Tête-à-Tête with Artist Lucia Hierro

For this month's Tête-à-Tête, Loyal Nana interviews Dominican-American fine artist, Yale alum and NYC native Lucia Hierro in her South Bronx studio. 

 photo by amanda saviñón

photo by amanda saviñón

I went home after work to pick up my camera and a notepad and pen. Bae picked me up and we took the local route from the northwest Bronx to the South Bronx. I arrived, rang a bell to a red door and Lucia quickly opened up the door, smiling and quiet. We went up the stairs and walked over to her 2nd floor studio where she had a playlist with everything from elevator music to hip hop. She brought out some almonds (my favorite) and Pellegrinos from her mini fridge and we started chatting... 

 Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Loyal Nana: So I usually start with this question...Who are you?

Lucia Hierro: Wow! I don’t know yet? LMAO. Damn, why you have to start mad messy?

Loyal Nana: LMAO I am trying to be organized and basic!

Lucia: I am Lucia Hierro. I am 29 years old, soon to be 30, yikes! And, I am an artist.

Loyal Nana: How did you grow up? Where did you grow up?

 Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Lucia: I was born in the New York Presbyterian on 168th street and grew up in Washington Heights, and then Inwood. There was a brief period when I was a baby where I lived in Mount Hope in the Bronx. I grew up with a musician father; he was a well-known merengue artist in the 80’s… so my household was mostly music, craziness and little bit of bohemian vibes. My brothers are also musicians. 

 Henry Hierro. Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Henry Hierro. Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Loyal Nana: Where is your dad from?

Lucia: My dad is from The Dominican Republic, a town called San Francisco de Macoris. 

Loyal Nana: What about your mom?

Lucia: My mom is from the same town. My parents grew up near each other. My mom's family knew my father’s family because my father’s mother (my grandma) was a nurse and she birthed a lot of folks in the town. 

Loyal Nana: Was your mom a musician as well?

Lucia: My mom was a singer and then she stepped back a bit because she noticed what the lifestyle of a musician was like. She told my dad, “these kids won’t have parents if we both get into this.” And that is the made for tv version—the real story breaks my heart a bit— but she is happy with how we turned out. My mother has always been very talented. She can sing, she can sew, she can make dresses and designs—- which she got from her parents. 

Loyal Nana: It seems as if both of your parents had to go through choosing between career or family. Do you find yourself stuck between the two at all?

KS4A9667.jpg

Lucia: I think, for me, watching my dad, I realized what it takes to really do this at an early age. To really enjoy the fruit of your labor. That's why you can’t cheat on what you do with family or anything else. I can sing a little and play a little guitar but I wouldn’t call myself a musician because I am not. That is a whole other beast. The people who are good at everything they do, are few and far in-between. You really just have to focus. So I am happily choosing my career, I have to do what it takes.

 Photo by Nelson Noel Salcedo (@ndzine/instagram)

Photo by Nelson Noel Salcedo (@ndzine/instagram)

Loyal Nana: What was your life like as a Dominican-American, 15-year-old bilingual girl growing up in Washington Heights?

Lucia: In2003 the age of 15, I was just moving back to NYC from the Dominican Republic. I had moved to DR when I was about eleven years old with my family. My dad was stressed out. We had an AMAZING apartment on 200th and Riverside. To think that I lived in that building on the corner right before La Marina is crazy because today that’s like Park Avenue up here. Expensive as all hell. But we had this crazy basement apartment and next door was another basement apartment and when that family moved out, my dad took that place too and turned it into a music studio. That’s where I grew up most of my life. I can only imagine the pressure of having to keep up with both places and maintain a family. So he decided to move to DR. Aside from the pressure though, my dad also wanted to connect us with our grandparents and our other family. 

Loyal Nana: That’s a big decision. 

