"We Call Her María" Collection

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"We Call Her María" Collection

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The “We Call Her María” collection is a special edition postcard series that puts water vulnerability on the island into perspective and reinvests proceeds into the Clean Water Project. This three-part series with illustrations of post-maria life in Puerto Rico will be completed by the end of 2018.

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Interview with Illustrator

Marya ‘Moon’ Velazquez

Tell us about yourself. Where do you come from and what sort of art is your specialty?

My name is Marya ‘Moon’ Velazquez. Art is my life. Life is my art. Art became my life around the age of 5, and has been in my genes for generations. My father inspired me to draw; his passion was instilled by his father, (my grandfather). I love inspiring others and creating new works of art using all sorts of media. I dabble in acrylic painting, wood burning art, crocheting, and face painting. I also incorporate my artwork on to shirts, hoodies and sweats. My stomping grounds have been in Waterbury, CT but I was born and partially raised in Chicago, IL. My roots are from Puerto Rico. I love everything about my island. I love that I can incorporate my adoration for Puerto Rico with my passion for art.

What is this project about?

This project is about illuminating that there is a lack of clean water in Puerto Rico. That this precious substance is hard to find. It is also about getting life saving filters to families. Hurricane Maria that left basically everyone on the island without access to clean water. All proceeds from sales of these postcards will go toward getting life saving filters into households across Puerto Rico. We have already distributed over 30,000 filters and impacted nearly 90,000 people. We will not stop until every home that is struggling to get clean water has a filter.  We have a long way to go, especially with all the austerity measures that are making it difficult to make a living.

Why was it important for you to be involved?

When the storm hit, I was devastated. I have so many family members on the island and so do the majority of the people I know. I felt helpless to not be able to help. So when I was approached with this idea of creating art to help towards the cause, my soul lit up and I quickly started creating. I think it’s a cool way to practice activism too, or simply to put a magnet on it and add  image your fridge. It’s a real postcard! Puerto Rico is my homeland and it will always be in my heart.

What was your process in creating each design? Why did choose these images?

The concept was to reflect the need of an absent water supply. I was stumped for a while thinking to myself how can I capture the need? I wanted to capture the realism behind the issue and not just fabricate what I think the problem is- so I started googling real photos from newspapers and I picked the ones that screamed to my soul the most and began the sketching process.

How was it working with Puerto Ricans in Action?

It was a pleasure working with Puerto Ricans in Action, just wish I could work with them in person versus miles away! They gave me a chance to use my art for activism and I love them for it. Really, they are doing great work in Los Angeles.

What was your stylistic input on the designs? Where do we see Marya’s flare?

I stylistic leaned toward realism: my goal was to stay as true to the photos as possible. I would describe my flare as a mix of pop art with some realism #sazon. You can find more of my work on Instagram @honey_moon216

Purchase the postcards at www.puertoricansinaction.com Puerto Ricans in Action’s mission is to ensure the vibrant future of the Puerto Rican people by strengthening Puerto Rican identity, communities, and connection with Puerto Rico. Our goals are to be the central organizer for the Puerto Rican community in Los Angeles and to ensure everyone on the island has access to clean drinking water.