|Photo by Kelly White-Peterson.|
How did you get started with art?
I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. As a kid I remember giving away my drawings as an appreciation gift to my pediatrician, my babysitter, and all the people around me. My first portrait was for my first boy friend I had; I was 14. My parents always encouraged me to peruse a carrier as an Artist which I refused from the bottom of my heart. I thought I wanted to be an actress. My mother used to take me and my sisters to the theater all the time and I loved seeing the beautiful scenarios, the lights, the images; The magic. I never thought that what I really enjoyed, more than the ballet or the plays were the images. I always neglected to be an Artist. When my family and I moved to Tijuana, Mexico in 1989, I joined the Art class at "La Casa de la Cultura" because I couldn't find anything else. I was a part of the class for almost 3 years. There I found myself. My Art teacher started to invite me to art exhibits; since then, I can say that I officially became an Artist. My art Teacher Carlos Castro influenced my life and my art work. I not only learned from him all I know about technique and colorimetry, but he taught me respect for my work and to myself as an artist.
What are your favorite themes and mediums?
I love working with color pencil; I don't do it a lot because it takes a lot of time but I really enjoy the process and the outcome. My second favorite medium is acrylic. I like it because it dries fast, therefore that allows me to work diligently especially because I like to overlay coats and coats of paint to create 3D images, other effects and textures. My themes are always about women and their every day situations in life, society and personally.
What have been some of your most emotional pieces that you are very proud of?
I always fall in love with the last piece I create and then I create a new one and I forget about the others, but I still have my very first painting I created. I was 19 years old when my Art Teacher invited me to my first out of school art exhibit. I remember he was so proud of my work, so I still have it.
Why were you excited to join the Fridas?
I have known most of the Phoenix Fridas for so long, and I have a lot of respect for their work and their commitment to serve the community. Being part of the group excites me because I believe in them and their vision. I am especially excited because like true women I'm sure that we will empower each other.
What do you hope to bring to the group?
I will collaborate in the best way to support the group's vision and mission. I am a very positive, committed, loyal and passionate artist and I love teamwork. All in all, I'm always willing to learn and to bring new ideas to the table. I have the feeling that my participation in the group will be a great experience for me and for every one involved.
"Autoretrato" 2013 Acrylic on Canvas
What are some of your favorite Phoenix places to see art, eat and explore?
Arizona is emerging; that is what I love about it. There is a lot to see all over the state and that makes me happy. I get back to my studio very inspired every time I go out for an art exhibit. I have been going every first Friday since about a year ago. I explore most of the galleries in Down Town and the Grand Avenue. I always end my First Friday tours at trade Fair Cafe where I meet with my daughter, my son and their friends at around 10:30pm. There we enjoy a coffee, tea or ice cream. I don't really have a favorite place to eat, but my favorite food is Vietnamese food and my favorite chilaquiles are at Otro Cafe and the dish that takes me home is "caldo de res" from Ranch Market. My favorite drink is camomile tea.
Monica-Gisel formally initiated her career as a visual artist in 1989 in the border city of Tijuana, Mexico. Since then, she had art exhibitions in Mexico as well as inThe United States. She had collaborated as an illustrator with magazines, independent writers and other organizations. She had lead 4 community Murals with emphasis on crime, alcohol and drug prevention in the cities of Scottsdale and Avondale. Monica is always involved with her community and is always committed to share with children, adolescents and their families the importance of art, culture and traditions. Under the supervision of Scottsdale Prevention Institute and in collaboration with the City of Scottsdale, Boys and Girls Club, and Scottsdale Police Department Monica have had the opportunity to put together events and cultural celebrations in which prevention, community and art was involved. Since 2002 Monica had created and developed workshops as an Artist in Residence for different institutions and organizations such as Chicano Art Museum, First Things First, Childs Play, and The Arizona Latino Cultural Center. Currently Monica is pursuing a bachelors degree on Community Development at "Universidad AD de Mexico", teaches art classes and is planning her fist solo Art Exhibit in the United States.