Loyola’s Latino creatives said they use their culture to inspire and inspire each other to become better artists. Making a statement with their art and being passionate about social justice has become part of celebrating their legacy, the artists said.
New Orleans is known for its artist-filled spaces, but for many professionals, it was at university that they began to create. Those of the Latin body of Loyola say that the community that comes from creation is even more powerful.
Valeria Santini, head of graphic design, said that before Loyola she had never considered herself an artist.
After experiencing a self-proclaimed “identity crisis” upon arriving in New Orleans from Puerto Rico, Santini held on and discovered a passion for graphic design which she combined with her dedication to justice. social.
Santini aspires to bring an artistic approach to communications and non-profit work. After taking a political art class in Loyola, she realized that her talent and love for her community could be linked. She is the design director of a Puerto Rican-based nonprofit, Sin Limites, which focuses on bringing education and materials to underprivileged communities.
“There is so much political art in Puerto Rico,” Santini said. “It’s everywhere. I’m very happy where I’m from.
Straight from El Salvador, Erick Guerrero, a second year graphic design student, is also known as “Nueve”, which he also called his clothing brand founded at TKTK. Guerrero, an international student, started working in fashion when he was in high school. He draws inspiration from streetwear, niche subcultures, resilience and his family’s culture.
“I had to forge my own path in life while being questioned, judged, despised and seen as an outsider and misunderstood by my parents and the community,” Guerrero said.
Guerrero said his brand of clothing and his art were his life and his only source of income; he designs everything, creates all the logos and manages all the shipments. He tries to get involved in the communities and cultures from which he is inspired, interweaving their ideas with his own. When he created a skate-inspired line, he began to skate to fully understand the culture of skateboarding and honor it in his work. Guerrero’s last release was a summer collection, and he is currently releasing his first collection for women.
“My brand of clothing and all I do with it is my lifestyle,” Guerrero said.
Michael Lardizabal, a digital cinema junior, works in film, he also works in photography, graphic design, poetry writing, screenwriting and runs his own clothing business. With a mix of passions and inspirations, Lardizabal sees himself as a creator rather than an artist.
At the start of his film career, Lardizabal worked as a translator on a film, “Blue Bayou”, which premiered at the iconic Cannes Film Festival. Ladizabal found his passion for cinema in his first love, poetry. He wanted to merge his literary prowess and his love of the visual arts into a single cohesive medium: cinema.
He continued his passion recently by releasing his first short film, “Roads Diverged” and developing his clothing brand, Hot Garbage Apparel.
Libre Albedrío, a South and Central American literary movement about surpassing cultural and societal norms, inspires Lardizabal. He is especially fascinated by the role of the Roman Catholic Church and the macho culture. He said he was intrigued by the contrast between community and culture in Honduras and New Orleans.
“In the United States, it’s much more prevalent to have a culture that puts the individual first, compared to a more community-based nature where I’m from,” Lardizabal said.
Roux Fernandez Melguizo
Roux Fernandez Melguizo, Senior in International History, is a Colombian queer visual artist and musician who uses his art to tell the stories and struggles of queer immigrants and people of color. Melguizo, who uses the pronouns he / he, makes political art inspired by radical left politics, queer liberation theory, and their experiences as a non-binary butch lesbian.
“There is no one like me that I can admire,” said Melguizo, adding “so I have become my own inspiration”.
Melguizo immigrated from Colombia to rural Minnesota as a child and immersed himself in the local culture. Inspired by their Colombian roots and gender identity, Melguizo began creating pieces that portray unabashed queer and transgender love.
One of their pieces depicts two gender ambiguous lovers pining for each other, one draped over the other’s knees. Melguizo said their art transcends the binaries of gender and sexuality that constrain Western nations.
Melguizo said their style can look like a cartoon and be fun, but it deals with intense and controversial topics. Their plays are associated with short texts, demanding rights for workers, people of color and transgender people.
“Art is about survival,” said Melguizo. “Art is just a revolutionary tool.”
Jose Hernandez, a junior jazz student, said he strives to be able to play anything and everything; he does not want to limit himself to one genre. His eclectic style draws on a variety of sources: fantasy, politics and personal experiences, he said.
“I didn’t really have anything that I was excited about until I started creating,” Hernandez said.
Currently, Hernandez, who plays bass and guitar, has written about his frustration with politics, sexism and racism. He uses music and writing to overcome the recent loss of his mother, which he says has both hurt his motivation and made him more determined to write.
Hernandez says his Latin identity exposed him to more music than his peers, helping him create his distinct style. He has a background in salsa and merengue which he believes inspires his way of making music, be it rock, punk, metal, hip-hop, classical or jazz.