Bronx-bred Dominicana Rocio “Rocky” Cabrera doesn’t care much for opinions. She’s too busy painting away misogyny in defense of girl-power. In today’s Feature Friday, we talk art, patriarchy, and celebrity fans.
Who is Rocio Rocky Cabrera?
A 23yr old Dominican artist from the Bronx
When did you decide to pursue your art?
To be perfectly honest, I’m not really sure. Art was never a decision for me. It’s what feels natural. It’s the easiest way for me to get my points across (and always has been).
When did you get your first big break?
I’d say my first big break was last year when Tim Reid purchased one of my self-portraits. If that name doesn’t ring a bell that’s totally Tia and Tamera’s dad on Sister, Sister. I guess… that’s not as cool as it would’ve been 15 years ago but its still really cool to me.
(I think that’s pretty cool too)
What mediums are used when creating?
I use a lot of different mediums. It honestly only depends on what’s available to me at the moment. Sometimes a girl can’t afford paint. Sometimes I’ll find some old pastels in my dirty closet. I like to use a lot of different things.
Who are your muses? What inspires you?
I am inspired by honesty. I think there’s a lot of strength in honesty, even if it’s about being upfront with your weakness and faults as a human. I’m enthused by those who are powerful enough to love themselves despite their weakness. I’d like to think of myself as my own muse. Somedays (not as often as I’d like) I wake up and am inspired by my own beauty as a human being. I really want my art to be able to make people feel the same about themselves.
Although your artwork has a whimsical effect it is very political in theme. How do you characterize your art?
I’d like to think there’s an overall theme of girl power. Embracing and celebrating every aspect of yourself; despite the opinions of others. There is nothing wrong with loving who you are or with the ways in which you do that.
Women have reached a crossroad where we are demanding autonomy of our bodies. Your art seeks to dismantle patriarchal ideologies. Can you explain?
I’m very tired of my body being viewed as only a sexual object. I am an extremely sexual person but there are hundreds of other amazing things my body is responsible for. My art celebrates ownership of your own body and the freedom for you to express that any way that you’d like.
Art is subjective in nature. How do you handle negative criticism and the folks that “just don’t get it”?
There’s always going to be folks that don’t get it. Especially when it comes to artwork. I feel no need to explain myself to people. As an artist, I really don’t think that’s my job. Whether my art makes you feel the way I wanted it to isn’t the goal… I just hope it makes you feel something. If that something turns out to be negative, I’m just glad I sparked something in you.
What would you like people to know about you as an artist?
It’s currently my only mode of receiving income and I would love if you checked some of my stuff out!
What have you learned along the way?
I’ve learned that we all go through very similar feelings during the human experience. A lot of which we aren’t very comfortable admitting. The more honest I am about my feelings (whether I’m scared of them being considered trivial or stupid) the more people are able to connect with my art. It is my job as an artist to express the things a lot of people find difficult to say out loud.
What advice would you give an aspiring artist?
Make what you know.
Art has been such a blessing for me. It’s able to relieve me of a lot of stress and anxiety that I didn’t know how to deal with for a very long portion of my life. It has also brought me closer to a lot of people who can relate to the issues I try and portray through my art.
Where can your work be purchased?
I’m currently working on a website. Unfortunately, I’m not sure when that will be finished so as of right now: the easiest way is to find me on Instagram! Rociomarie__. I have all my artwork posted under the hashtag #rocioart. All pieces I’ve sold surprisingly have been through Instagram.
What’s next for you?
Hopefully more solo shows!
Where can folks connect with you?
*Rocio Cabrera claims ownership of all photos