Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique  discovering  thesis and processes behind the work.








Yesenia Diaz

Santa Barbara Bendita Eres Tu Chango, 2015

Acrylic on Canvas

36 x 48 in.

RAMOS:  ‪thank you for joining me‬‬


DIAZ:  ‪Of course‬‬


RAMOS:  ‪the figure in this piece is familiar‬‬


Santa Barbara


what is your connection with her?


DIAZ:  ‪I have always felt as if though the energy that is Santa Barbara/Chango has always watched and protected me.


There have been times through my years in which the energy has manifested inside me.


RAMOS:  ‪is this piece a gift to this energy?‬‬


or a way to analyze or discover something about this energy?


DIAZ:  ‪It is my way of paying homage and giving thanks to an energy that is part of my existence.


During the process I discovered a different dimension within me. One that embodies the energy and brings fourth the deepest understanding of my soul.‬‬


RAMOS:  ‪tell me more about that... how does the process of painting, and particularly painting this energy, or a representation of this energy, help you discover or have deeper understanding?‬‬


DIAZ:  ‪It's a physical sensation/feeling that enters my fingertips and travels through my body. It's a sensation of happiness, clarity, gratitude. One that reminds where the soul feels safe and comfortable. It was as if I was in a trance-like state during the process.


RAMOS:  ‪as if maybe this energy was itself grateful for your engagement


did you feel guided while working?


DIAZ:  ‪Definitely both. It was grateful and without a doubt guiding me. I initially started this piece over 10 years ago. I somehow lost track of time along with other things in my life. After reconnecting with what I had once began a few months back the urge was compelling and irresistible.


The energy was calling for me. I felt missed. I was saddened by the loss of connection I once shared with the energy. Completing this piece has brought my soul back home.‬‬


RAMOS:  ‪and the details in the painting, what do they represent?‬‬


DIAZ:  ‪They are representations of what the energy controls in the physical world which are lightening and thunder. There are also representations of a beating heart, my heart, after a recent diagnosis.‬‬


RAMOS:  ‪ok one at a time... first i notice a second figure, a face with his or her eyes closed..


is that the African version (Chango) of the same image.. which seems more like the catholic version (Santa Barbara)?


DIAZ:  ‪Yes, the image with closed eyes is Chango. Santa Barbara is the Catholic version. Both the same entity, just different representations.‬‬


RAMOS:  ‪so tell me something‬‬


do you think if people painted representations of God or Jesus Christ.. that they would have a similar experience?


DIAZ:  ‪I would like to think so but I think it depends on the individuals relationship with God/Jesus.‬‬

RAMOS:  ‪how did you develop a relationship with Santa Barbara?‬‬


DIAZ:  ‪When I was a child my father had an entire room dedicated to various Catholic saints including Santa Barbara. I would spend lots of time in that room and felt the deepest connection to her. As time passed I shared all my trials and tribulations with her, mine or not. I knew she was always listening.


She always spoke to me as well, especially through dreams.‬‬


RAMOS:  ‪does she still speak to you today?‬‬


DIAZ:  ‪Yes.‬‬


RAMOS:  ‪how do you move on from this painting or subject? are there many layers to build upon or was this a one time experience?‬‬


‪i know at some point in the past you mentioned a bible series‬‬


DIAZ:  ‪I just do. It's complete. Yes, a religious/spiritual series. I have begun working on La Caridad Del Cobre/Ochun, my mother/guardian. I'm also in the process of completing a piece representing Matthew 10:16 from the bible and a Ganesha piece.


I am an extremely spiritual individual and feel connected to a variety of energies expanding a variety of religions and beliefs. Making them my subjects brings me a sense of happiness and calm which I hope to share with the world.


RAMOS:  ‪these energies... do we represent them as human-looking because they were once humans or because it is a way to identify with them?‬‬


DIAZ:  ‪It depends. Some were always Gods and therefore we represent them as human-looking to identify and some were once humans themselves who lived on this earth.‬‬


RAMOS:  ‪this implies a multi-layered system of dimensions that we humans don't get to see, not all of us anyway - would that be accurate?


DIAZ:  ‪Yes, exactly.‬‬


RAMOS:  ‪wouldn't it be interesting for you to paint that world or dimension? or the overlap of the two.‬‬


DIAZ:  ‪It would be. When receive a vision clear enough to paint I will.‬‬