We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Adriana Prieto. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Adriana below.
Adriana , looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. When did you first know you wanted to pursue a creative/artistic path professionally?
My best way to answer this question is for me to provide the audience with my personal experience. Unfortunately, the cause that has inspired me to pursue an artistic path professionally has originally came from a traumatic event in my childhood.
If my memory serves me correct , I was 13 years old and it was at this moment I had realized my general lack of appreciation could lead me to where I could lose anything at any moment. Frankly, at that age the relationship between my father and I was very close to non-existent. In all insincerity, I understand I have a hard working providable father. However, at that time the most conversation I would get from my father was only one worded. In most cases, I could only play by ear from my family members with the information that’s actually given directly from my mother.
Typically, my family’s days in this chaotic, yet oh so lovely home would go like so..
I apologize in advance if my descriptions of typical days at home aren’t as vibrant as my paintings.
One of my siblings would come home from school, and would notice our father’s truck is not in the driveway. Whoever came home first from school usually would go approach my mother with a short question,“Y Apa?” spoken with a casual tone. Which means,“And Dad?” As lovely and as beautiful as my 4ft and 8 inches mother is, she would wear her favorite perfume by Benson and Hedges menthols premiums with a nice mixture of Victoria Secret Bombshell. For the life me or any or her kids, we could not take her away from her favorite daily activities. Which was smoking a cigarette meanwhile watching her favorite horror movies. To make this more a of typical image, my mother had the cell phone in her other hand to help her socializing with one of my family members from Mexico. If you guessed this, my mother was in a vata laying across her bed with the infamous San Marcos blankets. By the way, the word “vata” is a slang term we use to say “night gown” And if anyone in the audience knows what are the San Marcos blankets are, this time it was a white tiger on the blanket. My mother would still focus on the conversation on the phone, but would inform us what city my father is staying at for the meantime. Including, the assigned time frame he is scheduled to work. My father has been working in refinery for 35 years.
However, this day was different. I was the last one to come home and I see my father’s truck in the driveway. In addition, I also see a white car with a large label saying “Immigration” I ran inside the house and walked straight into the dinning room and there was my hole family surrounding this strange man from immigration. Now what makes this man looks so strange. Better yet, what is it exactly about this man that makes my family so unedged aside from the fact he is from Immigration. This man looks like my father. Please let me explain..
Corny pun moment
Let me paint a picture for audience. Imagine a red tone man whose face carries the features of his indigenous ancestors. As we like to say “Tienes un cara de nopal” which literally means in English “you have a prickly pear face.” It’s a slang term amongst the Mexican community to identify “how indigenous you look.” Naturally, my father’s response would be a simple, “I know who I am” as he confidently shrug his shoulders. This man has always believed into knowing who you are as an individual should always be represented with pride. Back to the odd man that decided to grace us with his presence with a luxury vehicle from immigration. His presence felt more like the outer limits because he himself is a Latino. Confusingly enough, he was able to calmly assure the rest of the family his intentions are only here to help my father to get his citizenship. Knowing the amount of power for one single person to determine whether if my father is good enough for a U.S citizenship. Or to prepare us for the worse, he wouldn’t see his family again.
That day I realized I should appreciate my father more. Rather than judging him by his past mistakes, focus on what has he done to provide for our family. The thought of losing my father to immigration did not just mean I’m losing a dad. Losing my father felt like I was losing a part of me. He has slept on the uncomfortable chair aside of me for 8 months because I was hospitalized for my appendicitis and epilepsy. My father also made sure to teach me who are the most influential people in my culture; Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Cantinflas, and Vicente Fernández. He has worked all those years in almost every weather conditions to make sure we have what we needed to support a full house. Best lesson my father has taught me, “Only you know your worth; only you can name your prices; only you can paint the beautiful dreams people wish to see on canvas.”
As I said before, losing my father to immigration does not just mean I’m losing a dad. Instead losing my father felt as if I was losing my connection to my heritage; my ancestors, my parents native language; my uncontrollable love and desire to create. Overall, I felt I was losing my pride. Manuel Blanco Prieto is his name, and with all my soul and pride I clarify he is the very reason why I pursue an artistic path professionally.
When I paint, I will forever paint with the pride that has the exact face of my father. In addition, on the tip of my paint brush are the vibrant colors and history of my ancestors.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
After my father has received his U.S citizenship, my oldest brother and his friends has helped me branched out my artwork by attending my first venue in Galveston during the Art-walk. Its an event that usually happens once every three months. Attending these venues was able to help me get a general understanding on how you would want to run your own business. Yet please be aware, you would make some mistakes along the way, but that is part of the learning experience. While I was visiting these venues, I noticed I would not be the only one who makes traditional Mexican Folk Art. The bigger question was “How do I plan to stick out from the rest of the artists who also paints in the same genre?” Like my father always believed, knowing who you are as a individual should always be represented with pride. I may be a proud Mexican, but I am also a woman whose main goal is to be sure my audience knows my work will not only tell you to just take pride in yourself. Most importantly, promote but unapologetically practice self care.
Is there something you think non-creatives will struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can provide some insight – you never know who might benefit from the enlightenment.
Never judge the process. Every artist has their own personal system that helps supports their business. When you officially submit a commission, You would directly consult with the artist. A standard consultation includes a deposit for submission; ideas for the rough draft; a set up payment plan; additional and late fees; and a due date. When you get to the rough draft, please be aware the process always looks a crazy. But I assure you, trust the artist. It is the journey that makes the project special. As an artist, it’s vital for us to understand the assignment. Meaning, what is the client’s reason to submit a unique commission. Generally, the answers falls into personal reasons. Henceforth the reason of understanding our clients is what helps the artist achieve the assignment. Once you see the final results, you’ll now truly understand the phrase, “Never judge the process.”
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
As corny as this sounds, a smile in a speechless astonishment lets me know my work always speaks for itself
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