Frida Kahlo was a Mexican woman who transformed her life by painting herself. For those of us living under a rock, the artist was well known for flouting every single part of the societal code of conduct at the time, with no lack of vigor and zero remorse. Many of her greatest works were self-portraits that expressed her emotional state at the time of their conceptions. Kahlo’s face is distinctive, with dark and brooding almond-shaped eyes, high cheekbones that lend a slenderness to its shape, well-defined red lips, dark ebony hair piled atop the head in braided crowns, and a lush unibrow that gave her expressions a more serious cast. Kahlo’s work often explores anatomical themes, such as those seen in her piece, The Two Fridas. She struggled with many medical issues throughout the course of her life, such as a deformed leg from polio and being in a bus accident at the age of eighteen; this particular accident led to a shattered spine which required upwards of thirty surgeries. The Two Fridas expresses young Kahlo’s struggle with heartbreak, depression, and the harsh reality of her recurrent medical issues after her divorce from womanizer, and contemporary artist, Diego Rivera.

In the painting sit the titular characters, adjacent to one another. The Left Frida sports a very traditional, high collared European style dress which features white lace, frills, pleats, and embroidered flowers on its ruffles. She sits regally, her face cheating to the front of the painting while her body is set at an outward angle to her partner. Her heart is exposed and superimposed on her chest. In her right hand she holds a hemostat, stopping the bleeding of exposed veins leading from the heart. With her left hand, she clasps her twin. The Right Frida has on one of the many nationalistic Tehuana dresses she was known to wear -which though more colorful than Left Frida’s- is still rather drab. Right Frida clasps a small amulet with a portrait of Diego as a child. Like her twin, Right Frida has veins coiled around her that connect the two of them and her enlarged heart sits outside her body. Unlike her twin, Right Frida’s heart is not exposed and transparent to the arteries. While Left Frida has placed red lipstick, blush, and darker lashes on herself, Right Frida appears fresh-faced and relaxed in her traditional garb. They sit on a low-lying green bench. The sky behind them is the murky color of evening hour lakes, grey clouds fill most of the frame and translate Kahlo’s inner turmoil. Holding her own hand, she is her only solace.

My interpretation of this imagery is such: Kahlo had very recently divorced from Diego Rivera at the time of the oil painting’s creation. She reminisces about her panzón, while feeling the unbearable pain and depression that she’s had to carry because of the marriage that broke her heart and the bus accident that made her have surgery all her life. The Two Fridas ended up being the piece that paid Kahlo the most during her lifetime. Left Frida is the heavily composed woman that Kahlo has had to be since their split, and though she’s clearly handling it, to an extent we can see she’s in deep pain. The Two Fridas depicts much duality as an affirmation of self within her works. The dark tone of the piece suggests that Kahlo is struggling within herself, most likely mentally as her dress and make up –her surface aesthetic, so to speak- are so well put-together. Based on my own study of her works in my free time, I can sense this repetitive theme of loneliness. Many of the paintings she’s composed show us that she keeps certain items and pets she loves as forms of protection against the deep-seeded loneliness and flailed pain within her heart. I believe that Left Frida would be the equivalent of “Present Frida,” and thusly Right Frida would be “Past Frida.” Right Frida is the woman in love with Diego Rivera at the beginning of their marriage, the strong one who unlike Left Frida has no damage to the heart though she still’s in physical pain, who sports her proud opinion in her proud traditional dress.

Article by: Kass Rodriguez-Urbas




Nelson Host Santiago is a visual Artist working and residing in New York City. He was born in Spanish Harlem but was raised in the Bronx. He comes from a Puerto Rican background and loves and admires his roots. Nelson is recently married and has grown kids but he and his wife are raising two little ones that bring much joy to their family unit. Nelson Host Santiago is a family man with sound roots and strong family values, he believes family is important and needs to be nourished and taken with a touch of joy. He has a funny sense of humor,always posting something positive upon his face book feed. He enjoys looking at the brighter side of life.

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Nelson Host Santiago attended Wallkill Senior High School and from there he attended the Bronx Community College. Nelson is strongly integrated the art community and works diligently every day in creating and learning on his craft. His artistic endeavor began at the tender age of 4. It was then that he realized how much he enjoyed paint, acrylics, oils, sprays and paint markers, just basically anything he could get his hands on. Nelson grew up in a house of 7 brothers and sisters. But he was the only one who liked art or painted. He remembers asking his parents if anyone else in his family painted or drew, that’s when he knew he was the only one with this wonderful talent and yearning. He never took a class or went to a art school, it all comes from a natural talent that he has cultivated.

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Nelson Host Santiago doesn’t consider his artwork too serious, although at one point in his career he did paint about serious issues. He especially wanted to express his voice pertaining to the debt issue and status that Puerto Rico is facing. He focused his work to portray a view to the crime rate because he was saddened by the statistics, being that in 2011 the murder rate in Puerto Rico was higher than New York City & Chicago combined. For Nelson it was very important to bring awareness to those and many more issues. In one of his works he painted a frantic woman laying on top of 1,136 bullets, this was done in order to show the audience a dramatic view of the number of people killed in Puerto Rico. Statistically speaking In 2011, 70% of those were crimes committed due to gun violence, and so he felt it was important to bring awareness to this type of problems. On the lighter side of his work, he considers it to be a mix of Urban, Comic book Graffiti style and caricatures.

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Nelson Host Santiago’s artistic process consists of first making a pencil sketch on a canvas. He likes to freehand his sketch although he has used references in the past. He is not big on depending on visuals like photos and models, in fact in his creative process he allows his work to be freehand and limitless. Nelson loves mixing mediums, he never shy’s away from any specific medium. He currently is working with acrylics, oils and spray paint. Nelson Host Santiago also performs in front of a live audience, those types of events are essentially important because they allow him to work in a eureka way of creating. He believes it brings a special effect to the table and thus brings forth a more interesting piece, one that often leaves him with a sense of complete satisfaction.

