Sonya Sanchez Arias creates one of a kind limited edition ‘up-cycled and repurposed’ Art Jewelry and Mixed Media Art. The artist has gained recognition for her Recycled Art both nationally and in the Caribbean. Her paper dresses, mixed media assemblages and her new line of art jewelry showcase her interests in the natural organic beauty of nature and the transformative possibilities of repurposing found objects and discarded synthetic materials.
Sonya is a successful photographic stylist, commercial photographer, and photographic art director for more than 25 years, transforming that which others see as commonplace into the extraordinary.
Born and raised in the cosmopolitan and bustling Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, she graduated from RIT with a BFA and currently lives and works in Boca Raton, Florida, surrounded by the diverse culture of Florida’s trendy and multicultural East Coast. She credits her earliest influence to her mother’s creativity as an artist and costume maker who worked for many years with the renowned artist Peter Minshall.
Her art follows the “up-cycling and repurposing” movement which reevaluates the worth of waste by reclaiming and reinterpreting the beauty of discarded materials and found objects in new and unexpected ways. All of Sonya’s art jewelry and assemblages are handmade one-of-a-kind pieces, the recycled materials that she manipulates gives the jewelry and mixed media assemblages a strong identity with unique characteristics effectively making each piece a distinct work of art.
Sonya Sanchez Arias
My art jewelry and mixed media assemblage art proceed in harmony with the ‘up-cycling and repurposing’ movement, which seeks to reevaluate the worth of waste by reinventing and reclaiming discarded materials in new and unexpected ways giving it a second life, transforming its original design into something new.
All of my art pieces are the result of manipulating or rearranging used and discarded materials. These repurposed materials give my art a strong identity with unique characteristics effectively making each piece distinct and unique.
My process and my inspiration are material-focused. Using non-organic discarded materials and found objects and reworking them to create unexpectedly organic shapes and patterns. I aim to create art jewelry and assemblages that demand a fundamental reconsideration of material and purpose. I strive to make art that is thought-provoking and surprising. Art that is contemporary and makes a creative and thoughtful statement.
The function and material nature of my art do not concern me as much as the presence and feeling of an object that has been transformed from one material, having one purpose, into something entirely different.
I focus more on what I think things “could be” rather than what most people think they “should be” – for me it’s always about “transformation and possibilities”! My experimentation with unusual found objects and alternative materials frees my imagination and provides many opportunities for wonderful accidents and new techniques that influence the finished product.
If my work has a mission, it is this: To see the beauty and potential of all things and the possibilities that a different point of view can create. It may be an empty water bottle, plastic utensils, rubber tubing, electrical wires, trash bags, paper, threads or any other found object: Whatever the material or the original purpose, it can be transformed into something new and unexpected with a new and viable reason for existing.
I’m constantly exposed to traditional jewelry for the commercial market as part of my work with my husband creating product photography for the jewelry industry. Because of the sheer amount of conventional jewelry that we constantly work with, I’ve gravitated to a more avant-garde style of jewelry crafted in the workshops of artists, I’m inspired by the creators of experimental jewelry and unusual art objects.
I am interested in exploring and discovering a new form of intellectual and alternate material-based solutions and attracted to artists who are building foundations for the modern and progressive thinking for jewelry and mixed media as a contemporary art form.
I’m always inspired by Mother Nature (the most impressive artist of all). I love organic shapes and textures and the incredible colour palette that nature provides, but I also love to mix recycled man-made materials with contrasting natural elements. I was born in the beautiful Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, and I’m always influenced by the natural beauty, colour, culture, and vibe of the island, and my life here in Florida for the last 20 years has also given me new multicultural influences – I am also always drawn to current affairs, social media, and am constantly finding ways to express the many ways they affect my day to day life and impact my art.
No one is born wearing a national flag, a religious symbol, or a socially constructed identity. We all come into life naked and, hopefully, screaming. As we move through life, however, we become affected by various influences, our communities and role models, the culture we live in, the politics and circumstances of our time and place, and the way we move through the world in reaction to these powerful forces. This mix of influences not only determines how the art is expressed but also determines how the viewer understands and interprets art.
When I make a piece, I create something that has never existed before, whether it’s found objects transformed into a mixed media assemblage, a photograph, or a piece of jewelry formed from recycled materials. I am always hopeful that through the process of excavating, discovering, and exposing my life’s influences and experiences, my art connects people, bringing understanding and perspectives that have the potential to challenge norms and expectations.