As part of our Caribbean-inspired Spring/Summer collection, we were thrilled to collaborate with Puerto Rican born and Dallas based artist, Juan Alberto Negroni. We spoke to him about how Puerto Rico (and other things!) inspire his work.
How did you come up with your designs for this collaboration? Inspiration, process, any unique techniques that you used?
When I was contacted by Tea Collection I had been working with floral and motifs for a while. Probably for the past 6 years. When I moved from Puerto Rico to Dallas my work started shifting towards nature. Especially towards Puerto Rico’s exuberant humidity and its effects on nature. I wanted to talk about natures qualities and how dependent we are on it. How our lives are influenced by it and how nature behaves in a place like Puerto Rico where we you are so closely surrounded by the ocean and at the same time, we have a rain forest like El Yunque.
What were some of your earliest art creations growing up?
I am not sure…I remember seeing my big brother drawing robots and pirate ships and thinking how cool he was. I guess I started imitating him. Then it wasn’t until third grade in my science class where my teacher asked the group if there was someone who could draw a bee on the blackboard for the next lesson. I raised my hand even though I was not sure I could do it. But for the teachers, the group, and my surprise, it came out pretty good. I remember thinking; “Wow I can do this!”
It sounds like family is very important to you, can you share how they have impacted or influenced your work?
My family is the center of my life. My grandparents bought me my first drawing pad and coloring pencils. My mom drove me to every free art class she could. My dad always bragged about how good he thought I was. My siblings went to every exhibition, and they still do. They repost everything I do on their social media.
Sometimes as creative people we do things too personal, or too conceptual or things that they might not relate to. Still, they have always tried their best to understand me and my practice. Therefore, they are always my first viewers, my first audience before I put my work out there. My wife is my best critic. She always has the best recommendations, and she is super honest. She has a great eye…
How do you celebrate your Puerto Rican heritage while living in Texas?
By keeping my work about it. My work will always have something to do with Puerto Rico. Either from what it was, what it is or what I think it will be.
What’s your favorite Puerto Rican dish to cook or to eat when you were a kid?
Pork shoulder roast with rice and pigeon peas.
Shop Juan Negroni’s exclusive artist collaboration styles here!