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I asked Nelson Host Santiago the magic question: “How do you get out of an artist slump? and his Answer was a simple and honest one, Nelson stated: ” Well I’m a mood painter, I have never been one to make or push myself to paint”. He finds with living a busy life full of important responsibilities, it is essentially important to take time for creating. There’s nothing better than making that time to sit in front of the easel and painting. He quickly states: “No encouragement needed”. Nelson believes to be different from other artist because he tries to paint original subjects. He often finds that many artists remake originals that have been reproduced over and over like “Tupac” or “Biggie”, “Frida” or Dali. He simply states: “I don’t want to do that”.
When asked: “what do you wish to relate with your work towards the audience?”
He stated: “I put my work out there and let the viewer decide what they get out of it, what I get out of my work might not necessarily be the same for others as it is for me”.

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Nelson Host Santiago’s biggest and most important influences have been his Mom & Dad. Artistically speaking, his biggest influences are his friends William Green & TATS Cru. Nelson is a big fan of the MOMA and loves to visit. He states: “Maybe when I’m dead they will display some of my work there!”. Aside from the MOMA, Nelson loves visiting new galleries and exploring new ideas and talent. He believes the “Phantom Audio gallery” is one very cool spot to create and to network. Nelson Host Santiago has exhibit his work in quite a few galleries and art shows, his most recent exhibit was at “The Point” gallery located in the Bronx.

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To learn more about this artist and his work please visit:

Featured Artist of the Month: J.R. SLATTUM

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J.R. Slattum is a visual artist living in Woodburn, Oregon, which is just outside of Portland.  He likes living and working there because it offers all sorts of outdoor adventures within a short drive.  He frequents the Oregon Coast to reset as needed, and he states, ” I like to plant my feet in the sand, and watch my mind float away in the clouds”.

J.R. Slattum is a self-taught artist.  His art work is surreal.  It pulls the viewer into a realm of the untouched unconscious.  When I first viewed his work I was left with the feeling of tapping into different levels and dimensions.  His art is inspiring.  It draws you in delivering a fantastic world never before manifested.

J.R. Slattum’s artistic endeavor first began in 2007  after he had a near death experience that change the course of his life.  He decided to use his experience by examining his personal views on life in depth.  The incident was a moment that flipped his perspective and shifted his world upside-down.  He states, “Not only did it remind me of my childhood, but it planted in me a love of ontology, which is the study of the nature of being, and also how the process of creating art can offer a meditative realm to travel to the unknown.  That is the moment when the dream of becoming an artist first grew in me.  At that moment I was immediately an artist, and there would be no more tomfoolery!”.

J.R. Slattum works with the medium of oil-paints.  He loves everything about them including the control, the richness, the history, and even their smell.  He happily states, “It’s nice to build thin layers up and work with the transparency of the paint to create lighting effects”.  He likes the process of weaving efforts in his works of art.  He views this process of creating as his personal meditation tool.  Through his art, he invites his viewers to question every day beliefs on many aspects of life, to find their own answers, and to find their own realities within the strokes of his many works of art.forest thinking
When I asked him if he considers his art serious he replied, “While I take my craft serious, the art is free to get into any mischief”.

J.R. Slattum does not allow himself to get into an artistic slump.  He believes that when this type of thing happens one has to simply try to shake the rust off, show up, do work and the ideas will meet your call.  He believes in the importance of feeding ones mind with experiences outside of the studio.  In his words one must, “Work with a focused mind and play with a sharpened ax towards ones hobbies and adventure.  A happy artist = happy art.  Everything you do is part of your art”.crucible
I asked J.R. Slattum about his process and how each piece evolves.  He explained that every idea shows itself through a simple doodle.  It is an instant idea, one that sort of appears as he is in the middle of sketching.

After sketching, he embraces additional elements with their creative essence and infinite possibilities.  For instance, he experiments with alter egos and sees things from different views.  In addition to his direct participation he likes to observe and judge the many thoughts provoked by creativity.  The process of seeing ideas grow from seeds into beautiful creations excites him.  He says, ” If the idea fascinates me, then I’ll nurture it into a full grown oil painting.  Once an idea finds me, I’ll work on its composition then value-lighting and shading,  and finally color! It’s all about problem-solving”.Intuition
The paint process starts with a monochromatic under-painting in burnt umber.  Once that dries, he spends a good day pre-mixing his palette into color with value, and with many layers and strings.  J.R. Slattum applies his chosen colors from dark to light, and keeps shadows transparent and smooth because he feels that lights are progressively thicker and less transparent.  The effect resembles that of a topography map where the shadows of the valley light the peaks of structures.

J.R. Slattum grew up in the Mid Willamette Valley.  It is where he spent most of his life.  He always had good grades in school, and never really got into any serious trouble.  He feels that growing up in a smaller city was ideal.  It gave him the time to work on his creativity, and mischief always presented itself while doodling in the margin of his daily notes during lectures.   Then in 2012, he relocated his studio to the Portland area in order to pursue art as a way of life.Night
His response to my inquiry of what makes him different from other artists was short and on key, “I’m me, and you’re you; can’t help that”.  In few words he likes to describe his work and himself as, “Inner-space; Psycho-nut!”.

