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Planet Bella

 My work celebrates the under appreciated adaptability of first generation latinX women.  I use photography as a tool for self-reflection and for finding the magical moments in my (extra)ordinary life. I use photography to help guide my decision-making process – to affirm my gut instinct.  I use photography as a means to visually articulate stories that draw on issues from my life and my experience of contemporary culture. Inspired by magical realism, as exemplified by such novels as Cien Años de Soledad, I create work that highlights the lives of first generation LatinX women. Themes include (but are not limited to) immigration, family, assimilation, and sex - my full circle of life. ***Cue lion king soundtrack. 

This semester I introduced mixed media as another sidekick to help me find magic. While photography will continue to be my primary guide for storytelling, mixed media will challenge my current understanding of the line between the magic and the real in search of the surreal.  As I dive head first into a quarter-life crisis, I aim to better understand my parents’ migration to the United States, the growth of our family, and their relentless struggles and triumphs to obtain the American Dream.  Experimenting with mixed media and magical realism has allowed me to tap into childlike play and given me access to memories from my past, helping me to better understand the interworking of my family. Blankets, toys, clothing, sand and glitter, spark the question how did I get here? 

Influenced by the series Planet Earth, my most current work explores the sexual and familial interconnectedness in my family’s circle of life. I am using photography to explore the role of “gut feelings” in sex and adaptability. Specifically, this work focuses on the sublime and magical “IDK ( I don’t know)” moments, that take us into the supernatural realm allow us to explore the natural story.  My immigrant parents gave me the gift of my instincts, and I am following my instincts as they bend and leap and take me into my work.