things that matter

The Internet Is Obsessed With This Woman’s Colorful Body Love Art

Society is constantly bombarding women and femmes with messages that their bodies are unsightly: they’re too fat or too gaunt, too dark or too pale, too muscular or too wobbly, too hairy or too bald. It’s like the natural female body requires work if it’s going to be deemed beautiful or, sometimes, even just acceptable. On Instagram, body positive activists are calling bullshit on these unrealistic, and almost always, Eurocentric beauty ideals. Among these heroines is Cinta Tort Cartró, also known as Zinteta, an artist turning alleged flaws into beautiful works of art.

The 21-year-old artist from Torrelles de Llobrega, a small town outside of Barcelona, Spain, uses her paintbrush to make glorious rainbows out of stretch marks to inspire women to view what they’ve been told were imperfections as cunning attributes to their bodies.

@zinteta / Instagram

“I want all bodies to be seen as equally valid and beautiful. We are all different, our bodies are different, but in each of us there is beauty,” Cartró told Metro UK.

It was a long and difficult journey for the artist to view her own body as worthy of love. At 14, Cartró developed an eating disorder, and even after recovery, had stretch marks that she considered ghastly.

@zinteta / Instagram

“Over the years, I saw that if I did not accept everything about my body – hair, stretch marks, etc – I was not accepting myself, and I could never really know or love myself,” she told the newspaper. “I have been very insecure throughout my life, and working to break these insecurities is a big job. I am very proud of what I’ve achieved, but I’ve still got a long way to go.”

Now, the self-proclaimed feminist and anti-racist artist wants to use her talents to help other women and femmes through their own self-love odysseys.

@zinteta / Instagram

With more than 57.8 thousand followers, we’d say the Hispana, who describes herself as “tall” and “big,” definitely providing body love inspiration to many.

But her artwork does more than that. Cartró uses glitter and paint to re-educate society on menstruation and undo the gross and shameful stigma associated with this natural process.

@zinteta / Instagram

In January, the recent University of Barcelona grad started “Mancho y No Me Doy Asco,” which translates to “I Stain Myself, and I’m Not Grossed Out By It,” an art project that aims to normalize menstruation.

“I remember that in school the idea of staining a chair with blood made me panic. I was terrified about what people would think. I decided to paint people’s underwear to make it clear that sometimes stains happen, and nothing happens,” she said.

Cartró uses a menstrual cup, a feminine hygiene product worn inside the vagina during menstruation, and since starting, she has learned more about the cyclical process of periods as well as its health benefits.

“I started to know more about my body, and realized that periods are a natural process, normal, and one that we should not hide,” she said.

Furthermore, Cartró is certainly not concealing menstruation anymore.

@zinteta / Instagram

The artista blends the red of blood with other colors to make rainbow panty stains. She also soaks pads and tampons into dyes and glitters, making art out of feminine hygiene products most people wrap up and throw in the trash.

Cartró, who will soon be starting a master’s program in illustration, ultimately wants her bright feminist art to help people unlearn all the negative things they’ve been told about their bodies and lead them on a path of radical self-adoration. Doing so, she hopes, will allow us to see beauty in the diversity of body types, sizes, and colors.

“We must fight against the aesthetic pressure and we must accept once and for all that we are different, and that diversity is wonderful,” she said. “We must work together to break down the aesthetic standards so that everyone can be loved and accepted as they are.”

These 9 Spectacular Latina Artists Are Also Making Powerful Impacts On Instagram

“The Politics of Womanhood” Art Show opened in Downtown Los Angeles featuring 28 artists’ interpretation of what it means to be a Woman of Color in today’s political climate. As a mixed race and mixed heratige Latina it has been super inspiring to see the creativity coming out of the Latinx community here in L.A. Here are a few of my favorite Latina artists and photographers that I’m addicted to on IG. 