Some of J.R. Slattum’s personal heroes are Alan Watts, Terence McKenna, Bill Hicks, George Carlin, MC Escher, Dr Seuss and the music of TOOL.  J.R. Slattum has a deep respect for people who really embrace who they are and try to create more than what they destroy.  He calls that “Personal integrity”.root

His most recent works have been in exhibitions at:
The CoproGallery; Roadside Attractions; Santa Monica, CA; 2014
The HART Gallery; Solo- Archaic Revival; Portland, OR; 2014
The Gallery Zero; Sepsis21; Portland, OR; 2013
The Hive Gallery; 8 Year Anniversary Feature; Los Angeles, CA; 2013
Float On; Montly Solo; Portland, OR; April 2013
Fleeting States; Feature; Portland, OR; December 2012
Atrium Gallery; Solo Show- “The Other Side- Chronicles of a Near-Death Experience”; Portland, OR; September 2012
Some of his most recent publications:
“Sherpa” by Steve Casagranda; Book Cover Art; 2014
With Our Arms To The Sun; Album Art; 2014
Dean K. Miller; Interview; February 2013
ReLeaf Magainze, Centerfold, February 2012
Innsmouth Free Press, COVER, February 2012sweethome
*For more information, or to contact this artist please visit: “The Art of J.R. Slattum”

Featured Artist of the Month: ALEXANDER REYNOSO

hatprofilepaintAlexander Reynoso is our Featured Artist of the month, he was born in 1974 in the Bonao region of the Dominican Republic. He is a visual Artist whose work is fluid and full of multi layered energy. His work focuses on distorting reality and thus giving the viewer a subconscious approach into the depth of each one of his pieces. He states “It is about trying to find answers to a puzzle and following one’s own sense of logic in a way that excites the viewer, allowing each piece to become personal and full of self associations”. His Art works are a shared composition of journeys and struggles with himself and his audience.bab baby bang

He was raised in New York City, Harlem, but has recently moved to St. Petersburg, Florida in March. Although he realizes it was a huge life change he knew that it was important to find new beginnings and to seek more challenges and explore new experiences. Alexander hopes to visit all galleries and museums as it is part of his much needed journey towards seeking inspiration.bru cats dance diety

when Alexander resided in NYC, he enjoyed visiting the Lower East Side during “The Collage Movement” every Tuesday this was his second home bringing Harlem towards other parts of the city in movements like “El Barrio Pinta” (“The Barrio Paints”) at the famous “Camaradas Bar & Grill” this would take place every last Sunday of the month. He went to take part in those events over 4 years finding much inspiration, exposure and networking opportunities. Alexander Reynoso has exhibited work mostly in a form of shared space that has usually lasted 1 or two days. It has been a sort of “through the artist” movement where one can come and view the artist in a working situation.flo

Alexander Reynoso works in mixed media utilizing and incorporating any and all mediums that he has access to. He proudly states “Art is about building bridges, erecting temples and knocking them down, redefining the known, and discovering the imagination, or not.”

Alexander is always seeking new challenges, He states “I was an artist at birth using different mediums along the years”. He was a graphic artist and designer for 15 years, there he learned the professional programs working full force with experimenting his ideas upon the graphics, video editing, html and animation that he was able to work with. Learning how to develop conceptual design allowed him understand the structure of in a fully developed way and how to go about placing them unto canvas.Illustration peac

Alexander credits his cultural heritage and his move to New York City as the two greater influences on his work as an illustrator, painter, drawer and sculptor. He feels his mission as a visual Artist is to give others a moment of reflection, to provide a more intense questions as per the common reality of life. He shares his thoughts through the pigments and the raw lines in his sketches and art works. He states “I’m always questioning what I see, what I feel, what is right, I hope that my art provides an intense personal connection to the viewer, I don’t have an answer for everything but I’m always seeking and I want to share my journeys in a way that is both welcoming and inspiring to those who connect with my work.”glassesgirl

Each work that Alexander Reynoso works on evolves from inspiration, when he gets an idea he quickly starts a sketch or writes it down to experiment with the thought process and figure out what it is he wishes to accomplish. He then prints his references as a B/W in draft quality. Once this is done and the idea is fully or mostly developed he works through sheer motivation to make it a reality, retaining the idea in-mind he focuses on the concept rather than perfection. The same applies when he writes down his thoughts, Alexander never stops to think. He states “if you stop for a minute and loose focus, working on grammar and spelling, then I might loose the general idea and then work only the grammar and spelling!”, “I have came to realize that paintings are never perfect. If I worry too much on the little things, it’ll take longer than it should, at the end I can then, appreciate the pretty mistakes”. 

 The first process is intensely powerful as he exerts with heavy strokes and rapid movements. After applying a foundation he walks away to let it set and dry and also to take a moment to admire the raw strokes and the energy that he has placed on the canvas, It is like a work in learning process for he feels he grows and visual understanding on how to better apply for the next process. Often times he feels that a painting is yet to be completed, he enjoys applying new techniques which gives old paintings a new life. He happily states “each painting may end up in a variety of ways, as it is an experimental from the original idea”.

Alexander Reynoso admits that his supplies never limits him, he uses water color pencils, pastel sticks and acrylics. He first works with a large brush or pallet knife until he feels he has no need for it before going to the next size down. When asked “How do you get out of an artist slump? -he proudly states “never been in an artist slump!” “lol”.purp seeds

Alexander Reynoso considers his Art work to being serious in nature, but is also not to sure of how to label it. Maybe as he states “I take my art very seriously; however, I apply it in a playful manner”. “I have fun with strokes, even when I am illustrating caricatures”. He feels what makes him different from other artist is his timeline and how viewers are embodied in his life’s work, clearly he gives room to the viewer so that they too can find a bit of themselves in his works. He states “I can only state on how others describe my art, as I am in no position to talk about myself I prefer to be mysterious than to mislead”. In one word he describes his work and his work as “fun!”sing totem

Alexander Reynoso’s biggest both personal and artistic influence has been Marthalicia Mattarita, She is a visual artist based in the Bronx, NY. She first inspired Alexander to paint in front of a live audience. As he witnessed her do so many times, he admires her goals and dreams both as an artist and as a person. Alexander states “to know her for so long and to see her accomplish so many goals encourages me to follow the same path”.

