Sofia Maria Paz‘s art is a conceptualized mythology of vibrant dreamlike symbols that express the unspeakable. A survivor of child sexual abuse, she transmutes her trauma into stunning art, which she is now using to help others. Working with the non-profit organization, Operation Underground Railroad, she is raising awareness about this worldwide epidemic.
Paz invites everyone to help raise awareness and join the fight to end child sex trafficking through the purchase of a t-shirt featuring her original fine art. Paz’s “Off The Beaten Path” t-shirt campaign launched Friday, January 22, 2021. It is available online at www.bonfire.com/off-the-beaten-path.
We got the chance to talk to the talented artist about her awe-inspiring art, activism and personal life.
Miami Chronicles: Describe your art to our readers?
Sofia Paz: Focusing on the post traumatic effects of childhood abuse, human trafficking, and domestic violence, my work echos the multifaceted nature of memory following these experiences. By superimposing digital visual elements from diverse sources—including 18th century art, social media, 1970’s horror films, fairy tales, and crime scene photography—my pieces create fantastical scenes with a symbolic narrative, portraying escapism and entrapment through the lens of a modern collective subconscious. Oscillating between evidence, fantasy, place, time, and dimensions, my art displaces the viewer, providing a deeper level of understanding into another’s consciousness, which provokes a new profound form of engagement that can evoke compassion, raise awareness, and instigate social change.
MC: How did you get involved with Operation Underground Railroad?
SP: I decided to reach out to Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) when people started asking me to recreate my artwork on T-shirts. These requests I saw as an opportunity to use fine art as a means to not only raise awareness, but also to help put an end to one of the most heinous crimes our world faces today—child sex trafficking. I reached out to O.U.R. for this collaboration because not only do they recuse sex trafficked children all across the world, but they also provide survivors with shelter and supportive programs after they are rescued.
MC: Describe your childhood and how your interest in art developed?
SP: I am an Argentine-American, but I consider myself a child of the world. Since I was four months old, I was raised between Colorado, Switzerland, Argentina, Texas, and Arizona. Living across three different continents fueled my passion for fine art and art history. My artistic pursuits expanded from painting to drawing, to sculpture, and printmaking. However, during my last semester in graduate school, I caught viral meningitis. It was the health consequences that followed, which lead me to change my art practice to digital media.
MC: What are some of the shows that you have had? What are some upcoming shows?
SP: I am currently working on mixed media digital montages for an upcoming solo exhibition at Galerie Deschner, in Berlin, Germany. This exhibit, Contents of The Freezer, will be an extension from my previous body of work, Fractured Memory, that was first showcased in Arizona and Miami Basel, 2019. The Berlin exhibition was scheduled for 2020, but its opening date is still pending due to travel and quarantine restrictions.
MC: How have you been affected by the COVID Pandemic?
SP: Much like everyone else, the COVID-19 Pandemic reshaped my plans, and put many others on hold. Nevertheless, it gave me the space to reconsider my work and explore new avenues. If it weren’t for times of isolation and keeping a safe distance from friends and family, I probably wouldn’t have been able to slow down and create this campaign with O.U.R. Also like many other artists currently struggling with all international and domestic exhibitions being canceled, I’ve had to resort to online art viewing and selling platforms. Art reflects reality, which is why I believe social changes and difficult times will always have an intrinsic role in reshaping the art world.
All the proceeds generated from “Off The Beaten Path” will go to the non-profit organization, Operation Underground Railroad. They help to free sex traffic victims, reunite families, and support survivor’s journeys’ across the world.
Sofia Maria Paz is a Latin-American artist whose multidisciplinary practice stems from print media and digital photo-compositing. Sofia holds a printmaking MFA degree from Arizona State University, and is a full-time professional artist in South Beach, Florida. She has worked on multiple cross-disciplinary mixed media collaborations with artists John Risseeuw, Eric Avery, Cannupa Hanska Luger, as well as cosmologists, philosophers, and smart material engineers. Sofia’s most recent project Off The Beaten Path, is a campaign in junction with the non-profit organization, Operation Underground Railroad, which aims to collectively help stop child sex trafficking.
For more on Sofia Maria Paz visit www.sofiamariapaz.com