Vendor Voices

Insights About Art and Culture in Latin America by Silvia Monge, DANIEL SMITH Brand Ambassador

After being born and raised in Latin America, I spent some time in the United States as a student, and now I live in the central valley of Costa Rica, a place surrounded by mountain ranges and exuberant nature. From the balcony of my house, I can see four volcanoes as well as a beautiful park full of birds and local trees. 

In the same way that people around the world honor and revere nature, I celebrate life here in Costa Rica with its variety of cultures, the origins of the flavors and rhythms, and everything that means to us as Latin Americans. 

One of the things that I enjoy the most about my tropical country is that we have an abundance of colors and shapes. As an artist, I study their importance, love and embrace them, and I learn from the relationships between life and the richness of its shapes. I also appreciate all the ancestral textiles, traditional ceramics and musical instruments like the marimba that are part of our daily lives here. 

Latin America is filled with manifestations of art within our cultural celebrations. From the Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, to the carnivals in Rio de Janeiro and Semana Santa in Guatemala. In Costa Rica, we have the Romeria, which is a yearly pilgrimage to visit our local patron saint, the Virgin of Los Angeles. Another example is the traditional bull riding at the Guanacaste Fiesta.

Artistic expression has always occupied a dominant place here, from the decorated pyramids and colonial art to the large murals and large-scale Botero sculptures. Latin American art is represented all around the world in museums, galleries and community events. 

Latin American culture has a huge impact on my own art. I’m inspired by our love for life, color, music, traditional flavors, and most importantly, nature and animals. I have painted many roosters during my life – they have their own distinct personalities, unique movements and amazing colors. Roosters also possess an impressive presence and strength. But I don’t wish to celebrate the cockfighting “sport” that is still going on in many Latin American countries – mine are happy roosters! 

My favorite DANIEL SMITH watercolors include Pyrrol Red, Mayan Orange and Cadmium Yellow – these three colors in particular represent the joy of our cultural celebrations. Phthalo Blue, Green Gold, Green Appetite Genuine, Quinacridone Gold and a few other granulating colors are always on my palette for painting landscapes, mountains and tropical forests with lots of texture.

Click here to learn more about Silvia Monge.

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