Muralist Didi Contreras on Girls in Miami Street Art: "Women Artists Definitely Feel the Love"
Diana Contreras has never met a wall she couldn't improve.
Girls rule. Wait, scratch that - let's give them the respect they deserve. Women rule. Even in the hallowed, spray-painted world of street art, women have proven that they can play just as hard and fast as the big boys, er, men.
Diana "DidiRok" Contreras is the perfect example. She's been featured on CNN and the Huffington Post, and her work has been exhibited in the art mecca of New York. Most notably, however, Contreras has created many of those head-turning murals you'll see around Wynwood.
The Bird Road Arts District (Miami New Times Best Art Walk 2011), HARRISART Gallery, and the Mixed Media Collective are hosting Contreras' next show, "Wall 2 Wall Women," Saturday, June 21, as a way to showcase the badass female artists who live, work, and play in the 305 - artists sometimes overlooked in what some consider a boy's club.
"Franchesca" by Diana Contreras.
"It is important to showcase women in order to break the paradigms that women can't do what men can do," says Contreras. "These events make women feel empowered and it empowers other women to follow their artistic dreams. Also, it builds bonds in the female artists community where we can support, critique, and challenge one another to be better."
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It's taken a while, but the noted artist says that support for women artists has grown over the years, at least from members of the art community: "The scene has been great, supporting by providing walls for our art, spaces to show our work, and interviewing us to hear our stories. Also, social media has been retweeting and reposting, and pages such as Murals and Girls dedicates itself to posting only female artists from all over the world."
Contreras agrees that there is still room for improvement. "My wish is for all art shows, fairs, and mural festivals to have an equal amount of men and women artists. Also, purchasing and collecting more artwork created by women would make the scene better."
Can you feel the soul?
People aren't aware that women street artists face some gender-specific challenges, says Contreras. "Painting murals can be labor intensive. I think this is why there are more male street artists than females. Often street art is created late at night, so safety is another challenge for women artists."
As part of "Wall 2 Wall Women," artists Aquarela, Delvs, Kazilla, Lulu107, Miss Lushy, Mars, Marvel, Erin Odea, Jenny Perez, Ruby, Amanda Valdes, and Michelle Vazquez will collaborate with Contreras to "take back" one of her first murals by painting live on a 300 foot wall located in the Bird Road Arts District tomorrow.
Additionally, the Bird Road Arts District is hosting an exhibit featuring over 20 signature works by Miami's most notable female artists at the HARRISART Gallery, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Art lovers will be treated to complimentary beer samples from local brewery Daddy Brews, and music from band The Original Jones and Lady T of the female DJ collective the Geishaz, as they observe the artists complete the massive mural adjacent to the gallery.
"Support for the "Wall 2 Wall Women" project has been through the roof," says Contreras. "Women artists definitely feel the love in the Bird Road Art District."
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