Roads for Creative Dreamers

By Melissa Fuentes CHASS Dean’s Office Student Writer
May 18, 2018

Ever thought about pursuing a career in art? Photography? Or journalism? Ever been afraid these careers are not practical? Perhaps following a creative passion can lead to uncertainty. However, there are an abundant of opportunities out there. Eva Recinos and Star Montana, two successful university graduates pursuing their dreams, recount how their work opened doors to places unimaginable.

On a sunny Thursday in April, one of UCR’s distinguished creative writing professor’s, Susan Straight, held an empowering event about overcoming the odds and following one’s goals. This event had a purpose: to prove that following creative dreams such as being an artist or a writer could most definitely lead to a successful career despite the obstacles. As Professor Straight introduced herself she shared how she was the first generation in her family to attend college. Born and raised in Riverside, she proudly claimed “This is my homeland… It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of us, it matters what we think of ourselves.” 

Following with a warm welcome were the two guest speakers, Eva Recinos and Star Montana. Eva works in social media at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Star is a photo-based artist in Los Angeles. Eva shared how she would visit places and look at art but hardly ever felt a connection. “Where is my place in all of this?” she asked. “I don’t see myself reflected, I don’t see my friends reflected, other communities reflected.” Her desire to see herself and people similar to her represented was what motivated to further develop her passions. “Who is it that you’re not seeing?” she insisted. Misrepresentation of minorities is something that happens in all areas but it is evident in art and literature. Eva came across a point where she was able to change that. She eagerly stated, “[From] not seeing yourself reflected to seeing yourself in a large portrait” was a life changing experience. Star too, was a hardworking person of color who did not settle and continued studying. “I come from east L.A. . . if I didn’t die there academia is nothing.”

Star had the opportunity to share a personal family story through visuals and art work, soon after Eva stumbled upon her work. Eva then wrote a piece on Star’s story which had a huge success and was being shared on social media. Both emphasize the importance of working together. Though writing and art are not always aligned, sometimes it is necessary. This encounter helped Eva and Star obtain careers in their fields which neither of them expected. They hope to inspire other young artists to continue to share their stories through their own creativity because they never know where it may lead them.

Upcoming this season is the Museum of Chicano Art which will be held here in Riverside.

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