Reyna Noriega - My Pieces Are A Direct Reflection Of What Brings Me Joy And Helps To Pull Me Out Of Dark Times And I Want It To Do That For Others (Artist, USA)

Art is much more subjective and I doubted myself way more than I needed to. 

1. Tell us about your background and journey. 

Growing up my parents will tell you they knew I would be creative. I enjoyed stealing my dad's sketchbook, drawing new scenes at the ends of my picture book, and acting as a news reporter while at the zoo. 

I had a very vivid imagination and creativity but unfortunately as I matured I lost a lot of that as I grew up and started doubting my abilities. I focused on academics which I excelled at and it was easy to judge whether or not I was “good” at school, all I needed to do was earn A’s. 

Art is much more subjective and I doubted myself way more than I needed to. 

2. When did you decide you wanted to be an artist?  

I took an art class in the 11th grade and rediscovered my love for art and was introduced to photography. Over the next few years and my college years I realized how happy and at peace I was when in environments surrounded by art and little by little I found more and more ways to make sure it was a part of my life. 

As a high school art teacher I learned to channel my students freedom and innocence when creating and from there my journey took off in ways I did not anticipate. I began taking on more projects like creating club t-shirts and designing the school yearbook, and soon I was applying those talents to more and more of my clients. 

3. What does your work aim to say?

With the work I create now my central goal is to provide Joy, Peace, and representation to the people that need it most. My pieces are a direct reflection of what brings me joy and helps to pull me out of dark times and I want it to do that for others. 

4. How has your practice changed over time?

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve definitely been on a journey of channeling my inner carefree childlike creativity. With that has come more trust in myself and that has morphed into more confidence. 

As all of that internal stuff has gotten sorted out I have gotten much more confident in how I do my practice. Things like setting the mood with candles, incense, music, plants etc. I have learned what contributes to my flow and surrounded myself with that. 

5. Where do you get your inspirations to create art?

My inspirations mostly come from me. I’ve realized that is the most sustainable and abundant form of inspiration. It helps me to stay aligned with my purpose and intentions. My work evolves as I evolve and as my needs change. 

Some days I am drawn to nature or water or a new place. I can pour those dreams into my artwork and be transported there and then do the same for those who view my work. 

6. How does your work comment on current social or political issues?

It is a radical expression of black joy and a change from the traumatic images we are fed daily. This is a time where representation is so important, where showing people what is possible for them can make all the difference. 

It is a time where all people deserve to walk in a store and find art that resonates with them they can put in their homes and I take pride in being a part of that. 

7. How do you navigate the art world?

With pure intentions and curiosity. I try to learn as much as possible from the greats that have come before, while also paying attention to how the whole art landscape is changing. I try to be a friend and supporter first, before looking for people to support me. 

8. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Writer was also a strong subject for me in grade school. My teachers would enter me in a lot of creative writing contests, I would win prizes and boost my confidence in the process. I decided very early on I wanted to be a writer. 

I wanted to feel my ideas come to life and hold them in a book with my name on it. It has definitely been a pivot letting my art take center stage at this point but I am so excited to see more of my writing come into the world. 

9. Where does your inspiration to write lie?

Everything I write has the purpose to educate or inspire. I want to lead people to a place of joy and confidence and so I often use my own experiences to let people know that this journey they are on is beautiful and all the good and bad is leading them to someplace beautiful. 

10. What is your long term plan/ future plans?

I am in a season of expansion where I just want to be fearless and try new things. I don’t want to get boxed in and just do what works. 

11. Which is your favorite book and why?  

I have several favorites, many are related to what has helped me on my journey so I will list a few in case it can help others.

  1. The War of Art -Steven Pressfield 
  2. Steal Like An Artist - Austin Kleon 
  3. Art Inc. - Lisa Congdon
  4. Damn Good Advice (for People with talent) - George Lois 
  5. Other Titles 
  6. All About Love -Bell Hooks 
  7. The Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov 

Reyna Noriega

Reyna Noriega is a Miami-based Black and Afro-Latina visual artist, author, and educator who works across a variety of mediums, from graphic design, to painting, digital illustration, and photography. Through simplified shapes and forms in bold and vibrant shades, she portrays figures of people of color, architectural spaces, and landscapes. She helps tells the story of pride, joy, and vibrancy for women of color, whose stories are so often tied to generational traumas. In 2019, she notably published a collection of poems entitled In Bloom. 

Her multidisciplinary practice is devoted to highlighting and uplifting women and to helping them heal and harness joy. With layers of paint and pixels, Noriega offers a window into her life and those of all women, as she tells stories inspired by her culture and experiences, in which women can recognize themselves, feel represented, and feel empowered. 

Noriega received her BA in Psychology from Florida International University, with minors in Art and English. Over the course of the next four years, she taught graphic design and visual arts in a public high school and developed her passion and ability to teach, motivate, and inspire. She further refined her skill set as a creative director, public and motivational speaker, before becoming a full-time illustrator in 2018.  

Her clients include Apple, Google, Science Magazine, NYTimes, Old Navy, Microsoft, The New Yorker, and many more. 

- Instagram: Reyna Noriega

- Interviewed By Pearlina Marie Rein

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