A Reyna Noriega original jumps out at you. Her use of color and shapes conjure images of other artists such as the acclaimed Aaron Douglas. Like Douglas, she focuses her work on Blackness. Women and men of every hue of brown and black, existing in everyday scenarios. Her work is vibrant, yet it flushes with the environment, perfectly augmenting any space. Ms. Noriega is incredibly prolific, at times it seems impossibly so. Her regularly updated Instagram page provides an insight into her numerous projects, from art deals with established brands such as Band-Aid, to creating intricate and intimate murals.
The renowned artist shared with us the importance of her roots, what her art style means to her, and the secrets behind her prolific output.
Tell us about your Afro-Caribbean Latina roots, and how you think your heritage has fueled your success in any way?
Reyna: My father’s side of the family is Cuban and Afro-Cuban, and my mom is Bahamian and Jamaican. I come from a very rich and vibrant culture, and it is ingrained in everything I do. They both left everything they knew to forge new lives here, so I feel like I have no choice but to honor those sacrifices by being the best representation of my family name I can.
What have been three key components to your success?
Reyna: Gratitude. Resilience. Surrender. Gratitude for all I already have and all the tools in me that will allow me to go farther. Resilience to weather any storms that come my way. And, enough surrender to know when I need to pivot.
Your use of color is striking. What does color represent for you in your pieces?
Reyna: Color is so important. It is such an underemphasized way of communicating and creating and shifting moods. At times color is more of a focal point in my pieces rather than the subjects. Color has unique properties and elicits specific emotions in all of us. I can communicate the mood I want the viewer to feel through color.
Your work seems to fully embody your true self, which is a rarity in this world. What would you say to other women who long to create thriving businesses that are in full alignment with who they are?
Reyna: We exist at such an interesting time in history. There is this temptation to go so fast, to betray yourself for relevance, visibility, and temporary success. But, creating from within is the only sustainable way. The results may take a little longer, but the effects will last much longer.
The pace in which you create new products is amazing… In a short time, you seem to accomplish what many dream of in a lifetime. Tell us about your process and how you’re able to do this.
Reyna: I learned to validate myself and define success for myself early on in my journey, which comes from being denied a lot of opportunities I would apply for or pitch. That has resulted in me not waiting for opportunities, but seizing them when I have an idea. I like to be surrounded by my art and ideas and find new ways I can bring them to life.
How are you aiming to affect change in people’s lives through your work?
Reyna: I want to inspire confidence in others about their unique journeys and the beautiful uniqueness of the body their soul is inhabiting in this lifetime. It is so important to cultivate as much love, peace, and joy around us because the world is not always so kind.
Reyna Noriega is a Florida-born visual artist and author whose work exudes her deep appreciation for introspection and self-reflection. She sees these habits as an integral part of one’s journey to their most authentic self. Armed with her knowledge of the ills of a dearth in positive representation, this young woman of Afro-Caribbean Latina heritage centers her work on women of color. Reyna desires to punctuate the lives of minorities with coruscating depictions of themselves. Noriega’s work has found its way into the homes of thousands who have collected and displayed her art. Science Magazine and The New Yorker have also showcased her art in their publications.