sofia enriquez

Push the Positivity

With bright, optimistic faces and phrases,Sofia Enriquez merges street art and upcycled fashion.

Shana Dambrot Arts & Entertainment

sofia enriquez
In addition to making studio work and guerilla-style pop-ups, Sofia Enriquez goes to schools to teach art and encourage kids, especially girls, the importance of creativity and self-expression.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY LANCE GERBER

At the busy intersection of fine art, fashion, and street art, you will find artist and designer Sofia Enriquez, a powerhouse champion of equality, positivity, and authentic individuality in all its forms. Her line of upcycled clothing, Es Mucho, evolved from and alongside her studio and public mural painting and features exuberant hand-painted graphics.

“I’m just one person, and I like to paint — sometimes on shirts,” she says. “But whether it’s clothes, canvases, or murals, for me it’s always about trust.” As a woman, educator, and conscientious human, Enriquez keeps in mind local and global issues of feminism, race, and economic justice. Yet her approach is personal and her aesthetic is joyful.

With her clothing and murals especially, her goal is to make sure people get to see some art every day. “With all this anxiety in the world, I want people to come across something bright and enjoy life for a moment,” she says, adding that she’s always thinking about what she could paint to brighten different environments. “I drive around looking at walls and I play a game of imagination.”
Empowerment of Women, her mural on the exterior of Taqueria Arandas in Coachella, depicts female portraits set in sweeping paisley patterns, while her see-me fashions pop with bright, expressive faces, figures, and phrases, illustrated in bold and sometimes Day-Glo colors.

Enriquez, who lives in Cathedral City, has emerged as a low-key and optimistic role model for women interested in the Coachella Valley street-art scene. “I’m just trying to enjoy it and encourage more women and girls to do their thing,” says Enriquez, who was born and raised in the Coachella Valley, attended Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, and returned to the desert to practice her art. “More and more designers and street artists are women, but museums are still so male-dominated. That’s a weirdness that needs to stop!”

She also enjoys teaching art at local schools and cultural institutions. “I encourage everyone, but especially the girls because I think they need to hear it more, especially in creativity. Street art is more inclusive and democratic; anyone can paint a wall. What resistance I have encountered, honestly, only made me want to do it more.”

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Her line of upcycled clothing, Es Mucho, evolved from and alongside her studio and public mural painting and features exuberant hand-painted graphics.

Enriquez named her enterprises Es Mucho (“It’s a lot”) in a loving nod to the assertive style, wicked palette, and boundary-blurring genres of her design practice. “It’s about the artist,” she says. “It’s up to me to keep it real, to keep it light.”

She makes a distinction though between what she calls art for “the square,” meaning the canvas and gallery wall, and art for “the shirt,” meaning for the bodies of people. Sourcing for her hand-painted clothes makes her something of a thrift store queen, as she upcycles one piece at a time. With no production or sizing, her take is, “If it fits you, cool.”

With all this anxiety in the world, I want people to come across something bright and enjoy life for a moment.Sofia Enriquez

“When you see someone wearing my art, they are in motion. You only have a moment; it’s a fast and fleeting conversation, a slice of personality — so why not make it loud? A painting sets a finished story in a certain place. It lives only there. It’s finite, maybe even private,” she explains. “With clothes, it’s a different way of thinking about art. In fine art, the artist says, ‘This is me.’ In fashion, it’s the wearer who says, ‘This is me.’ It’s a fundamental change to the narrative.”

For more information, visit sofiaenriquez.com.