Today we’d like to introduce you to Kiara Sánchez.
Kiara, before we jump into specific questions about your art, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My story starts like many artists, drawing from a very young age all the time on any piece of paper I could find. I was born in Naples, Italy to Puerto Rican parents (who were living in Italy because my dad was in the NAVY); the three of us moved to the states when I was two. Soon more family from PR moved with us to Jacksonville, FL. I later went on to study fine art, illustration and graphic design at Flagler college in St. Augustine, FL. I met my now-husband there, Daniel. He was born and raised in Miami to Cuban parents. We would often drive down to Miami and visit his family and I always felt so at home there being surrounded by people who spoke our language and shared similar stories.
My art has taken many forms over the years. When I was younger, I used to draw stories, comics and books. Then as I got older, I honed my fine art skills falling in love with painting portraits of people and now I do a little bit of everything but my favorite thing to do is custom illustrate for people and create art representing the Latino community. Being with my husband in Miami and getting excited every-time there was a shirt or mug or print about something Latino made me want others to feel seen as well. I now have a Latin series on my website celebrating all things Miami, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Selena, Cafecito (more countries and people to come!) with prints people can buy. I create custom portraits for people, whether it’s wedding portraits, family, people and their pets or a custom skyline of where they are from. I love creating things that put a smile on their face.
I look forward to getting back into painting this year and adding more things to my shop and getting involved in community pop-ups. My goal is to one day have my Kiartist shop as my full-time business and to one day have a gallery show of paintings showcasing the love for my home country Puerto Rico.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Being an artist or even wanting to do anything with art, you get a lot of looks from people like how is that going to get you money? Is that a real job? Also owning a side hustle of Kiartist while working full-time as a designer is hard. It involves a lot of late nights packing and drawing orders, then getting up early to work the next day and do it all over again. Also artists block is not fun when you have to be creative FULL TIME haha. I am learning as go and learning from fellow creatives.
We’d love to hear more about your art.
I specialize in custom portraits, black and white or watercolor. Custom skylines and prints that celebrate the Latino culture. I also love illustrating stories, especially children’s books. I have illustrated one before and am currently working on one right now as well. Also I make these funny little daily comics starring me navigating “adult” life.
At my 9 to 5 job I design but also my favorite is when I get to illustrate in our two magazines, VOID and Edible Northeast FL.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Well, besides the obvious hard work ethic you need to make any business work, I think kindness and authenticity. Be who you are, I made a mistake my senior year in a portfolio I compared myself to other designers work constantly and then my half of my work was trying to design like other people and not focusing on what my strengths were.
- Prints $20
- Custom Portraits $40
- Wedding portraits $70
- Website: kiartist.com
- Phone: 9043038864
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: kiartist
- Facebook: kiartist
Ariel Rose Photography (for the photo of me)