Alexander Reynoso is an Artist with a clear path in his quest. He will continue to push the boundaries, conquering new and exciting works mediums and realities. His works of Art is a working process.

To Learn more about this artist please visit:

Featured Artist of the Month: MYRON DYAL

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Myron Dyal is a visual artist from Inglewood, California where he has resided all of his life. His works are distinguishable through the many forms of his personal interpretations, working from canvases, sculptures and daily interpretations of what his mind sees. He attended Inglewood High School and soon after graduating attended the “California State University” where he earned his BA in music. Myron’s studio is based in Chatsworth, CA where he is surrounded by the magic and wonders of the mountains, he loves this space very much because it is located in a small part of town near Downtown LA.

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When Myron Dyal was a young boy of only 4 he was in a coma, soon after he recovered he found out that he was afflicted with Seizures that persist to this very day. He has always loved music and started playing the piano and the violin at a very early age and through his time in college it was a simple transition to decide and strive for a degree in music composition. He has music on sound cloud which he has composed himself.

Myron Dyal Considers himself a mystical primordial artist because he only paints from his visions. Each one of his works are renderings of fragments that come through his minds eye. Myron works diligently so that he can capture every detail that has been shown to him, placing them on his personal drawing journals. He has over 7,000 drawings that have entailed 30 years of material. He later returns to each one individually so as to capture all of the details in his mind, thus creating a one of a kind element.
Myron Dyal believes that our waking reality is also part of a greater living conscious. He receives messages, visions and ideas that are caused through his temporal lobe epilepsy.Myron is aware of that his visions are verifiable by observation and knows that they are powerful and can have messages that can be decipher. But it is through these very experiences that gives him the inspiration to create, making the viewer part of a greater reality of which consensual reality is simply one layer of the many of which, he has been fortunate to have reached.Myron knows that the conscious state of being is a very thin line between what we believe reality to be and what he has come to realize or understand. He works on creating on a daily basis finding colors and mediums to best express his visions. His artworks began with simple pencil drawings and as he matured so did his work. He is very proud of his artistic abilities and knows that he has and will continue to get better as time passes.

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Myron Dyal’s work is an overall process of healing that he feels his unconscious mind produces and he feels it’s one that must be reproduced and internalized in order to go into the deep part of himself for more clarity and healing.
Myron has done artwork for “THE EPILEPSY FOUNDATION OF LOS ANGELS” and has been on their board of trustee’s for over ten years. Epilepsy has always been part of all his shows. Myron also gives lectures about this ailment and guides people with epilepsy to learn more about this condition.

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Myron Dyal has a gallery “LA LUZ DE JESUS”, however he exhibits his works mostly in museums, college, Universities and art centers all around the world. some which include the “IMOCA” museum, “The Cal State Fullerton”, The State Northbridge”,The Otis School Of Art and Design”, The University of Melbourne”, “Sonic Odyssey in Greece”,”Billy Shire Gallery”, “Occidental College” and on occasions at the: “La Luz De Jesus Gallery “.
When I asked Myron what his biggest influences where graciously responded “all of my influence comes from my inner mind”. “it all comes from my visions and my very mystical experiences”. He considers all of his works of equal importance because they are pieces of his most inner thoughts. Myron states “you could say that my work is surreal in nature, but to put it accurately “I a’m a visionary Artist!”. He never gets is “slump”because his work pours out of him every day and at times he feels he cannot get it all down fast enough!
Myron Dyal likes working with sculptures because he feels that the process can help him reach a 3 dimensional form that at times is lost when it’s on a flat surface. He also can see his vision and it’s influence and can feel free to dance it, perform rituals and live surrounded by it’s presence.

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Myron likes to go to museums that display the ancient worlds, loving the primitive works of art and cultures. He is very interested in the inner process of the human experience specially since he believes that his works come from similar worlds they are are some of his favorites and he is very drawn to their magic and wonder. Some examples are Van Gogh, Max Ernst, Rene Magritte, Joan Miro, Marc Chagall,Salvador Dali, Georgia O’Keeffee, Frida Kahlo, William Blake and Kienholz.
Myron is not worried about the “fine art” tag placed on many in the art industry and feels that as long as he is true to his work and he is able to follow his path he is in a very good position in life. Myron Dyal does not work on commissions, he has displayed his works. Myron never considered displaying his works of art until he was well into his 60’S, right up until then he considered his artwork his religion, his mysticism his underworld. It was part of him and his personal journey in healing and living. He had many friends in the art industry that encouraged him to display his work, so he decided to do it!! His first show was at “Grand Central Art and Center”. There he displayed over 70 of his works a complete retrospective. A book was also produce with and introduction by Clive Barker. Myron Dyal and Clive Barker later did a show together in “Otis College Of Art and Design”. He has also displayed his works at “La Luz De Jesus Gallery”.