Lucia: Yeah, but, you know, my parent's marriage didn’t make it through that. My family separated, I moved back to NYC with my mother, my brother Chris stayed in DR because he was working on music and my other brother, Henry, who is the oldest had actually stayed in NYC when the family moved to DR so we moved in with him when we moved back. We totally crashed his bachelor pad, I felt so bad. So that was me at 15. Sleeping on an air mattress in my brother’s living room trying to not be in the way, while going to high school at Beacon High School on 61st and Amsterdam. That had to be one of the hardest schools to get into but I did through the grace of God and my mothers nagging. I was going to this school with these kids who talk like they are on Gossip Girl. They were the most precocious. So I was just there, adapting. 

 Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Loyal Nana: It's crazy you left for DR and came back and went to this "ivy league" like high school where the culture was vastly different than, say, a high school in the Dominican Republic or even a public high school uptown in NYC where all the student’s 1st language is Spanish. How has that made you the 29-year-old Lucia you are today?

Lucia: Well, it made me more worldly. At home, my dad was playing merengue, “world” music, rock, etc. Once he saw Jimi Hendricks on TV when he was a teen, it was a wrap, he started to style his hair just like his. It’s sad that we have all these labels or this idea that some things belong to white people. I fought that a lot when I was younger. I refused to believe or think that the music I listened to at home was THEIR music. I was very aware as a kid and very self-conscious, too. So I learned how to switch up quick. If the kids were listening to NAS, I was cool with that. 

 Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Loyal Nana: Were you worried about fitting in? 

Lucia: I learned the only place I truly fit in was Art class. I was like oh shit, I can draw. 

Loyal Nana: Wait. Could you just draw?

Lucia: My brother Chris, he was into art and he went to LaGuardia for a while before we moved away. That was crazy because that's a pretty hard school to get into and at some point, my dad did say “We’re moving.” So that was hard. Anyway, Chris has a natural talent for drawing. The kid can DRAW. Even better than me, I’m going to say it. We would sit and draw comics together. I remember thinking, I WANT TO DO THAT SO BAD. Its as if one day he got distracted by something that was going on in my dad’s music studio and he dropped the drawing pad and I picked it up.  When we moved to DR, that's the only thing I had that kept me occupied. I didn’t quite fit in with the super rich folks and I also didn’t fit into that campo life—no in-betweens. They used to call me a Yankee, gringa, all these “Dominican gone to NYC” names as if I was some kind of traitor, I don't know, lol. I would be like, “Ummm, you’re listening to my dad’s music right now, like how much more of the culture do you want me to be?”

 Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Loyal Nana: When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

Lucia: The real, real solidifier was in 2005, my senior year in high school when I went to The Cooper Union Saturday Program. That’s a portfolio prep program for high school kids that don’t necessarily come from an arts-intensive high school. This one teacher at Beacon High School was like “YOU NEED TO APPLY”. She basically applied for me. So I applied and I went and I remember standing in front of that building TERRIFIED. ONCE - I got lost going down there, I was not used to going downtown at all then. BUT I was also just getting back from DR and getting acquainted with the subway system. I WAS STILL USING TOKENS WHEN I LEFT! I came back and there were Metro cards and I was taking the train to school every day which was around Columbus Circle. I fought so hard to not cut class and just walk around there. You know? I did though. I had great experiences in the park. LOL. Sometimes you get in with the bad kids for a bit. SORRY MOM! :)

Loyal Nana: So did you get into the Cooper Union Saturday Program?

Lucia: Yes! I did. This one lady, Marina Gutierrez(who has kept that program alive!), I’ll never forget her! Shout out to Marina! She was this wise and amazing lady, she told me“ You’re going to go to this program.” She worked me HARD! I remember being stubborn for no reason other than I had so much going on. I was not looking forward to getting on the train so early on a Saturday to go to this program where all you’re doing is figure drawing and learning old-school graphic design. I mean it doesn’t sound so bad right now and it's crazy because I see all of that stuff in my work today. They helped me apply to college, I didn’t get into any, I didn’t even get into Cooper. I guess I wasn’t ready, I don’t know what happened. I kind of got lost in the sauce when it came to my college application process; I didn’t ask questions or do any research, I don’t know, I was scared of everything. I remember all these kids getting into all these fancy colleges. I was like "SVA? What is that? Where are all you kids going?" They were all gone and it felt like I was by all by myself in NYC. The Copper Union folks were super nice and offered me a job as a teachers assistant. And I took it. I was waitressing at Hispaniola on 181st street uptown too at that time.

 Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Loyal Nana: So you graduated from high school and started working while you figured it all out?

Lucia: Yep.  

Loyal Nana: How did you get back into the groove of things and by that I mean continuing your education, working on your art, etc?

Lucia: I knew I had to. I knew that I didn’t just want to work retail for the rest of my life. I knew that if I got too comfortable just working and spending, I wouldn’t be happy. I needed something else. I knew I needed to do something else. My father was still living in DR and he would call and he would say “If you really want to be an artist, you really need to know EVERYTHING about it. Whether you are in school or not, go to the library, sit there and learn.” So I did and I realized I needed to go to college, I wanted to. The folks at the Cooper Union really helped me, once again. 

Loyal Nana: What college did you end up going to?

Lucia: SUNY Purchase. The application was due the day after I gave it in. A family friend dropped me off at SUNY and I ran to the office to drop off my application. It wasn’t even like a beautifully planed college visit, to see this campus. After I dropped off my application, I took a moment and looked around. The campus was BEAUTIFUL, kids were playing the guitar, there was a quad, it was like ….college! I went to the studios and saw kids sculpting, it was like a dream. I left and got home and had a really good feeling. I knew I was going to this school. I heard back from them and I got in. The rest of it was crazy. 

Loyal Nana: What did you major in?

Lucia: Painting and drawing. I had a great mentor who pushed me through a lot of things. He took me under his wing. He was like “you got grit, you got what it takes, you’re hungry, BUT these are some of the things that I see that can totally sidetrack you.” It was very simple advice, you know?

 Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Loyal Nana: Who was your mentor?

Lucia Hierro: George Parrino! his son is a producer for J.Cole and other folks, Anthony Parrino . His father was my CHAMPION for a long time. George was an Italian boy from Astoria Queens, who just happened to grow up to be a great post-abstract expressionist the height of NYC’s PostAbEx moment …like he went to Cooper, he went to Yale, he knew Chuck Close. He went to Yale when the greats were up there! He designed curriculums for art institutions, He showed at the Guggenheim.

Loyal Nana: You went to Yale

Lucia: Yes! and he knew, George knew. He was trying to condition me for Yale. Most kids in SUNY Purchase had applied and I think very few of them got in during his many years of teaching.

 Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Loyal Nana: So now you’re this Dominican- American women, who didn’t get into college on her first try, now going for your Masters of Fine Arts at Yale University. The fuck?

Lucia: I didn’t even know what Yale was. The few times that I became aware of it was, one: when I first learned about where Presidents went to school and two: Gilmore Girls

Loyal Nana: GILMORE GIRLS. YES. HEY RORY! 

Lucia: THAT'S when I thought ooooh, this is a big deal. This is like a status thing. 

Loyal Nana: Clearly, us being Dominican and all, we didn’t have a grandfather encouraging us to go to his alma mater which happened to be Yale like Rory Gilmore did so how did your interest reach Yale?

Lucia: Well, I looked into Parsons, SVA, RISD and all these big names out there but George made Yale sound like such a magical place. He was all about magical realism like he would tell me all of these fantastical stories that just sounded bazaar but actually happened—he gave me a tour of what it could be like for me. While at Purchase I was in a class with the artist Sarah Walker, where we basically went to museums and galleries to get a feel for the art that was out there and discuss it. I noticed all of these press releases had a bio on the artist and after every bio, it read, “M.F.A. Yale”. I mean the majority of the works I saw in galleries all over New York State had a bio followed by “M.F.A. Yale.” I was like shit, everyone went to Yale. It MUST be a thing. The Modern Art book we were reading in class was written by the head of Art History at Yale and I was like, ok. This is definitely a thing. Yale sort of runs the world.