Paloma Montoya

@_paloma.negra / Instagram

Paloma is a South East Los Angeles native who work primarily with acrylic and gouache. Her influences are “graffiti, graffiti characters, old cartoons, erotica, lust, love, women, and personal experiences.” Her painting style is unique and easily recognizable, she’s always creating new and interesting images.

Veronica Soto Ryan

@lespetitestitches / Instagram

I never knew textile art was so versatile and allowed for so much creativity! Veronica Soto Ryan lives and works in Long Beach, Calif. She is an artist, is married and is a mother of two girls. But after spending many years in the arts, she is changing her career and going back to school this fall to study mortuary science.

Pamela Almeida

@archetypal_musings / Instagram

Pamela G. Almeida was born and raised in Ecuador and has been an L.A. resident for 22 years. She is a visual artist, dancer, and mother who is in love with the creative process. Her art is a stunning use of religious iconography and design she believes “the process of creating belongs to the realm of sacred practice, and as such, my artwork serves as the vehicle for deep, raw, spiritual explorations.”

Cristal Gutierrez

@cristalgutierrezart / Instagram

Cristal Gutiérrez is from the coastal city of Oxnard located in Ventura County, north of L.A. She is an artist whose aim is to introduce more positive images of women of color into a world heavily saturated with images solely praising white women. Her main artistic interests include: “illustration, film-making, and stop-motion animation; while some of my other interests include uplifting other women, making people smile, and fighting machismo.”

Martha Gil

@gildednopal / Instagram

Martha Gil is an Inland Empire based artist the owner and creator of the brand Gilded Nopal. “My brand focus on themes that surround my identity as a Chicana from Southern California.” Hands down, the vag nopal was a crowd favorite opening night. Her illustrations are on point and super cute and she makes them in stickers!

Stephanie Godoy

@stephaniegodoyart / Instagram

Stephanie Godoy is an artist from Moreno Valley, Calif. She is currently working towards receiving a Bachelor’s in Studio Arts at California State University of Los Angeles and teaches art at a middle school in East L.A. She has exhibited work in galleries and music festivals. Stephanie is inspired to paint individuals who pursue their dreams with grit since in today’s world and to her a life worth living is filled with “music, art, respect, and creativity.”

Lorena Endara

Panama-born artist Lorena Endara became interested in photography at the age of seventeen and has been practicing ever since. Most recently, Endara has exhibited at GuatePhoto, the Pingyao International Photography Festival, and the Contemporary Art Museum in Rome. Endara is a member of FotoFéminas, a collective of female photographers from Latin America and is currently based out of L.A. where she teaches and creates multimedia art.

Amanda Lopez

@snapshotlopes / Instagram

Amanda Lopez is a portrait and lifestyle photographer based in L.A. In the spring of 2017 she co-curated Adornment, a photography exhibition that focused on the jewelry, accessories and hairstyles of women of color. Her photography is clean and beautiful and I love the way she captures the essence of the women she photographs.

Zuly Garcia

@zulydelarose / Instagram

Zuly Garcia is an Oaxaqueña from Los Angeles, representing the Crenshaw community. She is a student activist at CSULB and a community director for a non profit named Let’s Give. Her interests are “Sociology, photography, singing, music, writing, and poetry.”

Read: These 13 Latina Body Positive Influencers On The ‘Gram Are Reminding Us To Love Every Lonja, Every (Im)Perfection

Let us know some of your favorite artists making body positive pieces in the comments.

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A Man Said Skinned Knees Are Worse Than Period Cramps And The Latina Drag Is So Real


A Man Said Skinned Knees Are Worse Than Period Cramps And The Latina Drag Is So Real

You know that moment when your father, brother, boyfriend or any cis man in your life gets a cold and is incapable of walking to grab some tissue, dissolving the Alka-Seltzer tablet in a glass of water or rubbing some Vicks on their body? Turns out, it’s universal. As much as guys boast about being the stronger gender, life proves repeatedly that they could barely handle even the slightest amounts of pain. The latest example: An athlete tweeted that skinned knees hurt more than menstrual pain, and ladies of the Internet are expectedly, and rightfully, coming for him.

