We asked Dominican American mutli-disciplinary artist and designer Gloria Hernando questions about her life, her art and her future plans.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how long you have been designing and creating art?
My name is Gloria Hernando, artistically known as Latin for Glory. I am a Dominican American multi-disciplinary artist and designer based out of my hometown, Miami. The arts have been a part of my life since I can remember – you can ask my parents about the masterpieces I created on the walls as a child! I grew up practicing ballet, studying classical piano, and spending my free time listening to classic rock and drawing with color pencils. It is of no surprise that I have dedicated my career and life to the pursuit of creativity. I studied architecture at the University of Miami and was awarded a Bachelor of Design from the University of Florida. While studying, my mantra was always “I approach art as an architect, and architecture as an artist”. During this time, I was also experiencing traumatic issues in my personal life that led to the manifestation of the Bull as the emblem of my work. I felt inspired by Taurus, my astrological sign, and discovered how the Bull’s archetype has been so deeply rooted in humanity since ancient times. From there my artistic name was born, which is the literal translation of Gloria, the Latin word for glory.
After working as a professional interior designer and project manager for many years – all while developing my art on the side, I took the leap and became a full-time independent artist. In 2017 I opened my first studio, and soon after presented my first solo exhibition, “Seven Fires”, followed by “Let There Be Light” in the Miami Design District. In 2020, I had the opportunity to work on a full-range interior design project on my own, where I merged both design and art with the new Latin for Glory Design Studio. I am currently in the process of developing the upcoming series “Terra Mater”, which is centered around the element of earth as a source of healing, transformation, and growth. Whether working on a commissioned work of art, or creating space plans for a residential home, I am always in search of the magic in life.
How would you describe your art to people?
The Latin for Glory art is powerful, heavy in symbolism, and connected to the essence of the human spirit and psyche. Every detail including the colors, compositions, and motifs holds a deeper meaning beyond what the eye can see. The emblem of my art and brand is the archetype Bull, a universal representation of strength and glory. I depict it from a unique point of view, drawing from various sources of inspiration with the hope of awakening the Bull within others. I integrate aspects of history, culture, and transpersonal psychology into the concepts. Over the recent years, I have described my work as the embodiment of a slow burning fire – illuminating, evolving, and transforming anything it touches. Overall, my work is stylistically diverse, mystic, and experimental in medium.
What would you say is the most challenging aspect of your artistic process when you begin a new piece of art?
The most challenging aspect is honing into and focusing on one piece at a time. I have so many ideas that I want to convey into works of art – but at the moment I am a one-woman show with limited time! Often, I begin to work on one piece, and as I develop it, I am struck with a lightning bolt of ideas and inspiration for other pieces. This makes the development process quite overwhelming, yet exciting. As a result, I always have many sketchbooks around me (including mini ones in my purses) to help document the ideas as they come up and flow back into the project at hand.
Have you presented at or had your art featured in note-worthy galleries or exhibits? If so, do you have a memorable experience?
My most recent art showcases “Let There Be Light” and “Seven Fires” were both solo exhibitions presented in the heart of the Miami Design District. I had the opportunity to curate my own gallery spaces, as well as work in an open studio format accessible to the public. During the month-long “pop-ups” I was able to meet so many interesting people and collectors, present myself as an independent artist, and develop new art within inspiring spaces. Both exhibitions were memorable and marked important milestones in my career.
As an artist and as a Latina woman, what is your biggest motivation?
The biggest drive behind my work is to spark a flame within others, whether that be through inspiration, healing, or empowerment. I want to connect with viewers on a deeper, more spiritual, and psychological level in a way that awakens the Bull within them. As a woman, I aim to elevate the feminine essence in what has been a male-dominant archetype for centuries. The Bull has always been perceived as a masculine symbol yet has been associated with a plethora of feminine qualities since ancient human civilization. I highlight this intrinsic quality in art as a reflection of a much-needed energetic balance in society. I have lived through many difficulties in my personal life, and strive to uplift others and guide them into the light through art.
How has your art evolved over the years?
My art has evolved extensively over the years, mostly in the complexity of the subject matters and scale of the pieces. I spent most of my early years creating small to medium color pencil drawings that explored the themes of beauty and passion. Over the years, the concept in my work expanded into the deep layers of the spirit and psyche. As I moved through my own personal challenges, I began to study human behavior in connection to ancient symbolism as a means of understanding life. I now navigate both the dark and light in life, often looking into the themes of trauma and death that lead to growth and rebirth. Stylistically, my work has become more expressive whereas in the past I would draw extremely detailed and “tight”. This process parallels my journey of expansion and liberating myself from limiting ideals while I transform into the woman I was always meant to be.
Do you have a piece of art that is your favorite or that you enjoyed the most while creating?
