Published On: Sat, Sep 15th, 2012

Unsung Souls: 5 Visual Artists You Should Discover This Latino Heritage Month!

As a Latino heavily involved in the NYC Arts Scene, My Capicu Cultural Showcase partner Paposwiggity and I have been incredibly fortunate to work with many visual artists. Street fairs, live painting exhibitions, art shows, poetry showcases and gallery openings are part of our weekly routine. Everyone loves art differently… my love for art started in the late 70’s with Graffitti artists like LEE, PINKY, DONDI… and later in the 80’s with local NYC artists like Crime 79, Chico, STRES, SEE and every one in TATS Cru. Then as I got older I discovered new and different artists like DeLaVega, Botero, Obed Gomez, Bua, Cajigas. You see… I started maturing… and learning more about history so certain imagery matched that in the new artists I kept discovering.

During the last 5 years of the Capicu Showcases… I have become a big fan of the following 5 artists for different reasons. I wanted to share them and their unique work this Latino Heritage Months for art lovers everywhere.

I have a vast list of artists I enjoy… so this post is by no means a complete list of artists whose art I have grown to love,  it is also a list of artists I consider friends and that work tirelessly in community initiatives I am involved with. In my opinion, this is pretty much a list of the Unsung Souls of NYC art, who contrasts each other in style, subject or mediums. Each one of these artists have a great selection of affordable art for sale and are very social media saavy.

This list is in alphabetical order.


Alexander Reynoso – (Spunky Design) Artist, painter, Illustrator, Animator, Graphic & Web Designer.

What I like about Alexander Reynoso’s work is that he is playful with his themes with an almost Peter Pan like quality. He is very diverse in subjects and is an solid choice for commercial graphic / digital design. In addition to that he is one of my favorite artists to watch paint live during a cultural event. Visit his website and connect with him at

“Manzana de Blanca Nieves” by Alexander Reynoso

Derek Santiago (RiceandBeanz) – World Renowned Pin-up / portrait artist repping the full spectrum of beautifully exotic “crayons” in the world’s crayola box.

Extremely unique and prolific artist that fuses futuristic themes with the beauty of vintage / cultural icons. Santiago has an extensive bio working in the advertising industry but has also been the centerpiece creating the mood for many cultural events in NYC like RAZA and Capicu Cultural Showcase. Understanding that Latinos love to express individuality, in addition to his commission work and collections of prints he sells online, he has also launched a line of customized Gelaskins for your Smartphones, Macbooks etc.


Mia Roman (ArtsByMia) – Youth Art instructor, Community & Youth Advocate, Event Promoter, Curator, Photographer, Painter, Poet, Activist, FEMINIST!!!

Mia Roman is ART… simple she is a canvass that continues to evolve into a cultural caciqua of the growing arts community in NYC. Her work ranges from daily inspirational messages to teaching art to children and even raising awareness through her art shows on issues like Femicide. Mia is an amazing soul (and an even better friend) who personally encompasses the same beauty that she unleashes on her work. She works in many mediums and has a cool etsy shop where she sells her work. Visit her main site and find out how you can own some ArtsByMia.

Frida Kahlo in Green by Mia Roman

Olga Ayala (Hecho A Mano) – Artist, Artisan, Teaching Artist, Costume Designer, Prop Designer.

Olga Ayala is one of the NYC Latina artists I know the longest, having worked alongside her at many events in the NYC Cultural Arts Circle. I connected with Olga’s ability to make sculptures that dance in my mind to the sweet sound of Parranda music. My favorite pieces are the ones that remind me of my time in Byamon, Dorado and Loiza Aldea… celebrating 3 Kings Day and partying at our local Fiestas Patronales and watching Vejigantes dance to the music of Puerto Rico. Other popular themes are Orisha and indigenous themed jewelry, Mermaids and lately she has been doing some great pieces of musicians playing Bomba Y Plena. She even immortalized a picture I took of my business partner Paposwiggity and his fiancé in a “Dia de los Muertos style shadow box. You can connect with Olga Ayala and browse her extensive collection of work at – 

Tres Reyes Mago by Olga Ayala

Sienide (Airfficcial) – Self defined…Artquarian / Author (buy the book)

Sienide brings me back to the days of Graffitti… he is a multi-layered Artquarian who celebrates his February 12 birth date with Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. Hailing from the Bronx, NY the strong influence of the hip-hop mecca is apparent in his wide ranging works. His life and art has been inspired by the graffiti, poverty, and tuff love New York is known for. From portraits to cityscapes, Sien often embeds thought-provoking messages in his pieces to stimulate awareness amongst his viewers. My favorite Sienide pieces are the ones that he paints using Coffee and Wine… just like the Johnny Pacheco below. You can visit Sienide at his Airfficial website and see the range of this brother’s work… you will be amazed.

Johnny Pacheco by Sienide
George Torres
The Urban Jibaro

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Unsung Souls: 5 Visual Artists You Should Discover This Latino Heritage Month!