Loyal Nana: And then...

Lucia: George told me to apply and I thought he was out of his damn mind.  I was hesitant AF. I was talented sure, but I was hesitant. It was about not having money though because all of these kids that do have money, never really spend time on decision-making cause they have money to just do it. I hesitated so much with projects and used to feel guilty and had crying fits when I knew that I could barely afford to be there and at the same time I was making projects that I spent all my money on and had to destroy later because they were just tests. I had this sculpture teacher and I will never forget what he said and not just because he was FINE AF lol, but because it was true. He said “You’re an A student doing B work. You have to step it up.” George would tell me that too. He would be like “there is something there and you’re not pushing yourself. 

Loyal Nana: George is a GOALS AF mentor

Lucia: Yeah, he taught me that, my story, everything I say about myself is what my art is about. I was still so hesitant to apply to Yale right after SUNY Purchase though because I felt I didn’t have enough work and I watched somebody apply to grad school who got rejected really early on and was told something along the lines of, “You haven’t paid enough rent in the real world yet.” And what that means is that you’re not ready for the rigorous studio practice necessary to survive that program you haven’t fought for it. 

 Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Loyal Nana: So you followed your gut when it told you that you weren't ready for Yale just yet or did you just apply?

Lucia: Yeah, I didn’t apply right away. Instead, I wanted to go pay my rent in the real world so to speak and so I started working with an artist, who you and I both worked for, Dannielle Tegeder.

Loyal Nana: We did! I forgot about that. 

Lucia: I learned a lot from her and from that experience. I needed to start making work and at the time, my mother and I were in a one bedroom-there just wasn’t enough space. Someone offered me a studio space upstate, in their home and I said yes (Thank you, Donna!). I am super grateful for them. I made so much work there, I made these huge paintings that I couldn’t have made anywhere else. After some months, I decided to apply and it was with those paintings, that I made in Chappaqua of all places, that got me an interview at Yale and later into Yale.

 Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Loyal Nana: Fuckin’a 

Lucia: I thought, everyone that was going for their interview would go with the maximum amount of paintings required for the in-person interview…so I decided I would only do three, three very big ones. To backtrack a little, when I found out I got the interview, I called George right away! He was recovering and had started working at Purchase again—He had called me as soon as he started working again, to be his teaching assistant, he said “It’s sort of unofficial because you’ve already graduated and you can’t be here but I want you to be here because none of my students here are ready to do this just yet.” I was going to Purchase often, having lunch together and going for walks(pushing him around in a wheelchair) and he was helping me prep for my Yale interview…. 

Loyal Nana: How perfect is the timing?

Lucia:  Right? He would ask me about my work and what I planned to bring to the interview. I would show him my work and he didn’t have much to say about the work, he seemed to be more interested in how I was going to talk about my work and how I would curate my pieces. I told him I plan to bring three giant paintings and I think it kind of reminded him of himself because he used to make giant paintings. When they called me for the interview, he told me “I want you to understand that if you don’t get in past this, just know that the fact that they interviewed you… it’s like being nominated for an Oscar; you’re glad you went and sat next to Jack Nicholson and laughed.” I just said ok.  That was the best thing he could have ever told me because when I went for the interview everyone was nervous as shit and I felt calm and grateful. Eric Mack, who is huge now and Ronny Quevedo both were there and helped me carry my work into the room. They were all signing folks in and helping around. Peter Halley interviewed me and that was huge for me because I’ve always liked Peter’s work, he’s Warhols 1980’s New York era. When he saw my paintings he jumped the gun a little bit and got too excited and said: “I think it would be interesting to have you and Kenny Rivero (Dominican Artist) overlap.” I said “Hmmm.” So I left very confidently. I was happy about how it all went. 

Loyal Nana: What were your three giant paintings about? What did you tell them in that room about you and your work?

