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Artist Spotlight – Sayra Reyes

Oakland is Proud! 

If you’re from The Soil, you know exactly what that means and where you’ve seen that beautiful and timeless graffiti that took up a whole wall exclaiming, “Oakland is Proud”! Oakland and ART are synonymous. It’s in our Music, our food and pulsates on every street, sidewalk and mural! We are rich in Cultura and I challenge you to find an Oakland Native, that isn’t a creator of some sort.  This week we are featuring Sayra Reyes, Oakland’s own daughter and artist.  I’ll be honest, I was emotional as I worked on this article. To be from Oakland is to be prideful, but most of all, of Humble beginnings.  


Q: Sayra, tell me about your background?

A: Growing up, I saw consistency and a steady rhythm of hard work from my father, a Construction worker.  My father worked and continues to work 6 days out of the week. My father is from another universe, carrying all that stoic work ethic.My mom is a stay-at- home mother. She is a giver and always made sure that we had a beautiful, as well as humble homemade meals. It seemed so simple, but it was such a beautiful and giving way to show love to La Familia. It was bigger than just her  responsibility, that Woman cooked with real Amor y Sazon. I now see that she provided immense protection, nurture, shelter, and guidance.. My mother is heroically strong and firm in her direction. I admire all of this! It moves me, deeply. I feel rooted in sweet cozy memories con Mi Familia and the experiences we lived with y aun vivimos ahorita.


Q:Where were you born and where did you grow up? 

A: I come from a family of badass Immigrants. My parents and my brother; Carlos touched down in Oakland Jan of 91’. My mom was pregnant with me and gave birth 2 months later at Highland Hospital.

My family lived with another family up until the early 2000s. They raised us on 100th Ave and 98th Ave, in Oakland. 


Q:What inspires you to create art?

A: I feel a rush of passion and love when I think of the little things that captured my soul growing up, still do so, now. I noticed how Chingonas all the women in my family were. I couldn’t wait to wear high heels and be gorgeous and appealing like them! But I wanted that same respect they received. I grew to understand hard work with no whining, because my dad has delivered that message through his brave eyes and all that he has built.

I am rooted in musica romantica bumping in our family van. The weekly pulga outings trained my eye to appreciate collections of detail. We played outside mucho, made Pozole with mud and a variety of plants and stones. I can still feel the creamy grainy texture on my hands, working it like mass.


Q:What age did you start painting? 

A: I started painting and drawing when I was in middle school, during art class. I had an attention to detail and usually completed most group visual projects! I’m still looking for my Chicana art, might have to bring them back. It’s intertwined in me.


Q:Where can we find your art? 

A:They can reach me on IG  @SayraReyesArt , to check for live painting or pop up info!


Q:What is your favorite painting by you and why?

A: My favorite painting and an example of my style is the Blue Harambe Gorilla. Harambe is directly staring at you, shoulders up, with a serious face. It’s a combination of pointillism, pattern, and a dabbing texture.

It’s my favorite because I focused on texture. My Autistic child loves the texture of my paintings and now, so do I! There are beautiful thick layers of feelings and life. Art to me, feels like a diary and a portal to expand my mind.

It is a world That offers tranquility, peace, acceptance, happiness, sensuality, and music.

Q:Who is your inspiration as a painter? 

A: Pablo Picasso is my biggest influence. I fell for his use of the color blue; azul. His hard sharp contour lines dance with my eyes and the sensation ends at my fingertips. He adapted to color and can do all things. There are no limits. That’s what I want for me, no restrictions in my mind, I’m my art flow. Feed you all the colors, a collection of sensory play.


Q:What is your favorite painting by another Artist? 

A: All the Paintings by Pablo Picasso’s “Blue Period.”


Q: What is a short term goal and a long term goal?

A:My short term goal is to continue to stay busy in a variety of crafts, expand my abilities.

My long term goal is to complete my BA in Fine Arts at East Bay and explode in the NFT world. Sustain myself with digital art platforms and incorporate more home/family time in my life. Create more, work less.


Be sure to follow to stay updated on her art and see her earrings that she paints by hand and sells! (She ships too!)

Stay tuned for our next Artist Spotlight featured this month during Hispanic Heritage Month!


“Harambe Blue”  by Sayra Reyes.

What do you think?

Written by Cecilia Ortiz

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