At the beginning of this summer, artist Tatiana Suarez moved back to her native city of Miami from Brooklyn, where she and her husband resided for four and half years.
Prior to her big move back to the Sunshine State, Suarez was already in talks with the Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency to participate in the city's downtown mural project.
She accepted and is now in the midst of painting seven large-scale mermaids with colorful, wavy hair across a wall located at 2020 Harrison Street.
Her aquatic dream-like mural is the 10th addition in the city's mural series and will be unveiled during Hollywood's monthly artwalk on Saturday, August 17, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., when Suarez will add finishing touches for the public to see.
When asked why mermaids were the subject for the wall, the answer was simple.
"I always paint women," Suarez says. "My South Florida walls are heavily influenced by the ocean, with neon and South Beach-y color palettes."
Among local street artists, Suarez is known as Tati, a nickname she took several years ago while painting walls during Art Basel. But when it comes to her gallery work, she goes by her full first name.
Suarez said creating wall-sized paintings while working outdoors can be a bit nerve racking.
"One week I was painting a mural, and it started raining so I had to sit the car for an hour," she says. "Every time I start a mural I get anxious because I am used to working in my studio where no one is watching. Climbing up and down ladders and having people watching your process is something you don't always want them to see."
Her body of work, mostly stunning gallery portraits of women, or "characters' as she refers to them, showcase Suarez' unique style. She paints each character with large, doe-size eyes that trap onlookers with a mesmerizing gaze. These soulful gazes are so intense that each painting seems animated -- an aspect that is often difficult to capture -- but Suarez masters.
In addition to dramatic, stylized eyes her paintings involve a deep connection to nature that Suarez attributes to the legends and folklore she grew up reading. Her mother is Brazilian and her father is from El Salvador. Symbols such as humming birds, creepy insects and tropical plants native to the Amazon rainforest are seen throughout her work.
"I'm still discovering where my art is going. Lately my work has been influenced by the culture of my parents' native countries, the names of the indigenous people from the rainforest and the Amazon," she says.
For more information, visit www.tatisuarez.com.