VOX ATL recently interviewed Atlanta-based teen artist Maria Balderas about her latest collection, “Hope Through Horns.” Balderas tells VOX ATL that the collection is “art that explores the beauty and tragedy of the undocumented experience. Check out more of what she has to say below.
VOX ATL: Who are you? What do you stand for?
Maria Balderas: I was born in Celaya Guanajuato, Mexico, and came to the United States when I was 6. I am now 19 and a DACA recipient. I am an artist and I stand for my beliefs of equality, feminism, and hope. At this age I couldn’t tell you exactly who I am because I’m still figuring that out, but I am a Dreamer and I am trying to stand out and make a difference in this world — trying to make an impact on someone. I stand for hope and dreams and the rights of humans, and I also try to put that on my art.
VOX ATL: Tell us about your art. What motivates you? What story are you trying to tell and message are you trying to convey?
Balderas: My art is not in a specific style of abstract or realism, I have no set style or medium because through my art I like to express a feeling, and all feelings look different when they are depicted on canvas, paper, or wood. In the resent art I’ve done I wanted to represent internal and external problems that we face as humans, regardless of who we are and where we are. Things like depression, war, injustice are something I mainly emphasize on my paintings but still I wanted to show the bits of hope in every problem. A few pieces have to do with the immigrant experience and some with my experience, specifically. One of them being about the caged children that we have seen on the news.
VOX ATL: Can you say more here about how long you’ve been an artist? When did you discover this outlet and your talent? Where do you create art now?
Balderas: I’ve been drawing since I was 3 years old, but I discovered I was good when I was in second grade when my teachers didn’t believe I actually drew a piece for homework. In art class my work would stand out, and in fifth grade I got to go to an art school during the summer thanks to some auctioned piece of mine. That was the moment I knew art was the thing I love. Now I create art in the comfort of my room but also do murals and make art for people who wish to buy a piece.
VOX ATL: Can you say more about the LAA’s youth art exhibit event Friday? What do you want other teens to know about the “undocumented experience” as a young person in ATL today?
Balderas: The LAA’s youth art exhibit is a great opportunity to get your voice heard, it’s also a great chance for the students to showcase their art and represent the immigrant community, themself or even their parents in a creative and passionate way. I want the teens to know that wherever you are from or even if you are not an immigrant use your voice and don’t be afraid to stand out or speak out!
VOX ATL: Where can people see your art?
Balderas: My art is momentarily displayed at the Council General of Mexico in Atlanta.
Maria, 19, is currently a public affairs intern and a judge for the teens’ work at the LAA’s undocumented experience art contest.
“Portraying the Undocumented Experience” Art Contest
The Latin American Association art show, including the winning high school students’ work, will be Friday, Sept. 28, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Free with RSVP to APascual@thelaa.org.