Although very cliché, I feel that all my pieces are my favorite! They each individually capture an essence of my spirit and personal evolution. I do however have two pieces that mark significant milestones. “Eastern Expressions” is the piece that began my entire journey with the Bull. I created this color pencil drawing on paper during an exceedingly difficult time in life. The process of making this piece, along with the others in the “Running of the Bulls” series, inspired the inner strength and hope to push through. “Eastern Expressions” propelled me into discovering my artistic identity and the Latin for Glory brand. The other piece that carries a lot of significance is “Ignis”, a large-scale color pencil drawing that I began during a low point in my design career and completed as an independent full-time artist. During the span of several months developing this piece, I quit my unfulfilling job, opened the Latin for Glory studio in the Design District, and presented my first solo show, “Seven Fires”. I was a completely different woman before and after “Ignis”.
Do you have a favorite artist, genre or time period of art? Growing up, realizing your love for creating, was there anyone that had a positive influence on your dream of becoming an artist, business owner or both?
I am passionate about history and understanding the evolution of cultures, symbols, and motifs. The time period that has always sparked my greatest interest is Ancient Greek art and architecture. The Bull was heavily present in archaeological findings and represented exactly what I aim to convey – the human connection with the natural elements and the divine. I had the opportunity to see the Winged Victory of Samothrace, known as Nike, in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Peering up at the drapery, pronounced forward movement, and soaring wings of that sculpture made the world stop for a moment. My love for Ancient Greek culture will be coming into play with my new ceramics body of work.
Amongst my many favorite artists is the late Spanish painter, Juan Genoves. I could spend hours admiring his pieces from near and far. He depicted movements of human caravans through thick paint and object layering. His work is absolutely fascinating in person! On a career level, my dear friend Marquis Lewis, artistically known as Retna, has been a great source of inspiration. I grew up visiting Art Basel and Art Miami, where I would seek out his large-scale pieces and stare at the glimmering mica scripts. Getting to know him over the years has really brought my interest in pursuing an artistic career full circle. He is fearless in all areas of his life, embodies power through his art, and is passionate about supporting artists.
What is a typical day like for you? Do you have a studio in-home and outside of your home? Do you work a typical 9-5 day or do you let the momentum of the day set the tone for your work day?
My schedule varies day to day depending on whether I have tight deadlines for commissioned pieces, construction job site visits, or upcoming exhibitions to set up. I have grown to love the diverse responsibilities working as both an artist and interior design – keeps things interesting! However, a few things do remain routine. I treasure my mornings, and dedicate myself first to gratitude journaling, stretching, and getting plenty of hydration with water or juices. I work best in the late mornings and prioritize the head heavy tasks such as administration related emails, project proposals, and responding emails/interviews during this time. From there I let myself flow into what feels best. I absolutely hate rushing through the creative process. As a Taurus, my process tends to be slow, thoughtful, and deliberate. Evenings are normally dedicated to moving my body and relieving stress – whether that includes working out, doing yoga, or enjoying a glass of wine around town. I am currently working from my home-studio but will be moving into a new studio space in the near future, where I can develop all the large-scale pieces for “Terra Mater ” and grow the Latin for Glory team.
I am sure every time someone sees your art for the first time, they can’t help but “oooohhhhh and ahhhhhhh” and admire your work. Do you recall any memorable responses that people have given you about your work?
There have been so many memorable responses regarding my art that it makes it difficult to choose one. However, the conversations I had with first time viewers during the “Seven Fires” exhibition in the Miami Design District were very moving. “Seven Fires” told the story of experiencing trauma and how our inner fire guides us through the darkness and into the light. In sharing my personal experiences, particularly that of divorce and loss, I was able to connect with others and listen to their own challenges, some even being brought to tears. The engagement with the public was emotional, revealing, and magical. It was powerful to see how art could engage on such a personal, and cathartic level between strangers. The responses confirmed that I truly want to help others through my work.
Are there any new things on the horizon for Latin For Glory?
So many new things on the horizon! Within the last year, I have completely revolutionized my artistic direction. I am currently developing the new body of work “Terra Mater ” which is Latin for Mother Earth. This series is a complete departure of previous work in concept, scale, and medium. It is my response to all the chaos brewing in modern times, and explores the themes of healing, growth, and transformation. Since January 2021, I have been learning and practicing with ceramics and oil paint – both new mediums that have changed my entire approach. In the future, you can expect to see sculptural work, large paintings, conceptual art installations, and even home decor. Last year, I was also presented with the opportunity to work as an interior designer on a large residential home. Since then, I have grown dramatically and currently have three active projects. These projects all merge art and design, using space as the canvas to communicate the Latin for Glory vision. I cannot wait to share the final designs with everyone!
Lastly, how can those interested in your art get in touch with you?
I am accessible through Instagram @latinforglory and @latinforglorydesignstudio, my website www.latinforglory.com or directly via email email@example.com. You can also sign up to my newsletters to have prioritized access to all the updates on upcoming shows, art releases, and more!
Sheena L.A. is a marketing professional and owner of a boutique content house, and co-founder of a video production company based in Florida.