For this article in the international artist series, we turn to the Dominican Republic, featuring six artists who create fantastic work, from beautiful illustrations to typography and more! I asked each artist how their country and culture inspired their work, and they delivered fantastic answers. Enjoy!
Willy is an illustrator and art director based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. His work features gorgeous illustrations with fluid curves and incredible complexity. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
What I love about living in my country is the warmth of the people; it's a country full of culture and a lot of color. A place where most of us are a great, big family.
The culture has influenced my art with its color palette of warm and vibrant colors, the beautiful vegetation, and the attitudes of women.
The art community here is a very large community, with many artists of on an international level. There are many artists with a lot of experience and respected work in their portfolio.
Mary is a graphic designer based in Sosua, Dominican Republic. Her work features gorgeous illustrations full of vibrant colors and surrealistic beauty. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
Bloom - Infinite Blackness
The Dominican Republic is an extremely beautiful country and is a treasure for adventurous, warmhearted, and resilient people like me. I have the privilege to live in a small fisher’s town, Sosua, close to some of the most beautiful beaches of the Atlantic Ocean.
Being just a little county, you wouldn't think Sosua has a space for art, but art and jazz are the most important pieces of this village's vibes. The gastronomy is also incredibly diverse, since a high percentage of the population is foreign. That is why I find it really hard not to love almost every aspect of this country!
I would say my work is a representation of Caribbean imagery in general. The use of colors in vibrant and striking hues, the voluptuousness of the shapes, the everlasting presence of nature, and the mythical and surrealistic narrative are all directly pulled from my vault of traditions and childhood memories.
The exploration of my forever changing self is also an ingredient to the cocktail, so my illustrations always end up being introspective—a trip into my deepest fears and my biggest joys.
There’s a very young, diverse, and bold art community that thrives in a country where most of the population has a very low quality of education.
I trust with time and education the government and the people will start to appreciate more art and that art will survive the threats of apathy and ignorance. We have a blooming group of contemporary illustrators, and very talented artists creating art compromised of social, political, and economic issues.
Rafa Miguel is an art director based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. His work features incredible typographic illustrations derived from an amazing lettering technique. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
Free Your Mind
The Dominican Republic is paradise! You have the beach, city life, year round sunshine, and even a nice, cool breeze sometimes…well, very briefly. In DR you have it all.
Never Give Up - Lettering 2
Dominicans have their own language; we speak with a lot of locally known slang words and sayings. I try to create art with popular words and phrases as a tribute to Dominican culture. I hope it reflects how proud I am to be Dominican.
Love - Lettering 2
There's so much talent here! Every day a new artist rises. I am surrounded by passionate, dedicated, and naturally talented people. I love being a part of such a creative and inspiring group. We work together on new projects, and we're always bringing new things to the table.
Molly is an illustrator based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Her work features incredible whimsical characters full of life and personality. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
What I love about the Dominican Republic is the variety of landscapes in such a "little" space, and the warmth of the people, they definitely make the best ambience anywhere in the country.
I think the diversity of colors, forms, and movement have inspired my work. And all of it is inspired by Caribbean rhythms.
Santo Domingo Pop
Cafe Con Leche
The art community is quite limited, but the diversity is amazing! It's easy to get to know other artists no matter what kind of art they make. I think the limitations make us dream harder, take us further, and also inspire us to make the greatest art we can at the moment.
Jean is a graphic designer based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. His work features elaborate typographic illustrations with exquisite hand lettering. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
Nike - Just Do It
Well, the things I like the most about living in the DR are the culture and the diverse ecosystem. Regarding the culture, I’m really into the visual part of the language, which I think is where we can find most of what it means to be Dominican.
Make Tonight The One
My country’s culture has influenced me in many ways: the colorfulness, the local slang, the art and music. But the aspect that has helped me the most in my work as a letterer is street art. Graffiti and murals, especially naive, low-budget advertising has had the most impact on me.
Here we have a lot of betting shops or “bancas” and they have a really unique style of presenting themselves, really colorful with a focus on typography. It has helped me understand how to better represent who we are as Dominicans through lettering.
Dame La Lu
36 Days of Type
Recently, we started having events that involve street art to help the communities surrounding the murals. For these events, the organizers invite local and international artists so they can express themselves on the walls. These kind of events have been welcomed by everyone in the community and they have been done yearly since they began.
I belong to a community that has become popular recently, of people dedicated to lettering. While it is an old practice in countries like the US, here it’s still developing. Thanks to my passion for letters I have been able to teach lettering in different places as well as meet other talented letterers like Omar García, Marova, and Rafa Miguel. Artists here try to support each other in any way that they can, pushing each other to be better in order to create new, greater ideas.
Nat is an illustrator based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Her work features fun, vibrant illustrations inspired by her love of folklore. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
Days In The South
Besides what everybody loves about this country (the people and food), I would say that what I love the most about DR is the wide variety of places to go.
It's like the country is made to satisfy every taste. Today, you can be swimming in a very clear and salty beach with the sun kissing your skin, and tomorrow you can be lost in a cold forest, hugging a big, strange animal.
Marceline, Wirt, and Friends
The town I come from has a reputation of being a haunted place. Stories about creatures and fantastic animals, witches, and warlocks are a part of the history of San Juan. Back then I was very scared to even talk about it, but nowadays these are the perfect tales to be inspired by.
Besides the urban legends thing, I grew up being a little folkie girl. You know, loving the simple life. Running behind hens, going to gardens that look like forests, and finding meadows to get lost in. I love that, and that's why I always try to make that connection between my characters and that idea of environment.
Noviembre - Calendario 2016
Diciembre - Calendario 2016
Right now there are many fellow artists collaborating with each other here, helping out others to grow and improve, and allowing them to be successful and have the same opportunities. They show support to everyone and they always try to work as a family. I believe this is something very good because being an artist can be a very self-focused path.
Many thanks to the artists who took time to answer my questions and share a bit about themselves and how their country and/or culture has affected their work. You can check out more of their work in the links below: