Do you ever wish you could travel back to when you were a little kid? Back to when the world seemed mysterious and adventure was waiting for you at every turn.
While many have let their imagination fade away with age, Lena del Sol has not. There hasn’t been a time when Lena was not obsessed with color, landscapes and storytelling. As a little girl, sitting in the backseat of her parents car, Lena would stare out the window and let her mind wander on family vacations in the Caribbean. The hills, the endless shades of green among the trees and the colorful houses of the islands became the backdrop of her daydreams. Even then, Lena turned her dreams into art and wrote short stories paired with colorful illustrations. Today, Lena’s art tells a story about her life and the people she meets along the way.
While her roots are in Puerto Rico, Lena grew up in New York and Toronto. The stark contrast of the city and island life made her appreciate the Caribbean even more. Walking through the streets of Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic or the Bahamas, Lena points out that it’s almost impossible to ignore the desire for cultural preservation and the importance of stories shared from generation to generation. Lena’s paintings undoubtedly highlight Caribbean culture; however, her art is more about the emotion and the story. Scrolling through her artwork on Instagram, you can quickly see the passion in her work. From young men playing the congas, women dancing on the beach, or a little girl holding a flower, her art tells the story of how vibrant and unexpected life can be.
Lena’s storytelling skills were not lost on me when she shared an unforgettable encounter at a festival in Spanish Harlem. With her photography on display she noticed an elderly woman fixated on a photo. Holding up the photo, the woman asked, “What made you take a picture of this house?” Taking a step closer, Lena recounted visiting Fajardo, Puerto Rico and being captivated by the house the moment she laid eyes on it. The woman then looked at Lena with tears in her eyes and said, “This is my father’s house.” They both stood shocked and amazed, two strangers now connected through a simple photo. The woman’s father had passed many years ago and it had been ages since she had seen her father’s home. Some may call it chance or fate, but the encounter reminded Lena of why she paints—you never know how your art will impact someone's life.
The life of an artist is filled with excitement, unknowns, and lots of hard work, but Lena is up for the challenge. Over the next year Lena will be curating her own exhibit and working towards opening her own mixed use space in Los Angeles where she is currently based. We can’t wait to see what she creates next.
Follow Lena del Sol on Instagram