Estefania Velez Rodriguez


I was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. My paintings and videos are a visual study of my relationship to the many worlds that surround me. I live in Brooklyn, New York and go back to Puerto Rico every few years. During the Pandemic, I also lived a short while in Mexico City. I have been thinking about language as a dual tongued individual and how symbolic language of painting acts as a bridge between many cultures and spaces. My artist practice mostly involves painting on canvas and paper, and also includes experimentation with video formats in painting. Painting has taken a turn towards abstracted landscapes as well as non-objective paintings that are somewhat open field and bright. Teaching has shifted my painting language and theory. I find experimentation more important and abstraction necessary to embody fleeting emotions, times, and broader discourses. Through performance and video I build a physical relationship with the 2-dimensional painting and drawings that I make. Each video illustrates dual feelings of inclusion and displacement. Because of this duality I aim to create objects and characters that contain a fluidity or neutrality of origin, probing both feelings of well-being and discomfort. It is in the tension between peacefulness and discomfort where I aim to break open a psychological space – a space capable of revealing an identity and human condition that accepts humility and power.  

My name is Estefania Velez Rodriguez and I was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. My family and I moved from Ponce to the 50 states when I was only 4 years old. My relationship to Puerto Rico is full of love and complications. I grew up visiting Puerto Rico every few years and now as an adult I try to visit as often as possible. I still have family in Penuelas, and Ponce. My artwork is deeply influenced by my diasporic upbringing. I grew up in a small close knit diasporic community where we only spoke spanish, and I continued to be in English as Second Language courses up until I turned 14. I no longer carry an accent, but my years of trying to understand a different culture and language influenced my perception of the world. To further complicate my connection to my language and roots, my mother passed away in 2012 and with that event I also lost ties to my father from his disillusionment. My artwork relies upon simplification of shapes, and collapsing of visual spaces. The collapsing of visual spaces also gives the illusion of collapses in timelines and the way that we process seen information. Formally my work may be perceived as utilizing high saturation, mixed textures, ruptured perspective, and using landscape imagery. My work is deeply personal yet approachable through its use of bright energetic colors and swift mark making.

Sights Unseen, Acrylic medium, mixed media on canvas. 14 x 11 inches, 2022