Lucia: They were imagined narratives. Abstracted shared narratives that people have, sayings (ex:”Cabeza Bonita Aguanta Halones”)…I talked about abstraction and our(Caribbean) relationship to abstraction. And I think one of the most important questions they asked me was “Are you willing to change? Are you going to come in here and churn the same thing or are you willing to come in and talk through ideas?” That was great because I knew I wanted to scrap everything and start fresh—There was more to say. 

 Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Loyal Nana: So what was it all like at Yale?

Lucia: I had one of the craziest experiences there. I was about to get kicked out of that school because… well, let's just say I wasn’t as focused as I should have been. That moment was my Nina “In the Heights” moment where I was like “I don’t want to go back home, I can’t go back home and tell people I couldn’t hack it.” And really it was me being overwhelmed and freezing. Out of all of the things that young people of color should know going into this program, is that you will feel that. It will happen. This is an institution that was NOT made for us so how do you go in there and make it yours and own it? I had no one telling me what that would be like other than George, of course, but he was white so he didn’t really get it. 

Loyal Nana: Did getting into Yale change your confidence and help you get through the program or were you still full of doubt as you came in and just cruising?

Lucia: My first year, I learned to hide from the things that scared me. I studied a lot; I am good at the reading, I love taking academic classes, I am good at school, but really I was kind of jealous of the other students who had a studio practice that they were so in love with that they didn’t want to leave their studios, ever. And I just wondered how I could get to that and was scared that I didn’t have that. But I also had a lot to unpack and I think that was the real time when I truly unpacked my life and my story and everything I just told you. Shout out Yale Health, thank you so much for that. 

Loyal Nana: hahahahaha yes! Therapy is so necessary! Everyone should go to therapy. This nation needs therapy! The unpacking of me and my story was what ACTUALLY gave me the confidence to get through this program. While people packed their bags….wait this sounds like a Carrie Bradshaw line … “While people packed their bags and went on Summer vacation, I stayed behind and wondered, should I unpacked mine?”

WE ARE LAUGHING PRETTY HARD RIGHT NOW

 Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Loyal Nana: What did you get from unpacking your whole life during your first year at the MFA program at Yale? I mean did you at least get a prize for your endurance? LOL

Lucia: Well it’s a two-year program, my “breakdown/buildup” happened during the end of the first year-so in-between-during the summer and going into my second year. I think it was a lot of stuff crashing together all at once—a bad breakup, George—I forgot to mention that when I got accepted to Yale, George passed away. He got the news and happily bragged for a while and then he passed. I couldn’t call him to tell him about how overwhelmed I was and what I was going through. 

Loyal Nana: The person who believed in you and essentially put you where you were is no longer around. That's hard.

Lucia: Right and going back home was really just like “ Y que es eso dique, Gel?” (what is a Yale?) 

Loyal Nana: It be like that. What was that wake-up call all for?

Lucia: To get my shit together before I get kicked out of Yale. lol. My second and last year, I came to Yale and I was like alright, how can I own my work, make this mine? I realized I never loved to make paintings. I love the color. I loved painting when I was learning the basics and how to copy the masters and so on. I thought it was cool that I was learning the history of the things that I loved. Don’t get me wrong I can geek out about painting but I had to be honest with myself at that moment.

KS4A9688.jpg

Loyal Nana: I am glad you brought us here because I want to talk about this medium you work with. I personally like to consider it a whole new medium because it is not painting, drawing, photography, sculpting, ceramics, printmaking. It is FELT and fabrics that you work with.

Loyal Nana: How did you discover this?

Lucia: Well that summer in 2012, I was making a lot of strange work. I made a sculpture—oh man—I had this toddler swing set installed, I was making references to my mother being a nanny in the gated communities in Washington Heights and I didn’t know where to take that. My first year I made these Paul Gauguin women in IKEA catalog settings lol it sounds fascinating, right? 

