ’80s and moved to Hialeah, Florida in the ’90s with my mother and older brother. Growing up in Hialeah was a totally different experience than Jersey, but we still dealt with the same racism. As an Afro-Dominican, I had to come to terms with my difference as a strength. Eventually, I attended Norland Middle School of The Arts Magnet program in Opa Locka, Florida and we moved to Miami Gardens, now known as “Murder Gardens.” Surprisingly, this actually felt like home. The school was predominately African American with a high population of Latino/Hispanic students. The diversity of shades and cultures really influenced my current body of work. Middle school molded me into who I am today. I attended New World School of the Arts and graduated from the University of South Florida with a BS (management and marketing) and a BFA (painting) degree. Immediately after my Bachelors, I was accepted into Florida Atlantic University to pursue my terminal MFA degree. It was here where I discovered my fascination with painting and drawing minorities within my own community. People would ask me, “why are you painting minorities? Why is this important to you?” This was an eye-opener because I never saw them as minorities; they were just people that live around my neighborhood. Then I asked, “if a white person paints another white person, as it’s been for thousands of years, why are they not questioned regarding their preferences in painting whites?” This started a nice debate of taking responsibility for the images that I paint. Because I am Afro-Dominican and I am a minority (which will be changing in a few years), I have to take responsibility for painting my people?! This is what I like to tackle within my work. Not only raising these kinds of questions but also exhibiting in places where you don’t see positive representations of minorities. Swagger is used within my work to make those that are invisible, visible. We are not only others/slaves. We are also human.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do? Why? And what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My artist statement: Curious to understand my fascination with an attraction to certain individuals who live and work in urban, often economically disadvantaged environments, my work explores the strength, power, confidence, and swag of these individuals through a variety of mediums. My images develop a personal and socially compelling visual vocabulary that investigates race, the human defense mechanism, visibility through fashion, and gentrification. I want my images to help educate, communicate, and foster uncomfortable topics that we seem to look past or avoid in our multi-cultural society. Representing individuals within poor communities in the US, these portraits help me, as a female Afro-Dominican American, come to terms with the way I too have adopted and performed identities of survival. Additionally, I want this work to make a visual record of these compelling individuals rarely acknowledged within the history of art.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
I got asked this question my last year at USF. Are you successful? I’m the first of my family to graduate and receive a Bachelors degree. I also worked and was highly independent by 18. This is my definition of succeeding in life.
As an artist, I was taught the traditional skills of a painter in middle and high school and by the time I went into my undergraduate years I was mastering my story/artistic language. As an artist, I know that I’m successful because of the awards, exhibitions, and jobs. However, as a critic, I know that I can do better. There is always work to be done. In those regards, I am successful in some things, but other things need improvement.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
You can support my work on social media. (Links below)
Purchasing work is another way I support my family.
- Website: www.kandyglopez.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kandyglopez/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kandyglopez/