The Block

Art & Culture — 12 months ago

Rocio Marie Cabrera Is Ready To Evolve

Rocio Cabrera discusses the value of time, letting go of artistic idea possession and what’s next. 

 

Rocio Cabrera is a multidisciplinary artist from the Bronx, New York. A graduate from Hunter College, her work encompasses painting, sculpture and jewellery design, each piece lucid and saturated with emotion. Perhaps more than most artists, it’s tempting to read Cabrera’s pieces as extensions of her; female figures feature often and there’s a playful personality to almost everything she does. 

 

An artist since she can remember, since turning thirty in December, Cabrera has been taking stock of where she is now, and what she still wants to achieve. “Suddenly, something that used to make me feel very proud and accomplished started to make me feel like I was behind in life,” she says. Here she discusses the value of time, letting go of artistic idea possession and what’s next. 

 

Shop Rocio Cabrera’s T-shirt here.

Words
Everpress Team
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Courtesy of Rocio Marie Cabrera

Did you grow up wanting to be an artist?

I have never had another dream. This is both beautiful, in a way, and terrifying as an adult. Art has always come naturally to me. I was a kid with a lot of anxiety, and being a natural fidgeter I spent a lot of my time doodling, ripping up tiny pieces of paper during class and creating collages on my desk. Art has always been a part of my identity and it’s almost impossible to imagine myself anywhere else in life career-wise.

Courtesy of Rocio Marie Cabrera

Your Instagram bio reads “She’s a Bronx business”. How do you think where you’re from has shaped your work?

My work is shaped by my internal emotional world way more than anything outside. But it’s important to me to mention that I am from the Bronx because of representation. I want other little girls in the Bronx to know how proud I am to be from here, and that despite being one of the most neglected and overlooked areas in the city, the Bronx is FULL of talented, original, hardworking artists making a real mark.

Art has always come naturally

Are you possessive of your ideas?

It has taken years for me to find my own lane as an artist, and to create my own little universe with motifs that feel super personal and specific to me. At the beginning of my career I felt very protective over what I considered to be ‘my’ style. The moment that I felt like someone was taking a little too much inspiration from me they’d be blocked on socials (I laugh about this now). 

That all came from a place of insecurity: the fear that someone was going to take my ideas and run with them and become successful before I did. I can see now too that that fear kept me from exploring, it caused me to put myself in a box, thinking this art style was mine and I needed to produce more and more of it to prove that. Thankfully, I have let all of that go. I make art that comes from a genuine place, and not a box. Nowadays, it’s heartwarming if someone references my art for a piece, in the same way that I have been inspired by artists from my childhood, like Lisa frank, and Tim Burton. Now, I hope that my art can help other artists to find their voice.

Courtesy of Rocio Marie Cabrera

What are some of your fears about where you are at right now?

I love this question first off! It’s not something that I’m asked often, but it is literally always on my mind. Making and selling art has been my job for the last seven years. Then I turned 30 in December and suddenly, something that used to make me feel very proud and accomplished started to make me feel like I was behind in life. Not having an extensive resume is all of a sudden embarrassing, terrifying, and unsafe. 

This past year has been one of the most difficult for me monetarily. Not knowing how much money is going to come in on a weekly basis, regardless of whether I had been working ten hour days or not, inflation, changes in shipping costs, and the general state of the economy has your girl SHOOK. It’s a privilege and a luxury to buy and own art and jewellery, and I feel like everyone is struggling right now. God always provides a way for me though. Everytime I consider giving up, an opportunity or an idea will come through. This Everpress collaboration definitely felt like reassurance during a time when I needed it! 

When do you feel most creatively satisfied?

I feel most creatively satisfied when I’m given the time to actually enjoy my process. Not making art with the intention of selling it, but because there’s something deep inside of me that needs to be expressed. My art practice is where I am able to be myself in the most authentic way, without the fear of judgement and without feeling embarrassed of my feelings. One of my favourite aspects of painting is blending, I love to see colours marry each other on a canvas and the way that they interact to create emotion… That type of thing takes time, blending requires dedication.

I’d love to experiment with ceramics

Courtesy of Rocio Marie Cabrera

How do you think your work has evolved since you started?

I have reached a point where I think that it’s time to evolve. I have done a lot of digital work in the past year because of how accessible it is – it’s easy, and uses less money. But I want to start making the work that little Rocio dreamed of. I want to once again return to my college days at Hunter College, where I was using oil paint and working on six foot canvases in my tiny room in my parents house. It’s time to step out of my comfort zone. No risk without reward.

Are there any unexplored mediums you want to try working in?

I’d love to experiment more with ceramics. My ultimate dream is to have the girls in my paintings come to life as giant ceramic sculptures.

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