Anyway, that summer I ordered paper and I received felt instead. It was off of one of those Alibaba websites with very little description. What got me though when I was ordering what I thought was paper, was that they were huge and I thought I could use large rolls of color paper because I wanted to make collages and get away from painting and mixing colors and shit. When I saw the rolls online I thought YES, I can make my collages larger with these large rolls of paper. But then I received the felt and I was like WTF is this?! I ordered paper! I guess I have to make muppets now LMAO. At that time I met this kid who was a huge inspiration, he's an engineer who started this really cool website, Chairigami making chairs out cardboard. But this dude I really give credit to because he said, “Why don’t you just unroll them and fill your room with these colors and all this felt? Stop being timid." The rolls were in the corner for a while after they were delivered. I thought okay, let's do it. I had already thrown out all of my paintings so I had room in my studio and started ordering more felt and realized I needed scissors and pins and all this stuff. I started using felt adhesives and glues. I started tailoring my studio to the felt. I figured I can still do what I was going to do with the paper but with the felt instead. I started playing with that. Now, looking back on what I first made with felt, it was just a very rough outline of what I had in mind but I actually made so much of it, all the time and I didn’t want to leave my studio. 

 Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

 

Loyal Nana: You ask and you shall receive. All you ever wanted was to like to spend time in your studio and have a good studio practice. Look at that...

Lucia: I started reaching out to those students whose committed studio practice I used to be jealous of for advice on good studio practices and how they did what they did. I called my friend Ben from Purchase and he said: “Why don’t you try sleeping in your studio?” I was like “WHAT?” He said, “Yes, listen to music and go to sleep in your studio, watch the sunrise and listen to it “Its all over now baby blue”. So I did, I went to sleep on all of the felt, I woke up and I had this crazy moment and thought, ‘This is my home. This has to be my home.’ I had this beautiful apartment I used to escape to. I never told anyone where I lived. It was my only place of peace and escape. Everyone wanted to know where I lived and I couldn't tell them because they were all going to think its dope and they would all want to party there. So I made that apartment my haven but my studio was now a part of that. The work that I created ultimately allowed me to stay at Yale and complete my MFA.  My review came back and they were all like “Yes, you worked your ass off this Summer and you pushed through you can stay.” After that great critique, I think I cried, I didn’t know what to do-hit the bar for sure. 

Loyal Nana: It’s lit

Lucia: Then as if that wasn’t enough, this amazing guy, Ken Lovell, who ran the Digital Media Office at Yale, reached out to me and mentioned he had fabric in the digital studio that you can run through a printer. When that man said that, it was like everything I thought I couldn’t do, I could do now. I realized that I was pinning everything and gluing everything, I didn’t know what else to do with them. The thing that I was avoiding was the thing my mom always wanted me to do, sew.  My whole life, she always wanted me to sew and I would say no, no, it is too hard. I wanted to be a fashion designer at some point, too. When I was at the Cooper Union program, I was sort of deciding if I wanted to be in fashion or painting. My mom said, “well you can’t be in fashion if you don’t want to sew.” And so I scrapped that idea so quickly. I realized THAT'S what George talked about. He would always say “you’re going to find out that it’s always been there. What you’re supposed to be doing has always been there. 

 Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Loyal Nana: George knew.

Lucia: I spoke to George probably once and very briefly about my Grandmother coming to this country through her sewing. She wanted to be a fashion designer, she never made it. She worked at a factory. She got a work visa and got her kids working visas as well. Those kids [my mom] worked! They slaved. My mom has bittersweet memories about it. 

KS4A9640.jpg

Anyway, back to felt. I called my mom and said, “Mom, what do I get if I want to sew these things together?” She was like what? lol She said “Okay, go get this quilting needle…” and get this and get that. I figured out the stitching myself and I knew when I started it would look like shit but I knew I had to do this. 

Loyal Nana: This is why I am calling this a new medium. It’s a whole new world! What were your first works with this new found medium?

Lucia: I took a class with William Villalongo and he would ask us to get a binder and just fill it up with stuff every week; stuff that we accumulate. And my thing was that every time I went to therapy or visited my mom at work, I would pick up the New Yorker because it reminded me of New York, and that thing New Yorkers carry around, that certain kind of New Yorker. 

