At a time of year when resolutions are often hurled around liberally, it’s always interesting to reflect on just how far we’ve came in the passing year. As far as progression goes, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who’s made bigger strides than Pennsylvania’s Dina Baez. The lifelong artist began trying her hand at painting around this time of last year and she’s already caught our eye with her surrealist style, characterized with bold outlines and radiating colors. Once used as simply a means of decorating her room, Baez accredits her creative glow up to a surge in confidence. These days, her work is available for public consumption on all her social media platforms as well as her website, misfitdina.com. She also has shown promise as a model, where her signature dreadlocked look has become a mainstay on the Philly art scene. Going forward into the New Year, she took the time out to talk to us about her productive year, and her bright future.
1. What does the city of Philadelphia mean to you? How did it shape who you are as a person and an artist?
I’m a Harrisburg native, so Philly has always been close enough for me to expand my creativity when I could visit but until I moved here I didn’t realize how many opportunities exist for artists. Philadelphia is a creative hub full of different networks, when I started showcasing my art I met so many people who would direct me to other creatives that they felt I could vibe with. I dabbled in different creative scenes gaining inspiration from all types of people but who I am as an artist definitely began in Harrisburg and bloomed in Philadelphia.
2. One thing that stood out to us was your late start. How did you pull off such a rapid progression from starting December of last year to where you are now?
I’ve been an artist for most of my life, but have only been painting for the past year. I already had a lot of artist friends that I met through modeling but when I started sharing my paintings people really started supporting my vision! I used to illustrate and play with graphic designs on t-shirts but I don’t think who I was as an artist came through as clearly by those means. I’m a very resilient but emotional person so I think people appreciate well-executed expressions of hard times and the strength in the vulnerability of sharing them. I used to work a 9-5 Monday–Friday all year and would work on my art in my free time and would invest my money in getting supplies and going to events to showcase my art. I feel like the rapid progression came from people realizing I was actually consistent in building my talents and looking forward to where I was going or what I was creating next since I was putting so much of myself into it!
3. What are some of the common traits and elements that are your signature as an artist? What is the distinction of a Dina Baez piece?
I like to call my style “Egocentric Surrealism” because the main focus of my pieces are (self) portraits with a graphic touch. In other words, I’m an analog girl in a digital world creating analog art with a digital vision haha. The things that float around when magical girls transform, the effortlessness of Bob Ross’ landscapes, and the reflection of people’s souls inspire most of my work. Every piece is hand-drawn and hand-painted with bold outlines, bright colors and smooth shading. I can’t help but to fill up the whole canvas if I have it so my backgrounds usually contain symbolic natural elements. Also, every piece has to have at least one heart, star or sparkle just because that’s the Fairycake way lol.
4. What are some other endeavors you’re into? Your photos give us a potential modeling vibe.
Honestly I broke into Philadelphia’s creative circle as a muse/model before I fully accepted myself as an artist. While I do love posing and taking pretty pictures I feel way more rewarded when I make them with my hands. My collaborations as a model are mostly to network and use my vessel as a source of creativity, but I do also like making little songs on my GarageBand app for myself. Anything that has to do with nature, traveling, food, music and people being themselves is a thing I’m down for so I love to round up my friends to go out to different social events and soak up the positive energy.
5. Where do you see yourself next year this time? What are some things you’d like to accomplish?
Well, my lease in North Philly ends next November so I’ll probably be in another city, hopefully somewhere on the West Coast haha. Things I want to accomplish: my first solo show, gain a brand endorsement for my cool hand-painted apparel designs, create a collaborative organization that empowers the youth of Harrisburg, I want to swap portraits with my favorite artists and I reaaaaalllly want to do larger commissions such as murals! I have no plans on stopping my efforts to make my dreams come true and I understand that right now I’m only at the beginning of my journey so I’m just enjoying the process as I cross off my checklist to success.