How my wood art came to be: A brief history on my influences, screen printing, and urban art.
Updated: Apr 17
In this post, I will run you through my influences and what started my deep-dive into the world of art, wood layering and beyond. It all began with screen printing, graphic design and the desire to own my own skateboarding/graffiti brand.
Large wall art has always been intriguing to me, murals, big captivating pop neon signs—but where did this love come from?
Above, you see one of my first large scale art pieces—Female Divine.
I want to make this post accessible and easily read by you, hence giving you a little guide on my story and how I got to where I am today. I may be long winded, so feel free to scroll around.
My love for large wall art
#1: A brief history of screen printing and street art
#2: How my story begins
A brief history of screen printing and street art—my two loves.
I'd like to share with you a bit about the fascinating history of two of my biggest creative influences: screen printing and street art. Learning about the origins and evolution of these art forms has had a profound impact on how and why I approach my own work. For as long as I can remember, street art has captivated my attention, and I've been intrigued by the techniques and processes used to create it.
Screen printing, also known as serigraphy, is a printing technique that involves forcing ink through a stencil (or screen) onto a surface. This process was originally developed in Asia, with evidence of screen printing being used in China as far back as the Song Dynasty (960–1279 CE). The technique then spread to other parts of Asia, such as Japan and India, where it was used to print textiles and other materials.
Screen printing as we know it today, however, did not become popular in the West until the 20th century. It was first used in Europe in the early 1900s, primarily for printing on textiles, and gained popularity in the United States during the 1910s and 1920s. Screen printing continued to evolve throughout the 20th century, with advancements in materials and technology making it easier and more efficient.
In the 1960s and 70s, screen printing became a popular technique among street artists. Artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein used screen printing to create bold and colorful prints that incorporated popular culture and consumer goods. Meanwhile, street artists used screen printing to create posters and prints to advertise concerts, political movements, and other events.
Street art, which includes a variety of art forms created in public spaces, has a long and varied history. Some of the earliest forms of street art date back to ancient civilizations, such as the cave paintings of Lascaux and the graffiti of ancient Rome. In the modern era, street art began to gain prominence in the 1960s and 70s, with artists such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat creating work in public spaces.
During the 1980s and 90s, street art became increasingly popular, with artists such as Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and Invader gaining international recognition for their work. These artists used a variety of techniques, including stenciling, wheatpasting, and spray painting, to create works that often commented on political and social issues.
Today, street art continues to be an important form of artistic expression, with artists using a range of techniques and materials to create work that engages with the public and challenges traditional notions of art and its place in society.
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How my story begins.
My love for art began when I was in kindergarten. I still remember creating a stained glass bottle at an after-school art program. The art studio was located below ground, with small windows that allowed us to see into the recess area. There were two long tables where all of us little kids sat. I was so excited when I came home with my first piece of art.
As I grew older, my brother introduced me to graffiti and urban art in Bogota. I learned about crews, hip hop, and enjoyed the cool designs that people painted in the streets. When my family moved to the United States, I continued to draw in my notebooks throughout middle school and high school. I started skateboarding in 9th grade, and I kept up with the street art world. I was inspired by Obey, and thought to myself, "I can do that."
However, as I got older, I served tables for 10 years to pay for my university education. I worked on my general studies in community college and traveled around the US and Europe for months at a time in between. I loved rock climbing, skateboarding, and fitness. I also had a deep appreciation for culture, color, patterns, and design. At one point, I even started a bag company that imported huipil handbags from Guatemala and helped a women's association in the country.After studying environmental science, I wanted to create a business that didn't exploit people in other countries for their low labor costs. I wanted to share the profits of the business with them and allow them to earn US dollars.
My journey with wood art began when I returned from a four-month road trip across the US. I was obsessed with creating a brand for myself after my import business was left behind. I started putting together drawings that I wanted to have on shirts, with the idea that I would create a brand through t-shirt design. At the time, I was 21 or 22 years old and attending Austin Community College. However, I never had the time to create art because I was always spending time with friends, partying, or going out.
For years, my New Year's resolution was to make a single piece of art, but I never accomplished it until 2016. In my quest to create my own t-shirt brand, I realized that I had to know how to graphic design in order to burn my designs onto a screen. The people at the screen print shop told me that my design had to be vectorized, but I had no idea what that meant. So, I looked it up and decided to teach myself graphic design because I didn't have the money to pay a designer $60 an hour to vectorize my designs. I put myself through YouTube University and taught myself design and basic computer programming.
After a three-month backpacking trip across Europe, where I slept on my little sleeping mat across the beaches of Italy, the mountains in Piedmont, and hitchhiked through the continent, I decided that I had to graduate from university. I enrolled in Texas State University to earn a bachelor's degree after obtaining a degree in Environmental Science from Austin Community College.
It was during my "senior" year of university, at 24 years old, that I stumbled upon the "Maker Space." It was a tiny room in the engineering building that gave access to all students to play with a CNC, 3D printers, and a laser cutter. I fell in love with the possibilities of creating using these techniques. I realized that I could use all of my designs on the laser cutter and got to work. I became an instructor to have more time on the machines and began etching my works into glass, wood, and I began thinking about works that are three dimensional. I started to create wooden sculptures that could be assembled like puzzles, and that was the start of my wood art journey. I became more and more interested in the possibilities that wood offered, and I started to experiment with different types of wood and techniques.