Loyal Nana: Its another status symbol, like Yale…

Lucia: Right. I started collaging with the New Yorker. I would collage Instagram photos with my friends right on top of the magazine and bring that in every week. And Villalongo said, “There’s something good here. Keep making this.” And I kept making it until not too long ago.” And then Ken from the media office said “Hey why don’t you try just printing these pages out on fabric. So it hit me that working with this fabric meant I could go big. So I started printing pages of the New Yorker on felt and layering them on top of more felt and the felt in the back just became beautiful backdrop colors. The pieces were really cathartic, I was like oh shit. I loved how uncomfortable it made the studio visits because people had to sort of confronting these weird class issues. Everybody was used to being uncomfortable with talking about race and saying outlandish shit to POC in the program but the one thing that people didn’t want to talk about is how closely tied those two things are, race and class/colorism and class; and how it was going to be hard for the rest of us to make it into the art world because of those factors or one or the other. I graduated with these pieces feeling like this is good. 

 Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

 Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Loyal Nana: What is your work like today?

Lucia: Well I have a studio in the South Bronx and my mom helps me in the studio, we are both sewings, we kind of set up an assembly line when we work together. Lots of sewing, digital printing on fabric. More sculptural.

 Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Courtesy of Lucia Hierro

Loyal Nana: Things really come full circle. She always wanted you to sew and now, somehow, very gracefully, you've made sewing your medium. 

Lucia: Yea. So recently J.P. Morgan Chase Art Collection acquired some of my works and they are flying me out to Paris (for the first time) to exhibit my work at Paris Photo, the world’s largest international art fair dedicated to the photographic medium. I’m out of my depth now with the sizes I'm working with and thinking about 3D versus 2D, etc. I still have the same anxiety as always but it’s a different kind of anxiety because I have to keep the ball rolling, I have to keep surprising myself. My work today (which I can't show too much of but I will sooooooon) really just validates everything I told you, my whole story. 

Loyal Nana: This shit never stops though and we know it so whats next?

Lucia: I'm happy to announce this January 27th is my first solo show at Elizabeth Dee in Harlem. I haven’t had a solo show yet in New York. I’ve been a part of a lot of group shows, with artists I’ve always admired. That's almost like always being a supporting actor in a movie and hoping to be a lead at some point.… so I am working towards that. The whole thing about life being a marathon and not a sprint relates so much to this. Some people can do it as a sprint… I need to pace myself and do things at my own time, which is something that is very valuable in this business. To control where your work moves and what you do and when. I mean look at Vetements who dropped out of Fashion Week. That’s the same thing. That’s them saying that they wanna do things their way and not the way it's been done. It’s a ballsy move and the way it should be done. Honestly, I hope the European crowd loves my work and can find something relatable so that it can spread around and create a little buzz, you know?

 Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Loyal Nana: I see it happening. 

Loyal Nana: Who are the top three artists most inspirational artists you are following right now?

Lucia: Oh man that's a tough one! I'm following my friend's careers with admiration, but if I had to make a list at the moment… 

1. Misaki Kawai-talk about balancing motherhood and an art career. Her work makes me happy and is a testament that art can be this explosion of love!

2. Amanda Ross-Ho - She visited Yale once but I had no idea I was making some large-scale works that relate to hers a lot! coincidence Amanda Ross-Ho I swear!

3. Derrick Adams- I've been following for a minute! I love him.

Loyal Nana: What’s on your playlist when you’re in the studio working by yourself?

Lucia: Everything! depends on the mood, classics like Simon and Garfunkel, Silvio Rodriguez, Joni Mitchell, Juan Gabriel, Juan Luis Guerra with 440… Jorge Drexler, Monsieur Perine, Tyler the Creator, Solange, The Internet, Anderson Paak, Kaytranada—I can go on

Loyal Nana: Thank you so much, Lucia for sharing your time and space. I am sure we will all see you around. 

Lucia Hierro: Thank YOU. 

Lucia Hierro on Instagram

Lucia Hierro's website

 

Amanda Saviñón1 Comment