In the world that we live in now, we don’t really have time to be alone with ourselves. We don’t have time to process everything that happens to us. We don’t have time to really reflect the basic things we need to know to exist.
– Marilyn Rondon
Instagram has created a shift in the art world, turning a standard photo album into each user’s own personally curated gallery. Sure, it’s the modern day scrap book if you will, but it has also allowed for people to present their own personal creations and transformations in a place to gain free exposure as a platform to discover new trends, bands, events and artists. Instagram is how I found Miami based artist Marilyn Rondon three and half years ago. Widely known in the insta-community as “Caliente Chica,” Rondon has posted her world on Instagram. From her art to how she has relieved herself of stress, this Venezuelan bombshell has exposed her full, raw self to the world in an attempt to introduce a life full of self-love, creativity and a little bit of adventure.
Rondon grew up in Miami. Drawing and writing as an adolescent, she attended an art high school where she was able to thrive in her creations as well as learn graphic design. Much of her studies have helped craft her practice and perfect it within a variety of mediums. When I first encountered her works, I was struck by her use of bold colors, thick black lines and the most striking facial features. Additionally, in many of her works, the text embedded within looks as if it has been digitally created but no, they aren’t created on a computer but by hand. Rondon’s paintings of ladies have allowed her to play within a field of color while celebrating female power, a metaphor for celebrating her own vibrancy, power, and strength. Every brushstroke, every detail illuminates her walls and canvases and brightens up every space they encounter.
After some time, she fell off of Instagram for about nine months. Dealing with enormous stresses, Rondon found herself trying to better her physical being as well as explore a new dimension to her work: zines.
While at the Los Angeles Book Art Fair some years ago, Rondon discovered that her abusive boyfriend was cheating on her. She immediately flew home, went to the apartment they shared, spray painted her screams and frustrations on the walls and photographed it. She felt like she needed to do something productive with these images and with her anger. The photographic evidence of her response revealed phrases like ” You’re not Drake” and “you did this to yourself you pathetic scumbag.” She decided to make a zine to capture what mental-illness and abuse can do to a person. Her zine, entitled “You’re not Drake,” raises awareness about domestic violence and losing one’s own independence to another. She was crippled from her ex-boyfriend’s attacks and she struggled to relieve herself of that crisis. Her zine was meant to turn into a book, which is still in the works, called “Welcome Home Mi Amor” which illustrates Rondon hitting rock bottom while battling substance abuse. She was interested in raising her voice to speak up about these issues and how while she was able to overcome them, she wanted to reach out to those who need that extra help without public shame. Rondon enjoyed making this zine and felt that she turned a challenging time in her life into something real and personal, something she wanted to continue to explore. From catalog-like zines of her color studies to her “selfie zines” to her “dat ass zine,” Rondon has reformulated her photographic diary into public zines capturing an array of experiences and ideas which she encounters daily.
Speaking of daily encounters, we can’t forget about her project “Latina looking for a thug to make a baby with.” She made a craigslist ad, seeking her so called “prince charming”. The ad was up for 17 hours and she received over a hundred responses. From her array of vulgar responses, she created and installation, using the space as her “inbox” and showing everything (and I mean everything) she received. All of the ephemera used in the space was later used to create her “Latina Seeks Thug Zine.”
Rondon has posted many photos of herself working out. After ending things with her abusive ex-boyfriend, Rondon needed to find a way to release the tension and steam she was fostering. She quit all of her vices and decided to begin practicing a healthy lifestyle. Bikram yoga and boxing became the best ways for her to let loose and feel whole again. The only challenge she finds now is taking a day off from her workout regimens. Exercising combined with creating art has helped Rondon grow as an artist in mind and body. Her own experiences have become the very fuel to feed her fire and have allowed her to expand on her own practices. Feeding that fire has lead to one of her current projects, a zine called “Coming Clean.” While this zine also reflects a challenging time in Rondon’s life, it encourages people to use art and exercise as an alternative to anti-depressants. She has created an outlet illustrating specific workouts, meal plans for a healthier diet and a dope playlist that Rondon likes to listen to when she runs. She was able to completely change her life around and has elevated herself from rock bottom through her art and exercise.
Through Rondon’s challenges, she has used her art to help her, to guide her, through tough situations. Turning her mind and body into an aggressive workout regimen and transforming that power into explosive creations has helped Rondon grow as an artist and a person. While her Instagram account has been featuring her in some cool clothes and various photoshoots, I am stoked for her viewers to be graced with photos of her paintings and upcoming zines. Be sure to check out her website and Instagram for her exciting happenings!