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Diana "Didi" Contreras is known around Miami for painting intoxicatingly vibrant portraits of diverse women and for unapologetically depicting feminine symbols with strength and confidence. Her three interwoven sirens were the faces of the Miami Book Fair and her sassy portraits can be found from Orlando to New York to Iowa.
For Miami Art Week 2015, Didi was everywhere. She unveiled an inaugural mural commissioned by Project Beauty and collaborated with New York City's Miss Zukie for the Urban Palette Project. For those looking to catch Didi's ongoing work, hit up the Wynwood Yard where she's a resident artist. She's killing it and promises to keep up her momentum. "I love making art," she exclaims, "so whether you like me or not, I'm not going to stop."
I taught myself how to spray paint - the splash, the drips - it all affected my style.
Training and background: "I studied classical painting at FIU and started off with oil on canvas, very traditional. I was influenced by Wynwood and started doing walls. I taught myself how to spray paint - the splash, the drips - it all affected my style."
On her painting playlist: "It depends. Recently it was Sade; I like to listen to relaxing music so I don't get distracted, especially when there is a crowd watching."
On how she feels about Art Basel and Miami Art Week: "I've been going to Art Miami since I was 14 and I love it. Now that Basel is here and the whole world is looking at Miami, it pushes me to be better. To me, it is great. All the people who are important in the art world are here. You can showcase your best work and you have a whole year to prep."
On how social media shaped her career: "Social media is where it started for me. I get most of my gigs through Instagram (@DidiRok). It is the most updated portfolio of my work. I can connect with other artists. I can look up artists and speak to them there. I'm very shy and with social media, people talk and share for you– it's given me my art career."
On her truest Miami love: "I love Miami's food! I love Latin food and you can get it all here."
On her style indulgence: "I love dresses. I collect them, kind of like artwork. I have a lot."
It was illegal, but people loved it. So they gave me the full wall to curate other female murals.
On the growing presence of female street artists: "It is such a good thing to give women a spotlight because it gives women who see it the courage to take the next step. To start painting again or sketching or whatever that step might be. When I started, I didn't know where to find people like me and now there is a community. The more the merrier!"
On her passion project: "A wall that I curate in Little Havana called the Goodwall, with 5x5 sections for artists to paint on. I invite all the artists I meet to come by and paint. My goal is fill it up. A lot of artists have used it as their first piece, alongside some famous names like Space Invader."
On her inspiration: "It's really how I feel, my current emotions. One time a friend was telling me a group of guys were not allowing her to paint and I got pissed. So we found a wall and I painted a gun shooting flowers, somewhat reflecting how women can get angry but kill em' with kindness. It was illegal, but people loved it. So they gave me the full wall to curate other female murals."