MEET MI SALGADO
A self taught artist, muralist and sculptor born and raised in Milwaukee. Mi's art originated from her understanding her heritage and identity as a Latina in a city that does not really understand or accommodate our hole in its history. We had a conversation with her about her art, heritage and much more!
How does your heritage impact your work?
My heritage is something I'm always exploring.
Growing up, my household followed very few to no traditional Mexican customs and celebrations. It led me to always feeling that I missed out on something really important.
As I began to pursue art I began exploring my heritage more. Some of my work will reference my heritage while incorporating my own story to it. It is like defining my Mexican heritage to suit me as an individual.
How does it feel to be a Latina artist in Milwaukee?
Sometimes invisible, but also proud when I am empowered by other Latin@ artists who encourage me through their words. Especially when I hear they feel represented through my pursuit in the arts.
How do you find inspiration to create?
Finding inspiration is one of those things that I have to actively think of. One moment I know and I can envision what my next project will be. But then I have those dry spells when I have no inspiration. So I often turn to my old work. I look through old sketches and notes. I have a few sketchbooks that I keep through the years to do quick sketches so that helps a lot. Other times I simply stand in front of a blank surface and start prepping it and eventually it leads me to the next project.
How did you develop your art skills, since you are self taught?
I drew a lot as a kid and into my teen years. I put many hours in. I was the teen who drew all the time in school when I had a chance. I think that helped me a lot when I took it seriously as an adult.
As an adult, and when I had time, I sat and did a lot of pen/ink sketching along with colored pencil drawings. That eventually led me to 2018 where I chose to explore more. I started woodburning to sell functional artwork at events. Then I experiment more with other mediums. I believe just jumping into a different medium allowed me to continue to be curious about other forms of art and not to be afraid to try something new.
What's the purpose of your work?
I like to create work that can leave me feeling a bit lighter in life. If I sit back and watch it and if it doesn't connect me with nature, the human spirit, with my culture or the subject I'm developing then I have not done my job. And if I've done it correctly, my hope is for my work to be felt and experienced.
Which art trends inspire your current work?
I'm currently not following any trends. I want my work to represent me as much as possible. Following trends or specific styles because it's what is on demand can be overwhelming and not healthy for me as a creative.
How has your style changed over time?
As I look through my sketches and current work I can see that the subject of nature and parts of my cultural roots has been consistent through the years.
But I can definitely say that my method of applying colors has changed. It has evolved to its truest form.
It is at a point where I envisioned it.
What will people see on the Walker’s Point exhibit?
The exhibit at Walker's Point Center for the Arts is a collection of my work throughout the years since 2018. Some ink work will date a bit back but it's the foundation of how I started my journey.
2018 was an important year. I was filled with all the what ifs, and my biggest one that year was, what if I actually dive into becoming a visual artist and creative?
So I dove in and started my journey as an artist.
Some of the work at Walker's Point Center is work that has never made it outside the walls of my home. I became my own collector.
But this year challenged me by becoming the first time I allowed my most treasured work to leave the safety of my home. Pollinating the Hive left first by making an appearance at HoneyBee Sage, a cafe located on N MLK Dr. It suits the cafe well, but I knew it needed to be seen a little bit up close for a few months. You can physically experience it at Walker's Point Center until the end of June. When you do, you will get a glimpse of how I incorporate colors and how I incorporate my building skills into my work.
Not only is it nature inspired but I also have work that is inspired by the human spirit and cultural parts of my own heritage.
Originally I wanted to follow a theme so it remained consistent, but I felt that I wasn't going to represent myself properly. It felt artificial to appear not "messy" so I chose to showcase it all.
In my short statement I mentioned:
"The selection of my work highlights the various styles I have created through different moments as an artist. Work that I consider as organized moments living in different states of mind and timeliness. They are reflections of culture, the inspiration of flora and fauna and the collection of human temperament. Expressions composed with acrylic, latex, ink and the experimentation of various materials and mediums."
Mi's exhibit will be on at Walker's Point Center for the Arts until June 30th 2023.