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Myron is currently working on a 28 sculpture work called “THE PANTHEON QUARTET” . He is including written music that will be composed by his friend Dr. Jennifer Logan, she was also the one whom composed the music for the “Charon’s Pantheon” that was complied of 13 sculptures and is also part of the complete 28 piece artwork!. Other works that he is currently working on is 64 images for a limited edition set of cards of the “I CHING” or “The Book Of Changes” that is “a 5,000 year old Chinese book of power and wonder”, that Myron hopes will be done and published by the end of this year. Myron also aspires to bring to life his work on an E-Book that will be based on his life and experiences. He hopes this too will be done by 2016.
Myron Dyal doesn’t work on commissions, He is strictly dedicated upon bringing to life all of his creations that come from his higher self.
Some of his works are: “THE PANTHEON QUARTET”
For more information about this artist and his works:

Featured Artist of the Month: PATTY ELJAIEK 

Patty Eljaiek is a multidimensional visual artist who was born in Barranquilla, Colombia. She remained in the city of Columbia until the age of 3 when she moved to New York City. At the age of 12 she was introduced to the world of music literature. Patty’s artworks stretch the imagination with a variety of mediums that include canvas art, jewelry, scrapbook, crochet charms, wall mural, silkscreening, printing blocks made from foam stickers, sculptures, old VHS cassettes and so much more. In her younger years Patty’s art teacher encourage her to discover and explore her creativity. He helped her put together an art portfolio that showed Patty’s  potential and thus helped with getting into “The School of Visual Arts”, which changed her  life. It was then that she realized the incredible gift that she shared with her family. She understood and became more drawn into learning and finding her artistic soul.  At “The School of Visual Arts” she studied the old masters.
Patty Eljaiek  married right after graduating. With a growing family and financial responsibilities art was reserved for home made birthdays, presents and special holidays, a s she states: “My children’s friends still have some of those princess wands, tooth fairy boxes and painted denim jackets that I gifted them”.


Patty Eljaiek felt a strong pull to move into the artistic direction soon after her divorce. She needed a sense of healing after such a traumatic event in her life and, that was what art gave her. The perfect situation to unleash all that pent-up creative energy that she had been trying to control. That is when she began on a very long and beautiful journey of discovering herself and what she was made of. Patty’s children’s artwork had always adorned the walls, but now those same walls included Patty’s silk-screens, collages and her  model Magic sculptures. She never imagined that today she would be painting murals, bending wire teaching and making live portraits. She learned so many new things and the probably the most important lesson she says she has learned, is that it does not matter what type of art or creation you materialize, as long as you are creating, because creating art is healing. She describes her art as: “a one of a kind piece of work”.



I, asked Patty Eljaiek to elaborate on whom or what her biggest influences have been, Patty shared with me that, “words” are one of her biggest influences. She recognizes that language is one powerful tool for both inspiration and creative purposes. She notes that being an illustration major at SVA has influenced her and disciplined her in ways that, only the human language can reach a person. She states: “Whether they are lyrics, poems, or literature, good words create images in my head”
Patty Eljaiek states: ” In recent years, most of my work has been a direct influence by Adam Duritz of “Counting Crows”. Patty finds that Adam’s lyrics are deep with emotion and have a way of allowing her to reach her creative inspiration in  a more visual way.Her inspiration also stems from her wonderful family, Patty feels joy that she too is an artistic soul and thanks her family for such a gift. Coming from a family of artist and musicians she too has felt the creative itch, and has so far been creating even when she herself admits she was living a “normal” lifestyle.
Her uncle Jaime was an incredible influence, she remembers him fondly stating: “He was one of the funniest and most talented people I have ever known”. “He always supported and encouraged me to create work that keeps me true to myself”.
Patty misses him dearly and regrets not spending more time with him, wishing she had more time working with him side by side as artist.



Patty Eljaiek considers herself a “portrait artist” she admits that a great face always inspires her. She loves Realism and finds it her favorite genre, she feels that would be the best style to consider her work. Patty believes that the challenge is recreating reality, trying to capture the essence of a natural element or the soul of a person in a portrait all in one piece of work can be a goal to push towards, then for sure experimenting by placing those realistic elements in surreal environments. She says “now, that’s a challenge!”
Patty Eljaiek loves mixing pencil and water color, she feels that they are mediums that give her the desire combinations. Rendering her with a finished product that has both fluidity and amorphous allowing her artwork to possess a desired 3d element.


I, asked Patty how she best describes herself and her artwork. Patty Answered: “Me”- “Raised in a family of women” seduced by Capra’s America, searching for my own Utopia”. ; “My art, is surreptitious”… I love that word, it implies secrecy” ; “I really love to create using anything and everything”. Patty’s  “motto” is “work with what you have!”. 


Patty Eljaiek is a member of “The Greater Westbury Council on the Arts”. Although she doesn’t live in Westbury. She found out about it through her best friend whom was living there last year. They both were looking for an artist organization to join and loved the vibe there, so they joined. She is now on the programming committee and will be co-chairing two events this year. Patty Eljaiek has also been a Mentor at “Xmental” via Ralphie Tatum Perez for about 4 years. She feels this association has been the most rewarding by far. Ralphie has given her the opportunity to do things she never would have thought she was capable of doing, both of these are 501c3’s.


Question: Patty, What are you working on now?
Patty Eljaiek: “I have been creating a series of portraits that I would like to use as the focal point of a show entitled “A Family of Women”. “Most of the portraits are of members of my family, but I have also included women I admire within the arts”.
“I think combining our efforts; we could create a really worthwhile event that would give a voice to those willing to tell their stories of the incredible women in their lives”.”My great-aunts, aunts, grandmothers have had lives to rival those of any Meryl Streep blockbuster”, as do most of the women in all our (the audience) families. Those stories will be lost if we don’t find a way to save them!”.

Patty Eljaiek feels that in life “everything is art!”. She wants to find ways of reminding people that art is not just drawing or painting and creativity, and it is not reserved only for the ones whom have a degree and have acknowledged it. Patty feels that the secret to finding your creativity is to allow yourself to experience it without expectations. She happily states: “Here begins my one woman crusade to awaken the sleeping Jinn of creativity in others”.
For more on this artist:
“Eva Shaw Designs” SOHO,
Jewelry is also available direct from the artist at:
Patty is currently displaying at:
“City Lights Gallery”, Bridgeport CT.
and “William Hallet” in  Astoria.