“Until women experience this, I don’t wanna hear about period pains,” wrote @_sargee on Friday.

It’s difficult to fathom how so much ignorance made its way to one grown-up’s mind.

There are the obvious questions: Has he ever encountered a woman? Does he know that we, too, have knees? Is he aware that women play sports, take adventures or just live life with their knees and have thus also experienced skinned knees? Has it ever occurred to him that some women skin their knees while they are on their period?

In his defense, maybe he hasn’t actually seen a woman’s leg in real life. In fact, his Twitter is filled with sexist tweets of him objectifying women, so chances are he hasn’t been given much play and hasn’t experienced the wonders of a female knee for himself.

Even still, it’s bizarre to compare a skinned knee, a common toddler boo-boo, to the stabbing pangs of menstruation, to endometriosis pain, to ovarian cysts, to uterine fibroids, to pelvic inflammatory disease to carrying a fetus to term, to shooting a watermelon-sized human out of your vagina. In fact, a lot of times this isn’t just painful, it requires surgery. For some, it’s life-threatening. Not something that’s going to be healed with a standard Band-Aid.

Luckily, @_sarge isn’t as misinformed today as he was last week. Since making the mindless post, Twitter has given him a few lessons on anatomy and menstruation, and Latinxs have joined in on the Interweb education.

On that, cis fellas, don’t downplay menstruation pain — like ever again. If you want to talk about a suffering cis women have never experienced, mention that time your younger sibling kicked you in the balls.

Read: Latinas On Twitter Are Dragging The Machismo That Has Been Plaguing Our UTIs And Things Just Got Real

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This Houston Artist is Bringing a Touch of Whimsy to Her Hometown


This Houston Artist is Bringing a Touch of Whimsy to Her Hometown

Art is often the manifestation of our emotions. It manifests the artist’s intentions and projects them onto the audience. Though we don’t all experience art in the same way, the visceral reaction we have to an especially moving work of art is universal. Through the lens of its artist, art makes us hope, feel as well as heal. For Texas-based Mexican-American artist Shelbi Nicole, the desire to share these feelings with her audience is what drives her to create.

Named one of Houston’s Top Ten artists back in 2014, Nicole is a Texas transplant originally from Oklahoma City. Using bold color and shapes, it’s her goal to put feel-good vibes out into her community. Working in a mix of media but a painter at heart, Nicole’s work can be seen all over her adopted home. Whether it’s through murals, in private and public art collections or through her newest interactive art installation, this artist is committed to drama and whimsy.

Recently, FIERCE caught up with Nicole to talk about the intention behind her lively art and see her latest installation.

For Shelbi Nicole, art was an instinctive passion to pursue even from an early age.

Instagram / @fiftyshadesofelishagray

In fact, the medium of painting became a therapeutic tool that helped the artist evolve into the woman she is.

“I have enjoyed creating since I was very young, which was when I discovered my love for painting,” Nicole told FIERCE. “I suffered from depression and found the benefits of painting to be extremely therapeutic. Painting has tremendously helped me combat depression and in a lot of ways been essential to my well being. Once I discovered the impact painting had on my life, I wanted to identify first and foremost as an artist.”

Drawn to abstract forms, Nicole traveled to France at 18 to study her craft. Exploring the numerous art museums Europe has to offer, she grew into herself as an artist. Her search to find her own voice as an artist took her to Miami. There, the vibrant colors of the South Florida Latinidad inspired her and made their way into her permanent color palette. Having found her signature style utilizing abstract shapes and vibrant colors, Nicole made her way to the University of Houston for her formal education.

“I think my constant exposure to so many different cultures has influenced my work,” Nicole explained. “Especially being back in Houston, the most diverse city in the U.S.”

Since then, Nicole has been a cornerstone of the local Houston art scene, literally leaving her mark all over the city.

