Credit: Joli Eubanks

Lydice Ravelo, a 22-year-old woman from Staten Island, is launching her website, artbyravelo.com, where products from her art-inspired clothesline can be purchased. Her art is currently being displayed at the SIABC Staten Island Artist Building Corp. After showing her art on social-media sites and receiving a warm response from friends and strangers alike, she decided to pursue art as a career.

“Growing up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I was constantly around art. There was graffiti everywhere [like] Keith Haring murals on Houston. Everyone around me looked like me. When I moved to Staten Island, it was sort of a culture shock. Everything was so clean. We had grass.”

She laughed, reflecting on her immature amazement of grass. “Suddenly, we were the only family on the block that was African-American,” she continued. “Of course, I had to adapt, but I always loved to go to my grandmother’s house in the city just so I could see some flavor. I try to create that same flavor in my works.”

Many of Ravelo’s pieces display an influential person at its center. One of the most captivating photographs actually displays a broken heart. It is titled “Cardiac Arrest.” When asked about the photograph, this fun, talkative individual grew quiet. She revealed an innocent smile, her eyes drifted away for a moment, and then she spoke.

“‘Cardiac Arrest’ is the abrupt loss of heart function. I consider myself a pretty tough individual, but I don’t believe that anyone can truly move on 100 percent after a broken heart, from someone they truly love and care for.”

With one hand pointing at the photograph and the other gently placed on her chest, Ravelo continued, “You can see in the piece the arrows represent the body’s natural reaction, which is to repair the damage. But in the middle of the heart, you see the arrows pointing out, representing that not everything can be repaired by itself, no matter how hard the body tried to put the pieces together.”

Ravelo’s work displays a direct connection to the youth. She is able to mix her artistic expression directly with the hip-hop culture while remaining original. She has been recognized as a true talent, so much so that the demand for her clothing line is consistently increasing. She has made the decision to put her college education on a hold to focus on her art. She believes all her goals are obtainable and will be accomplished.

Ravelo expressed, “While society was telling me go ‘to college or you won’t be able to get a good job,’ in the back of my mind, I always remembered my mother told me that I can be whatever I want to be. When I actually took time off from school to pursue my art, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything because I know what I’m working toward, and I’m not going to stop until I get it.”