How This Latinx Artist Is Celebrating Her Culture With Bold and Bright Designs
When I think of Latinidad and celebrating my heritage, I think of bright colors and bold designs. Rocking a red lip and brightly colored monochrome outfit always makes me feel closer to home — and that's a feeling I got even more strongly when I moved to the United States.
Despite coming from Puerto Rico, which is an American territory, the culture shock can be just that — a shock. At first when I went to school in Upstate New York, I tried to blend in by wearing dark hoodies and black leggings. But now as I realize that there is a strength in being a proud and loud Latinx, I can't stop myself. And I know that Camila Rosa, a Brazilian artist and illustrator based in São Paulo, Brazil, feels the exact same way.
To celebrate Latinx Heritage Month in September, Rosa designed an exclusive tee in collaboration with Old Navy and Project We, which provides vibrant and diverse artists with a space to gain visibility and the equity they deserve. After living in NYC for a year and establishing herself back in Brazil, she has dedicated her work to highlighting social issues and subjects from an alternative perspective. This time, it's the diversity and mysticism of the Latinx community — especially Latinx women — that inspired her latest design.
"I'm a Latina illustrator and I don't have to hide where I'm from," she tells POPSUGAR, discussing how she approached her exclusive tee design with Old Navy, which features a colorful image of two women holding up a flame. "I can have my own style. I can show the reality here, the different faces of women here." And as for the meaning of the tee, she told us that the design represents "the strength with which we fight for what we believe, [which] is one of our greatest powers." The fire in the hands of women is a direct representation of how she sees Latinx women.
"It's important that we recognize that Latinx people exist and need to be respected. It's a celebration of our heritage, our family, our roots," she says, expressing how she's going into Latinx Heritage Month this year.
While collaborating with Rosa, Project We is donating $500,000 to its partner Fifteen Percent Pledge in honor of the series.
POPSUGAR: Where are you from, what is your heritage, and where do you live now?
Camila Rose: I'm Camila Rosa, an illustrator and visual artist born and raised in Joinville, a small city in southern Brazil. [I've been] based in São Paulo since 2018. I started as an artist in 2010 through a female street-art collective and became a freelance illustrator six years later when I lived in NYC for a year. Since then, I've been working with many brands, organizations, magazines, galleries, etc., showing my work around the world.
PS: What do you love about your Latinx community?
CR: I love the way we treat each other, with passion and love. The Latinx people are very kind, happy, and open to each other. We like to celebrate everything and get together for no special reason, and I think this is amazing! Also, I admire how resilient we are, especially women. Our land is blessed with nature and many beautiful places and even with our structural problems, we fight for a better future. We don't give up. We don't have the option to give up.
PS: Can you describe your artistic style? What do you love to create?
CR: I consider my artistic style as bold, colorful, and with a strong message. It's the way I like to present myself to the world. And I love to draw women! I think it's very important to illustrate different types of women from a Latinx and alternative culture, which is my universe.
PS: What message do you hope your art conveys?
CR: I hope that my art can convey the strength and diversity of Latin American women and that it can serve as a support for communities and people who seek a form of liberation and social transformation in art.
PS: What does it mean to you to collaborate with Old Navy?
CR: It means a lot! Being recognized by a brand with the greatness of Old Navy is super important to me, mainly because it will make my work reach different places and audiences. Being part of a project for one of the biggest retail brands in the United States is certainly another important step in my career, and I am very happy to have been chosen for this, even more for such a cool project.
PS: Can you explain what you were thinking about when you created this design?
CR: The idea was to show a little of the strength and mysticism that crosses Brazil and Latin America. We are a people with a vibrant culture and a huge diversity of beliefs, celebrations, and people. To symbolize all this, I chose to illustrate two Latinx women carrying a flame in their hands, which is a way of showing this strength. I also used some flowers, stars, and other details that refer to fabrics and textures very common in clothing and other Latin American objects.
PS: How do you hope Latinx people feel when wearing this tee?
CR: I hope they feel represented by it and feel proud of who they are. I also hope that non-Latin people enjoy this opportunity to know more about our culture, our history, and our differences.
PS: How do you connect with other Latinx communities around the world?
CR: I believe that we have a lot of similarities, and it's amazing to be able to see that by getting to know other cultures, visiting other Latin American countries, experiencing the cuisine of each place, listening to music, etc. I always try to know more about each neighboring country, and social networks help me a lot in that. I love to connect with other Latin American artists and exchange ideas, sometimes do some projects together, and strengthen ties. I think it's important for us to support each other.
Ps: How are you advocating for Latinx representation in places like the US?
CR: I believe that the fact that my work has been on the US market for a few years is already a way of defending a space that is also ours. I strongly believe in the importance of diversity in the illustration/art market, especially in the American and European markets, which are still not very diverse spaces. Besides, I think that talking about our origin, about our history, and exposing this reality to the world is very important and crucial for other countries, like the USA, for example, to realize that we exist and that we will occupy places that before were not intended for us.