Instagram / @shelbinicoledesigns

Putting her skills as a mural artist to the test, Nicole beautifies the Houston Metro through her work with Mini Murals. Mini Murals is a multi-city project aimed at bringing color to unsuspected places utilizing electrical boxes as mural space. The pop of unexpected art that these pieces bring to local neighborhoods is completely on message for this dynamic artist. With her mix of abstract and geometric shapes and bold use of color, Nicole has contributed a dozen mini murals to Houston.

Aside from her many projects with her own design firm, Nicole has collaborated with everyone from local artists to big name corporations.

Instagram / @shelbinicole
Houston Press / Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

“The last two years of my life have been some of my most successful, thus far, with my art endeavors,” Nicole proudly shared. Last December, the artist teamed up with jewelry designer Kendra Scott to create the “Korridor.” Next to the Kendra Scott jewelry store in the posh community of Rice Village, the bright mural space is a combination of Nicole’s colorful sensibilities and Scott’s elegant forms.

Another such collaboration matched Nicole with the largest rodeo in the world. The tremendous Texas event — once headlined by Selena herself — is also an opprotunity to take in arts and culture. This year, the artist won the opprotunity to paint in her own style a 6-foot tall ceramic boot for the Rodeo’s Boot Row. Nicole is only one of six artists chosen to execute a design for this piece that lines the Rodeo’s entrance.

Still, perhaps one of Nicole’s biggest collabs have been with coffee giant Café Bustelo.

Instagram / @shelbinicole

The Cuban coffee company established these pop-ups around the country for some time now. Not only do they bring their bold flavors, the pop-ups also invites emerging Latinx musicians and artists. For Nicole’s project, the people behind the iconic yellow can connected her with fellow Houston artist Gonzo247. At a Café Bustelo pop-up event in Houston’s art district, the two artists worked together to create a unique art piece to embody Latin flavor and culture.

While these accomplishments are impressive in their own right, the project that Nicole is most proud of has been five years in the making.

Instagram / @shelbinicole
Instagram / @thewhimsyworld_

A larger-than-life visual funhouse, Nicole’s newest exhibit — Whimsy World — is a colorful, interactive fantasy world. The exhibit debuted in Houston during February of 2019. It opened to rave reviews as Houstonians explored Shelbi’s brilliant dreamscape.

“What inspired me to create Whimsy World was an intense desire to showcase my work in a solo show that was unconventional and much more interactive,” Nicole explained. “I’d lost interest in traditional art shows and the lack of color in most gallery settings. I wanted people to be able to feel like they’re inside of one of my paintings rather than just standing back and looking at a canvas.”

The multi-experience installation spans several rooms, each with its own touches of magic. From a hand-welded claw foot tub and in-door rain cloud dripping with hundreds of crystals to the abstract paintings spilling over the canvas and onto the studio walls, every inch is art. Even the bathrooms — with their fierce boss lady Beyoncé motif — are a spot worthy of Instagram.

For Nicole, Whimsy World is a culmination of her artistic voice and the joy she hopes her art creates in others.

Instagram / @thewhimsyworld_
Instagram / @whimsyworld_

“I want to encourage everyone to understand the endless possibilities there are, when it comes to how we experience art,” the artist confessed. “It can be a feeling, a moment, a world that you enter that brings joy and elicits feel-good vibes. That is the intention of The Whimsy World and I hope everyone can experience its magic.”

For Nicole, the future is as bright as the art she creates. An extended version of Whimsy World will be debuting in Sugarland, Texas March 15th-April 27th. The installation will include 8+ brand new fixtures. The Sugarland show will also feature a new main attraction — a mirrored art room hand-crafted by the artist. Nicole is also planning to take Whimsy World to audiences beyond Texas.

Shelbi Nicole’s dedication to sharing her positivity and light with the world is evident whenever you see her art. It’s a reminder that through artistic creation, we can share who we are and what we want the world to be.

Read: It’s The Beginning Of The Year And Cardi B and Selena Gomez Have Already Topped Spotify’s Most-Streamed Female Artists

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