Patty Eljaiek’s most recent shows have included:
“Astoria Art Festival” -group show.
“Origins”  “Brooklyn Artistry” -group show.
“Make Art Not War-City Lights Gallery”-group show.
“Halsey Street Dreamway” -permanent mural.
“Bushwick Open Studios”
“The Stairwell Project”
“Gramsci Monument” -collaborative public art.
“NOHO” -Ct. group art exhibit.
“Twitter Art Exhibit”-
“Solo show” at Austin’s Ale house.
“Society of Illustrators” -Metamorphosis group show.
“Queens College” “Portraits” -group show.
Other sites for reference of works and process:

Featured Artist Of the Month: ROBERTO OJEDA


Roberto Ojeda was born and raised in Loja, Ecuador. He is a visual artist residing and working out of Miami. Roberto came to study in the U.S. in the year 2000 and settled in to the Miami area. He loves the energy and vibe of the of Wynwood Art District of Miami, Florida. Which is home to over 70 galleries, museums and collections. It is a place where he finds inspiration and energy. Another one of his other favorite places That Roberto finds fascinating is the city of New York, he believes that when it comes to places, New York City is very much an amazing city to be in.
Roberto Ojeda is a talented photographer whom creates innovative and interesting scenes that he captures in his works. He brings forth a sense of sensuality, beauty and strength upon his many photos. On occasion he has worked on commission pieces like weddings and special family occasions. Roberto Ojeda finds it interesting and loves to mingle with people. He feels lucky in being able to interact directly with people and their personal space, thus helping him understand the human condition. He happily states ” I love the interactions of people in meaningful situations”.

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Although Roberto Ojeda has worked on many professional projects including weddings and highlighting special days for certain clients, he openly admits that he does not consider himself a “professional” photographer, he believes that word is more of a business word to clarify the level of experience one has. In fine art photography he prefers to simply consider himself an artist who expresses his ideas through a lens. As far as knowing, He has been a fan of the artistic expression ever since he can remember, but started playing around with ideas angles and lighting as of 5 years ago. He considers his style of work as the act of showing how delicate and intense a person can be once the clothes come of. He states “I a’m an artist addicted to the energy people have and the power light gives you to express it!”. The artistic influences whom Roberto Ojeda feels have been his biggest influences have been Helmut Newton, Joey Lawrence, Man Ray, Salvador Dali, Richard Avedon, Michaelangelo Buonarroti and Leonardo Da Vinci to name a few.
Roberto Ojeda’s inspiration comes from life and all that surrounds us, it comes from past artists that he admires and from things and ideas that he might want to give a different interpretation to, it also comes from experiences and dreams.

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Roberto Ojeda style of creativity is both unique and alluring each piece evolves with different elements. It depends, sometimes he chooses a model and develops a concept that suits her and other times Roberto may think of a concept and once having it clear in his mind he will look for the model to best fit the idea. The photos evolve and take a life of their own during the photo session, at times Roberto may begin with 2 or 3 ideas and then just let the idea grow and flow for the rest of the session.
When asked Roberto; “How do you get out of an artistic slump?
He simply answers “You keep working until it leaves you alone.”
Roberto Ojeda has a diverse variety of works, some very liberal and some very conservative. When asked which of these platforms does he find most rewarding he finds that creativity is his favorite muse. There are so many different ideas that can be open to interpretation and so his most sought out creation is as he casually stated; “The photograph I have not yet taken.”

DSC_3775 DSC_8525 Roberto Ojeda on occasion has collaborated his work for the benefit of others. He is currently being represented by “Art Fusion Galleries” located in Miami, Florida.

For inquiries about this artist please visit:


Featured Artist of the month: Xochiquetzal Linda Betanzos

10269549_722753137840581_5645286860259025461_n10748623_668294866619742_536442228_n   10744570_668294829953079_1567322442_n Xochiquetzal Linda Betanzos was born in Mexico City, Federal District. Her father is from Oaxaca, Mexico and her mother is from Michoacan, Mexico. Linda was raised for most of her younger life in Mexico City until the age of 18. At the age of 18 her mother decided to move from Mexico City to the United States. She has nostalgic memories of living in both countries, because of such an important transition from living in one place to another Linda has a sense of being neither here nor there. The cultures are both similar and very different at the same time, that is something that appealed to her senses. Her family life remained full of love and support. Her parents were always a pivotal point of freedom and expression that Linda felt where her strong roots. succubus llorona black widow 10754909_668348889947673_900379836_n10754816_668348823281013_175465525_n  10751909_668348996614329_226684666_nXochiquetzal Linda biggest Influences have been reached throughout her many experiences, she loves integrating her culture and finds it delightful to view natural and everyday life for inspirations.

