Jersey City Arts


Maria De Los Angeles, a Mexican-born artist, has gone through countless hardships to make it to the point where she is now. Immigrating to California in 2000, she discovered art at an early age. Her journey and obstacles venturing from Mexico to the United States are expressed through her artwork. In an article by The Press Democrat, De Los Angeles stated, “my work was dramatic and dark and there was a lot of anger in it, I’m sure. Your work is always reflecting your mental state and what you’ve been through.”

Credit: The Press Democrat (John Burgess)


One of these obstacles occurred during her time at Pratt Institute. While amassing paintings and prints to showcase at a Yale University’s graduate admissions interview, a tragedy transpired. A fire occurred in the schools studio, destroying a vast amount of the artwork. The fire ended up burning through two floors of the institutes building, causing minor injuries to three people. A professor at the institute, Ms. Mikolon said to New York Times in regard to the fire, “I’m here to tell my students that even though all the work no longer exist, all the time, and the effort, and what they learned making the works still exist, and nothing, not even a fire, can take that away.” Despite these setbacks De Los Angeles was able to create new work, enough to showcase them to Yale and getting into the University’s graduate program.

Credit: The New York Times (Emilyann Cummings)


Through the unfortunate death of a teenager in Sonoma County, California, De Los Angeles helped the community by finding the One City Arts program which allows underprivileged children to attend an art program held by artist at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. Through this experience, De Los Angeles has decided to focus on becoming an art teacher to help teach the importance of art and its sense of expression. De Los Angeles currently has a Residency at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City.

Credit: The Press Democrat (Christopher Chung)


Authors Take: Maria De Los Angeles’ life story basically represents what the idea of the American dream is. Her story of immigrating to the United States from Mexico when she was very young and still succeeding is amazing. De Los Angeles gives the viewers of her art a small taste of her young life and her Mexican heritage. Her different art pieces such as Between Worlds, Border, Crossing the Landscape, and Family Stories, all compliment each other in telling a story of the challenges that most immigrants face coming to the United States. While this is by no means the definite meaning of the painting, it seems like Crossing the Landscape represents the challenges many immigrants unfortunately face trying to escape violence. Sadly, many Americans do not understand that.

Official Maria De Los Angeles Website


Another painting titled, Self-Portrait, shows a young person using crayons drawing soldiers and different landscapes. This person could be Maria De Los Angeles, drawing and coloring when she was younger. On the contrary, it could symbolize what De Los Angeles wanted her younger life to be. She stated in an article in the Press Democrat that she didn’t have crayons or coloring books when she was younger, using only pencils to draw on lined paper. Perhaps this painting does not even represent De Los Angeles, but symbolizes a young artist like she once was, just beginning their journey.

Credit: Official Maria De Los Angeles Website
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