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








Conversation between Yesenia Diaz and Olivia Ramos.


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


‪the figure in this piece is familiar‬‬


Santa Barbara


what is your connection with her?


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.


‪is this piece a gift to this energy?‬‬


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


‪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.‬‬


‪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?‬‬


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.


as if maybe this energy was itself grateful for your engagement


did you feel guided while working?


‪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.‬‬


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


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.‬‬


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)?


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


‪so tell me something‬‬


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


‪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.‬‬


does she still speak to you today?‬‬




‪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


‪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.


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


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.‬‬


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?


‪Yes, exactly.‬‬


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


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