Her inspiration comes from a simple phrase, word poem or photograph to a sad or joyful moment she may experience. Her family is the main source of support in establishing a strong healthy and creative foundation. Linda feels that everything has a reason for being, she finds that general objects tell a story, from the ground that she steps on to the birds flying high above, as well as the mundane objects like typical everyday items that most people ignore. She finds herself relating to fabrics and textures, colors and ribbons, window panes and old vintage rustic table or chairs. Sometimes teacups can produce a sense of nostalgia that bring forth a creation or an expression by which she finds her way back to art. 10749513_668349143280981_1437028520_n 10749541_668348769947685_1231241917_n Xochiquetzal Linda artistic influences have been sought out by finding ways to learn and find exposure about the many great artists like Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Gabriel Orozco, Salvador Dalí, Remedios Varo, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Fernando Botero are some of her very favorites. Linda loves finding herself in the world of art and thus finds creativity a pleasurable muse. 10736152_668349066614322_196788078_n 10744936_668290753286820_1605468711_n Xochiquetzal Linda Betanzos likes to work with many different mediums, she has works in canvas, arched paper and has also done body painting. Her works can be permanent fixtures as well as for temporary types of art. She has recently participated in an event called “THE CATRINA INK PRESENTS 2nd ANNIVERSARY” It consisted of live tattooing and live art show case. Her favorite medium is Oil, she finds the process interesting and likes that she can take her time with mixing and creating. She states: “it is a fascinating medium and I find that it relaxes me” 10744631_668348743281021_1152970539_n 10744546_668348789947683_916433599_n 974415_668349486614280_1404025096_n  15639_725621487553746_956515871241111720_n Linda started painting when she was 14, she learned with comics and television programs such as “the knights of the zodiac” and “Loony Tunes”. One of her fondest memories was on the day of her younger brothers birthday. She recalls that her mother encouraged her to draw something and make some decorations for the party. That day, Linda made several drawings and caricatures of Loony Tunes. She worked really hard and focused her attention to detail, when she was done she had a sense of accomplishment for her finished works where exactly as the original ones. It is then that she had an epiphany and realized that she had the ability to draw and so this gave her complete confidence and inspiration to continue her creative flight. 10751795_668349519947610_1658313100_n   10751665_668348966614332_1866532026_n Xochiquetzal Linda Betanzos style can range from realistic, surrealism and expressionism but she doesn’t wish to label her works she states: ” The truth is that I do not know which style to label my work, I paint my emotions and express myself through my work, so a label would limit my freedom or creation. 10735629_668349119947650_1585229790_n  10492176_725621577553737_1047501231806975298_n1959430_726064984176063_8768357795407004585_n 988469_725621504220411_2776164555310472458_n Linda states: “My artwork is wild, untamed, natural and organic, it is in many ways a form of nostalgic memory, it is sentimental and at the same time I like it to portray strength and fortitude. I hope that it moves others into a reflection of self awareness”. 10927906_717140005068561_173045890_n2 10927967_717140038401891_645187740_n

 10928730_717138451735383_18255778_n 10912943_717138445068717_1696184277_n  10904771_717142145068347_673648097_n 10881328_717142158401679_2136848701_n10917716_717142155068346_1596830464_n   10928685_717138805068681_1091743801_n     10927886_717138818402013_370680582_n At the moment Linda Betanzos (Xochiquetzal) is working towards getting more situated in the art community, she has on occasion integrated herself in several art events where she has displayed her body painting and some of her artworks. Linda is a multidimensional artist full of energy and love towards life and art. To contact this artist and learn more about her art and commissions:



Featured Artist: JOSE RAMIREZ


Jose Ramirez is a self taught visual artist with some training, he is a photographer, actor, writer and a co-host, co-producer to the radio show “Sonic Watermelons” which is a web based radio talk show that airs Tuesdays out of “Brown University” from 7 pm-8 pm. To listen in you may visit:

Jose Ramirez was born in the state of NY and raised in the Dominican Republic. Jose is an artist with a broad sense of creativity, working with one of his many passions, he keeps his vision alive by capturing pieces of time. His love for photography was found in his younger years, while in the Dominican Republic. It is there where he fell in love with the scenery and the vibrant cultures of every day motifs, thus creating a sense of nostalgic energy that can be seen in many of his works. Jose has created a Blog to showcase some of his works.  Most of his inspiration comes easily,  from watching nature, people, animals and everything else in his environment. Many ideas are found as easily as listening to music or viewing an interesting thing, person or place that sparks a creative desire for a photo or written piece.

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Jose Ramirez’s most important and biggest influences have been attained and by being around many of his artist friends. He states: ” There’s just something about being around creative people, that just gives me a rush to create”. Jose describes himself as a funny, creative and loving person who’s constantly learning how to be better than what he was yesterday. He states: “I believe that, what sets me part from other artists is having my own point of view and expressing it to the best of my abilities”.

By the age of 13 he returned to the United states where he now resides and works. When he was in High School he underwent a creative growth and began to take any classes on the subject of photography. He confesses: “I missed many other classes in order to stay in the studio”. After high school ended he had a short break but the passion lingered dormant within his heart. Jose Ramirez studied communications in the ” University of Rhode Island”

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After the short break he has finally decided to pull back the covers and let his energy travel and make way for his wings and soar. He began his new journey by involving himself in acting with local theater companies. He has participated in a full feature length independent film named “La Guagua” which was written, Directed and Produced by Victor Ramos.


Jose Ramirez is also a co-host, co-producer to the radio show “Sonic Watermelons”.on Jose Ramirez also enjoys writing, putting his ideas and thoughts on paper creating scenarios, funny songs and interesting poetry, words that can be out of the normal can find their way into one of his creative works, although he is still apprehensive about sharing his work with the world, he continues to work on it. In December 12, 2014 at the event “The Un-United States of America: Artists Confronting Racism” Jose was one of the presenting poets, reading a piece related to racism. Although he admits to being a little nervous he found it satisfying to be able to share his writing, this will be the third time he presents his words to a crowd.


Jose Ramirez finds that his work is very versatile and does not like to label it, he states: “I don’t know if I could state that I have a particular type of style, I feel that if I put myself in a category then I will be putting limits to what I can do, I just want to create, If it all falls into one category in the future then I’m okay with it”. ” I just want to be inspired by the great works of others, not out of jealousy but admiration for their hard work”.


