We had the good fortune of connecting with Dali Cortez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dali, what do you want people to remember about you?
I want my legacy to help Trans Latine people feel seen. As the only Queer kid in an expansive Mexican family, I hid in the closet until I could live on my own. It was one thing to be Queer, another to be Trans. American assimilation took my joy in celebrating my culture. The process of creating each piece is liberating to reclaim that joy of not only loving what it tried to make me shun, but basking in each Trans person I drew. Happy, thriving, beautiful and different. Full of love and light.
I want the community to feel seen and loved in the art I create.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My work centers around Trans joy and romantic intimacy. Art has always been a part of my life and who I am. Focusing on art of my background is very soul enriching when the world needs much more rep of ourselves.
I’m most proud of my recent Trans Latine series of watercolor paintings. It’s a ever growing project I hope to keep expanding upon.
It was not easy to get where I am currently. Artists are severely underpaid and overworked in every industry aspect. I only went to art college for a year and had to leave to be able to work full time and make rent. Stability is one of the hardest factors for artists, a lot of what we do, we have to do on the side while also working to afford living costs. Keep at it and keep making small steps.
The best advice I can give to people, is to save money, and use the free resources online to get the knowledge you want. Practice and use references from real life. Ask yourself, what you’d like to do with your art. What is your dream project? What would bring you great joy to have created?
Focus on building your portfolio to be the projects you already wish you were working on. This works well to center yourself and have an actual portfolio ready for the work you apply for.
I want to be known for making a Graphic Novel, that focuses on Trans Latine characters and work with Authors in the same community to create art for their Book Covers. I also want to create art for Indie Video Game projects, currently looking for commercial work in all of these areas.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Seattle has such a great and diverse pool of people and communities. My favorite restaurant to visit is Nana’s Green Tea, i visit them every time I’m downtown. https://www.nanasgreenteaseattle.com Visit some of the amazing goth stores, comic book and thrift stores in Capital Hill.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My own friends in the Trans community are who encourage me. I cannot celebrate enough how rewarding and fulfilling it is to be surrounded by BIPOC friends who understand the complexities of being a Person of Color and being Trans. I’m very grateful to have their support in any of my creative endeavors and having a group of people that make me feel seen and heard is amazing.