From Inside the Creative Mind of Uzumaki Cepeda

Author: Angela Fernandez / Photos: Christina Choi
09.26 / MB Series

Artists express themselves in many different ways. Our newest MISSBISH, Uzumaki Cepeda, creates unique art with faux furs and bright colors. She grew up being inspired by her local bodegas and nail salons and chose to prove to her family that she can make a living doing something she loves. Uzumaki has showcased her work in many events, from Agenda to 29Rooms; we had the opportunity to chop it up with her about her style, background and much more...

When and how did you realize that art was something you wanted to make a career out of?

I realized that when everybody around me was working 9-5, they really hated it or they going to school confused. I was just like, “Nah I'd rather just make money off of something I like doing,” instead of being like everybody around me. I didn’t want to live my life feeling like I was slaving from paycheck to paycheck.

You mention that being from the Bronx and being a Dominican woman have shaped the artist that you are today. What inspires you from both the Bronx and the Dominican Republic?

I feel like the color palette inspired me from both places, like when it comes to a bodega, the nails, the culture in general, I feel like that really inspired my loud color palette and abstract things I use; like taking a normal thing and making it abstract, hence the rims I've done.

Recently you created your biggest piece of art which is a 26 ft x 19 ft wall made of faux fur that says “ART SAVES LIVES.” Can you share one moment where this phrase really resonated with you? 

One moment was when I was younger and I had nowhere to live, I was house hopping. Somebody gave me the opportunity to stay in their house because they believed in my art and it ended up working out. I feel like that time period, art really saved my life. If I didn’t invest in myself in being a full-time artist, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

You are a first-generation Dominican American. What challenges, if any, have you overcome while living here in America and being of Afro-Dominican decent?

The challenges I've faced were not only the way my mom thought about herself being in America but it was also really challenging living with somebody who thought school was the only way out. The mentality of “we came from another country, you have to do what others do." I overcame that in the sense that I showed her I can make money doing something that I love. I feel like being any black or brown person in America, you're always going to encounter something because things are not in our favor. 

Social media plays a huge role in marketing a brand, how has social media helped you with your work? What are some positives and negatives with branding and social media?

I love it because everyone discovered me through social media. I've gotten a lot of opportunities through social media. I’ve met many great friends online. Social media has opened so many doors for me to just be my own entrepreneur. The only downside to social media is that people are quick to copy stuff. But the good outweighs the bad a hundred times.

You appeared in ACG’s first female campaign. How would you describe your personal style and what is it about your style that sets you apart from others?

My personal style is like Kawaii-gangsta-pastel-goth. I feel like it sets me apart from others because I do whatever I want. I don’t have to wear a brand to define me; I wear whatever I think is cool.

What does MISSBISH mean to you?

Being a bad bi**h.

Who is your MISSBISH?

ME!

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