Jose Ramirez currently works in social work for a non profit. They help with resources working side by side with the State in helping to grant and assist people receiving public assistance. Guiding and connecting people with much needed services so that they can eventually find themselves back into the work force, thus giving them a hopeful future to look forward to.
Jose is also on the board of directors of “The Providence Latin American Film Festival (PLAFF)”, as well as a board member of “The Rhode Island Latino Dollars for Scholars & organization” which provides scholarships to Latino students attending or about to attend college.

Jose’s latest exhibition was: “Local Vision”: A Photography Exhibition at The Avenue Concept with a focus on images of Portraits, Landscapes, Black and White, and Personal Choices from local photographers December 6, 2014 – January 3, 2015.
December 2014 at the event “The Un-United States of America: Artists Confronting Racism”
To learn more about this artist:
Instagram and Tweeter: @JRam9808

Featured Artist: SANDRA GONZALEZ

Sandra Gonzalez is an independent artist whom was born and raised in Tamaulipas,Mexico. She currently resides in Laredo, Texas. She comes from a strong educated and close family circle. Their love and influence has always been a constant reminder for her to continue striving and moving forward. Her family has always encouraged her to continue with her education, they moved to Laredo, Texas in 2000 in order to guide and support her wishes of fulfilling her artistic endeavors. Sandra’s drive for creating and learning has lead her to complete many of her desired goals and wishes.

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Sandra Gonzalez’s love for the arts was awakened during her earlier years. While in highs school she completed many creative courses and activities. She received a Masters degree in Fine Arts at “The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts”.

3Always Faithful, 2010. 30in x 40in
Sandra Gonzalez worked hard and received a two “State Art Awards” for her earlier pieces, winning two of these “2013 Master of Fine Arts” and “Painting & Drawing 2013 / Master of Fine Arts Thesis” titled: “Origins of Heritage and Culture” which explores the identity throughout Mexican textiles and Family garments” which was selected as one of the best written thesis in the last 10 years at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Her recent professional occupations were assisting on the creation and installation of murals for The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, being a studio assistant for Mr. Charles Burwell and teaching art workshops at different institutions in Philadelphia.
Sandra Gonzalez recently started teaching art at “The United Independent School District” in Laredo, Texas.

Sandra Gonzalez_Golden Memories, 2011. Mixed Media 24 x 24
Sandra’s art work consist of different mediums, she primarily likes to work with Acrylics and oils but on occasions her works have been composed of fabrics, photo collage and transfers.
She has also made soft sculptures and has worked with embossing and paper. Her works vary in texture and styles. Sandra loves pulling inspiration from her culture and thus likes working them into many of her works. Some of her pieces are put together using Mexican tiles and family garments. By creating these unique pieces she gives the viewer a more intimate look into and the idea that of moving forward, never loosing our essence but growing like a phoenix. The rebirth of our energy is not held blindly upon the garments, shoes, hair clips or ties that may be worn.

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Some of Sandra Gonzalez education history is composed of wonderful successful career choices she’s earned: A 2013 Master of Fine Arts, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Painting & Drawing. 2013 / Master of Fine Arts Thesis “Origins of Heritage and Culture”. A 2008 Bachelor of Arts, Texas A&M International University at Laredo, TX. All Level Certification / Studio Art. Magna Cum Laude. Phi Kappa Phi- All-Discipline Honor Society / Study Abroad / Summer Session I / Santa Reparata International School of Art / Florence, Italy. She also earned A “2006 Associate of Arts with a Major in Art” in Laredo Community College at Laredo, TX. Cum Laude.
Sandra Gozalez is currently involved as a High School Art Instructor she is a mural Assistant for the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, she is a Studio Assistant for Charles Burwell.
Sandra is also a Spanish Tutor Teacher for The Family Art Program at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, an after School Teacher for the high school program at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Still Life Painting College Based Course.


Sandra Gonzalez states: “The idea of “fiber” expands to include the way memory and emotion buils a personal identity; the very fiber of being. I literally emerged myself into my culture by covering my body with textiles and family garments. It is like an umbilical cord that links me to the past. Underneath these laborious painted garments, clothing disguises and reveals- it can reflect our innermost being or conceal it. In my work, the subject matter and my heritage are joined, creating an interaction of personal ideas and cultural concepts. Using Mexican textiles and family garments defines my identity, but it also branches out my subject matter by using fabric as a social metaphor where each garment is a collection of individual fibers forming a group/society”.


Her exhibits have been:
“SELECTED JURIED AND INVITATIONAL EXHIBITIONS” 2014 Abstraction ” A Seed on Diamond Gallery” in Philadelphia, PA. Corazon Sagrado also in “ChimMaya Gallery” in Los Angeles, CA
“Travel and Transportation Show” for ” The Plastic Club” in Philadelphia, PA
“Small Works Show” at ” The Plastic Club” in Philadelphia, PA 2013
“Feast” for ” Alumni Gallery” in Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Sandra Gonzalez was selected student for drawing portraits at the Lloyds of London Event at “The Hamilton Building” Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 2012.
Assistant for Earl Parr Photography. Corpus Christi, TX. 2010-2011
Visiting Artist / Lecture at Bokenkamp Children’s Shelter. Corpus Christi, TX. 2010.

Instructor Assistant for Art Institute at TAMUCC- Elementary School and middle school Painting Workshop. Corpus Christi, TX. Summer 2009.
Art Gallery Assistant at TAMUCC. Corpus Christi, TX. 2009
Student Internship- Laredo Independent School District. All Level.
2006-2008. Texas A&M International University Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library Special Collections & Archives. Librarian/Federal College Workstudy-Community Service. 2006-2008.
For more information about further works and exhibits by this artist :