Local Latino/a Artist

of the Month

- Ana Marina Sanchez-

Ana Marina is a jewelry artisan currently based in Denver, CO. She was born and raised in Mexico City and migrated to Los Angeles, CA when she was fifteen years old. Ana Marina’s early journey as an immigrant living in the U.S. posed the opportunity for self-exploration and discovery that allowed her to shape her identity as a Mexican woman who uses her passion for art, history, and community to elevate her cultural heritage through her work and artisan jewelry.

Ana Marina's love for art began at an early age. Ana Marina showed a special interest in jewelry. Specifically, hand-crafted jewelry. Ana Marina remembers staring at her abuela when she would get ready for a special occasion and her abuela looking beautiful doing her hair, putting on her make up, and meticulously combining every color of her outfit. But Ana’s favorite part was when she opened up her treasure box to choose the jewelry she would wear. As her abuela put on her jewelry, her whole outfit came to life. The jewelry added sparkle to her natural beauty and activated something in her. For Ana Marina, the transformation was felt more than seen as she saw her abuela radiate everywhere she went. Without knowing it at the time, these pivotal memories gave birth to a great dream.

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Ana Marina has a B.A. in History and a minor in Latin American Studies and

Spanish. These studies ultimately influenced her artistic work as a jewelry

designer and maker. Later, in 2017, Ana Marina decided to return to academic  life but this time studying metal smithing, the ancient art of handcrafted metal jewelry. She became a trained silversmith and jewelry designer and launched her business, Ana Marina Studio. Ana Marina continues to work on expanding her techniques and her knowledge of jewelry making, designing, gemstones, and business sales. (Artist statement below.)

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Fall in Love jewelry collection made with 14k gold plated brass and sterling silver.

Tell us a bit about being a Latina artist or being part of the Latino artist community.

Being a Latina artist and small business in the Latino community means you have to rely a lot on your community. It means you have to collaborate with other artists in order to grow and bring exposure to the work you do. It means you have to bring something of value to others through your work and service to your community. It means creating strong ties in order to uplift each other as artists, businesses, and members of the same community. It means you have to knock on many doors and not get discouraged when they don't open. You have to work harder than others to believe in your talent, to make a livable wage, to bring visibility to your work, and to honor your value and worth. 

 

Being a Latina artist also means that you took a big step to follow your passion and no matter how hard you have to work, the results will be fruitful if you work on yourself and craft constantly. Being a Latina artist means you are channeling your inspiration and you have the power of making others feel connected with your work. It means you can create magic!

How do you incorporate your heritage, identity, &/or culture into your work & why?

My heritage is a big part of my work because it is a never-ending source of inspiration. I am proud of my history and background. Therefore, with my pieces, I intend to honor and celebrate my heritage. As an immigrant woman from Mexico, I hope my work bridges a connection to those who collect my pieces with their roots, their essence, and heritage. When I craft my pieces, I think about those who will wear them and how I want them to feel represented, celebrated, beautiful, and empowered when wearing Ana Marina Jewelry. 

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Mexican dress earrings

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Evil Eye Hearts: Hand-painted  ivory acrylic earrings made to help you fuel positive energy into your life. 

The women who support and collect my pieces fuel me with creativity and energy to continue crafting unique jewelry. 

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Viva la vida red ruby acrylic earrings inspired by Frida Kahlo and made to fuel your passion in life. 

Address the use of color in your work however you want. For example: Why do you use the metals and stone colors you use for your art? What are you trying to communicate, or what impression are you trying to make?

I really like working with metal because it allows me to create various forms, textures, and designs. I love working with silver and brass because they are permissive metals that can be transformed from something flat into a multidimensional piece of art. I use a lot of gemstones to embellish my designs and to add color to my pieces. But, many times, the stones become the centerpiece that inspires the metal design around it. I like sourcing some of my stones from Mexico and supporting the lapidary workers that craft them. Some of these gemstones include jade, obsidian, Mexican opal, garnet, and turquoise. The color of the stones creates a mood for the piece that allows for a story to be told and brings the piece to life.

Tell us about who or what inspires your designs?

My heritage is a big source of inspiration for creating my designs. But those who collect my pieces, the majority of them women, are also a big inspiration for me. Seeing someone's face light up with happiness because they saw a piece of jewelry they love is the biggest reward. It gives me strength and fuels my energy to go back to my studio and continue to execute my vision. It brings value to the work I do and makes me believe that art is a powerful force that brings people together. I admire all the women who collect my pieces and I am grateful for their support and for creating this magical exchange with me.

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Anatomic heart earrings honoring your path in life. 

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Gold skull earrings.

"I use my artwork to celebrate my cultural heritage and to adorn you with artisan crafted jewelry that elevates your mood and makes your feel beautiful and empowered."

- Ana Marina Sanchez

Artist Statement:

I began creating jewelry seven years ago. I am a silversmith and a jewelry designer. As a Mexican immigrant living in the U.S., I use my artwork to elevate and celebrate my cultural heritage. It’s important for me to transmit my passion for my history through my work because through it I intend to preserve the grandiose characteristics that identify Mexican design and Latin American art. Through my work I also intend to adorn those who wear my pieces with meaning and elegance. My inspiration to create statement pieces comes from the legacy of ancient cultures such as Aztec and Mayan that used jewelry as a form of adornment as well as folklore that is imbedded in our ways of celebrating life.

My main medium is sterling silver base metals. Metal is a very permissive material that allows me to convert my ideas into something solid; There is no limit. I can choose to transform a flat sheet of metal into a simple pair of earrings by adding form and texture or I can make an intricate sculptural piece. The process requires meditation and awareness of every step before moving forward. It requires patience. Regardless of what I choose the finished piece to be, the real magic is in transforming a raw piece of metal into a wearable piece of art. I constantly explore different materials and techniques that allow me to experience and appreciate the process of this transformative art. Recently I began to incorporate alternative jewelry materials for my work such as wood and acrylic. I like incorporating alternative materials as they allow me to explore different techniques and expand my artistic knowledge and the variation of my work.

Through my work, I attempt to elevate Mexican history, design, and folklore. In a time when massed produced jewelry is readily available to the public, it is important to me to continue the tradition of Mexican jewelry artisans that craft every piece using ancient techniques and historical reference to give value to jewelry as a form of adornment. In the same way, I use modern techniques such as laser cutting and etching to produce accessible work that has added value because of the designs. I strive to add a spark of beauty to those who wear my pieces, to add meaning and singularity to their look, and to inspire other to transform and elevate their look like my abuela did when wearing her precious jewels.

All images are the property of Ana Marina Sanchez.

Some content may have been edited for clarity.