Hola! Welcome to my portfolio. I prefer to go by my middle name, Marina. I was born and raised in various parts of Southern California of mixed Chicana and Honduran heritage. My youth was spent in Echo Park, Hollywood, West Covina, and Corona/Riverside. As an adult, I have lived in Berkeley, Oakland, New York City (Washington Heights), Washington, DC/Maryland, Austin, Texas, West LA/Santa Monica, and I am currently residing in Monterey Park. My journey in art as in life has been anything but linear, though in retrospect my path has been full of serendipity and grace. Though my adult life began in academia, that was not a given for me for a few reasons. First, the fact I made it to adulthood was a miracle. As a kid, I survived malignant neuroblastoma at 4 years old. As unusual as it sounds, my time as an inpatient at CHLA was actually a cherished memory because of my time in the playroom making art (and of course the angels who work in pediatrics).
I received my BA in Cultural Anthropology from UC Berkeley and my Masters of Public Health from Columbia University. I started my career path as a tutor and a research assistant- I interned & worked in many research libraries along the journey including MALDEF, California Indian Library Collections, The Prevention Research Center (PRC) . I have always had a calling to acknowledge history and to tell people's unique life stories as well as to heal the world. My life dream was to be a doctor, but in college I recognized that life was not for me. I started my career working full time in the field of public health, but was always drawn to the arts and especially music. Art & Crafts was always a hobby to relax and unwind to. I never considered art as a career. I did research in public health, implemented community health programs, did project management and grant writing for community youth organizations and eventually transitioned to the music industry as I felt like I needed the levity. After 10 years working as the American Roots Music Manager for the GRAMMY Awards, and having had another bout with cancer, this time breast cancer, I left The Recording Academy to explore entrepreneurship. As a hobby crafter, I stumbled upon a product that took off, Mexican Talavera tile serving trays, and The Cozy Casita was born.
Then my life and world came careering to a halt on January 3, 2018. I suffered a life-threatening catastrophic stroke that left me paralyzed for 1 month. Though I regained my mobility, I still have no left hand functioning. It was time for a hard reset. I embarked on an intentional spiritual journey that led me to this current iteration of expression. As a survivor, I make art to heal my own trauma and my hope is that it imbues healing and hope to those needing inspiration and comfort. My art has elements of my personal life and family stories, Chicana/Honduran heritage, as well as my love of my homeland of California and the Southwest. Additionally, I seek to share stories of resilience, hope, and survival while preserving history and educating about the cultural and socio-political history of the American continent.