My Miami: Diana Contreras And Cristina Isabel Rivera Talk Street Art, Pastelitos, And Creepy Guys
Wynwood -- Miami’s freshly-anointed hipster claim to fame -- is the place for street art, and its newest resident goes by the name of "Sofia Rose."
Painted in a week by local artists Diana Contreras and Cristina Isabel Rivera, the mural adorns the wall of what will be Style CTZN at 218 NW 25th St. Store owner Ysset Boan commissioned the pair to create the image of a woman who personified strength, individuality, and just plain fun femininity.
“I wanted to communicate the message that there are female street artists, and what better way than painting a giant beautiful woman,” Rivera told HuffPost Miami. “We barely slept during the week, I cannot explain the rush I felt during this creative process, it was very beautiful. I wasn’t tired, I just wanted to keep planning and painting.”
The two are busy: a Geisha-themed wall is in the works at the Bird Road Art District, Contreras’ “Tutu Girls” series will be exhibited at Bloomingdales, Rivera is creating a documentary about the Miami street art scene, and the to-do list goes on.
Current gig: Diana: Elementary art teacher by day and artist by night.
Years in Miami: Diana: 26 years.
Favorite childhood memory in Miami? Diana: I’m not a native but I’ve been here since 5. My favorite childhood memory is racing my friends to see how fast we could get to Dadeland Mall through the back, which included jumping the fence and running through the highway.
Current neighborhood: Coral Gables.
Favorite 'Only in Miami' moment? Diana: In the parking lot of Home Depot, Cristina and I were stopped by the “Granizado” man. He was very flirtatious and funny. He let us ride his Granizado bicycle cart, take photos, and be interviewed. He said he was so in love with Cristina that he wanted to do Brujeria on her!
Diana: A sunny day at the beach with good friends, eating delicious Peruvian food.
Prefer 395 or 195? Both: 395
Where do you take out-of-towners? Diana: Everywhere. I like to make sure they see a little bit of everything that Miami offers. South beach, Bayside, the Grove, Wynwood, Brickell, and the Everglades.
Why do you hate Miami? Diana: People can be superficial.”Sunny place, shady people.”
Why do you love Miami? Diana: The weather is great! Summer all around! I need to live in a tropical place.
What are three local meals you can't live without? Diana: Lomo Saltado, Fritanga, and Abuela Maria ice cream from Azuar for dessert!
In a word or two or three, Miami is: Diana: Miami is...Sucia Life!
How did "Sofia Rose" come about? Diana: We knew we wanted a strong, classy, beautiful woman. I researched fashion trends for 2013 but ended up with the classic LBD. I wanted to make sure the mural would be timeless, like a Hispanic Audrey Hepburn. It took approximately seven days of painting.
Since a lot of Miami street art is dominated by men, what does the addition of "Sofia Rose" mean? Diana: It is definitely dominated by male artists, so I am happy to be adding a feminine touch to the walls. I think we are showing that women can create amazing murals just as well as men. I love hearing the comments that we are inspiring others and not just women. I am also curator of “The Good Wall” which is located at the Goodwill in Little Havana. This position has made it possible to allow more women the opportunity to paint on this wall.
What's some of your favorite Miami art? Diana: The Few & Far mural, Johnny Robles’s Detached Woman, Krave’s big booty girls, Brandon Opalka's truck, Atomik's oranges, and anything in the Rubell Family Collection.
How does Miami inspire you artistically? Diana: I am inspired by the colorful people, foods, fashion, and sunshine.