I have faced many challenges in my career as an artist who identifies as a black queer woman. Without question, the largest challenge I have faced and continue to conquer is being rejected from art spaces and opportunities, especially in Colorado Springs. Although many choose to ignore the fact that Colorado Springs is rather conservative, I am constantly reminded. My work is a direct reflection of me … how I look, my morals, my beliefs and my opinions.
It is so challenging navigating spaces that I know that I am not wanted nor accepted in. I conquer this challenge by remaining true to myself. As hard as it is, I understand and wholeheartedly believe that nothing can stop what is meant for me. I have solid boundaries and pursue my goals relentlessly, regardless of what others may think or say.
As cliché as it may sound, my inspiration is life, more specifically my experiences, Panamanian heritage, sexuality, pop-culture, community and environmental influences. I’ve always wanted to feel seen in the art world, so I make it a priority to make sure my community feels seen, empowered and represented in my art since my main objective as an artist is to obtain a position where SHE can grow as an artist, support the community and promote multiculturalism, diversity, inclusion, equality and respect.
My journey is probably no different than most, as I’ve technically been an artist my entire life. I’ve always had a knack and raw talent for art. I used to draw a lot in elementary school, and I won tons of awards and such. I’d like to say I started my “professional art journey” in May 2014, when I picked up a brush and painted my first original canvas — the first original canvas painting during my adulthood.
The thing that distinguishes my journey, career and path is my branding. ArtByRizzo is a brand that creates unique and colorful visual art to represent a multitude of expressions and experiences while aiming to engage and empower the community. Beyond the sale of the original paintings, original illustrations, prints, apparel, stickers, etc., ArtByRizzo provides a multitude of services such as commissioned art, murals, business branding, consulting and design, art tutoring, art therapy and paint parties.
I am excited for the future! I am living in my truth. I accept only the work and projects that I feel in my soul and wholeheartedly believe in. I have hosted some unique events, created some amazing programming and am working with phenomenal people and organizations on super dope projects. For the first time in my life, I genuinely feel alive! I’m walking in my purpose, and it’s a feeling beyond description.
Southeast Colorado Springs has influenced every single part of my being and my career. I am used to being the underdog and proving people wrong, like most people in my community. In a strange way, it fuels me. I am determined to be another success story that comes out of the SOUTHSIDE. As many times as I’ve moved and as much as I travel, I’m always called back home.
Southeast Colorado Springs is a shining light and the pulse of the entire city! Anyone who takes a moment to put aside any preconceived notions can see that we cultivate amazing human beings who are the culture and full of talent and creativity.
Artist & Community Advocate