ARTIST OF THE MONTH
Paola de la Calle
LatinSF is honored to share the story of Paola de la Calle as our Artist of the Month. She was born in Boston, MA by Colombian parents, who migrated to the United States in the 80’s.
Paola grew up in Boston with two older sisters, her parents, and a small immediate family she can count on one hand. The majority of her family remains in Medellin. Paola says she was born creative, but taught to use her hands by the women in her family who were seamstresses, bakers, hair stylists, and more. Her ability to make something out of very little is something that influenced her professional path. In college, Paola studied Sociology, with a minor in Studio Art. What she learned in her Sociology classes altered Paola’s artistic path, as this provided an interest in research and using art to educate, as well as, a need to create work “with more meaning and historical context attached to it”.
She is passionate about telling stories that connect the personal, political, and historical with a particular focus on US/Latin American relations. She wants to reimagine the stories we hear, “The media tries to depict Latin America as a place filled with tragedy and sadness when in reality there’s a lot of culture, strength, resources, impact…” and uses her art to analyze the role of the US across borders.
Her artwork has evolved from relief printing to incorporating collage, painting, and writing to create dynamic stories and deepen the viewer’s perspective. She has lately been transmitting these messages in the form of poems.
Paola’s inspiration doesn’t come from a single role model. In her opinion, the way she tells her story is inspired by multiple artists, mostly women. It was hard to pick a specific role model as they came during different times of her artistic development. Among these artists, she pointed out Frida Kahlo, “she speaks often on the personal perspective”, Faviana Rodriguez who is based in the Bay Area and uses art as a form of activism. Additionally, Ester Hernandez also inspired her love of printmaking.
Paola has been living in San Francisco for 3 years, but previously worked as an Art Teacher in Memphis, TN. One of her first projects in Northern California was as a volunteer in the development of a mural in Oakland at Hasta Muerte Coffee created by KillJoy and Mazatli. It was through this experience where she met Piojos, one of the artists who influenced her decision to move to San Francisco when she first visited the city in 2017.
Paola’s passion flows in the desire to give another perspective on events that have surrounded and impacted her life. She believes art can be used as a tool for social change. Art can be used as a way to relearn past events and imagine other ways of living.
Visit her webpage here: http://www.paoladelacalle.com