Here at Pela, we believe that the phone case is a powerful medium of empowerment. Our compostable phone cases are a simple step towards a waste-free world. The art featured on our cases is intentionally curated and beautifully designed. We want to share with you the stories of the artist behind our collections. For our new collection in celebration of International Women’s Day, we have collaborated with the Brooklyn-based artist Perla Sanchez of PerlyBlooms.
“There is almost no better object to be carrying a message of self-love than the phone case”
Dominican-born and Brooklyn-raised artist Perla Sanchez’s illustrations primarily center around the female form in spaces of healing and inner peace. As an Afro-Latina and self-described plant mom, her art represents this intersectionality. “From melanin to curls to wide hips and even stretch marks, I love incorporating all the parts that emanate from my Afro-Latina roots. To me, this is an act of self-love and self-preservation. My plants, aka my babies, often help me set the mood before working on a new illustration. I love the feeling of being surrounded by them as I am creating. I also love exploring all the different kinds of leaves and their unique details, from shape to color to lines and textures. I enjoy incorporating their uniqueness into my work."
“When I was nine years old, my family and I immigrated from the Dominican Republic to New York City. Being the youngest of three, I was always the most curious one, always fascinated by my surroundings. Growing up in Brooklyn, I was exposed to so many different cultures, the definition of a melting pot, which I had only witnessed in movies before moving here. At the same time, I had a hard time understanding my identity and fitting in within my community. I decided to stop straightening my hair and began cutting it to allow my natural curls to be reborn, ultimately inspiring me to get closer and explore my African roots by embracing and learning more about my ancestry. Embracing my natural hair left an enormous positive impact on my self-esteem, and it helped me understand myself better and my identity as an Afro-Latina.”
“One of the main ways my art has contributed to my healing and self-discovery journey has been by encouraging me to lose the fear of sharing my work with the world. Although I often dreamed and fantasized about sharing my work and connecting with others through it, I've always had a fear of ‘feeling exposed’, sharing something so personal can leave you feeling wide-open. Taking the initiative to do it regardless of how exposed I may feel is what gives me strength. Slowly, I've built up the confidence and motivation to continue putting my work out there.”
We asked Perla to explain the meaning behind her artist name PerlyBlooms. She explained, "Perly" is a sweet way of saying my name Perla. Adding the "Blooms" to "Perly" signifies my journey towards blooming as an artist and person. Perla is a graphic designer and has always been creative, starting with painting florals. However, wanting to incorporate the female form and having more time to create, PerlyBlooms flourished this past year. “I've always been passionate about art and illustrating, but because of my busy life and work schedule, I was having a hard time creating and sharing my work. Last year this was all changed due to the pandemic. Because I no longer spend 5+ hours of my day between getting ready for work and commuting, I've been able to use that time to illustrate. I feel humbled and grateful to have the privilege of continuing to earn a living, all while pursuing my passion.”
“There's a sense of pride that comes with knowing we are willing to carve a future defined by us rather than by the standards society has imposed on us for centuries.”
It is important for us at Pela to build a community with people who share our passions and whose values align with ours. While speaking with Perla, the topics of self-care and taking care of our world came up. “In the world that we are living in today, creating a waste-free future is paramount. I can't emphasize enough how important self-care is. To me, self-care is my main priority each day. To serve others and the world, we must first tend to our needs to have the strength needed to show up as our best versions fully. In the future, I hope I'm able to follow Pela's use of environmentally-friendly materials for any of my print work.”
“During International Women's day, I think of how far we have come as a collective, fighting biases, challenging stereotypes, and the status quo. I always say that one of the most rewarding parts of building a community has been the beautiful connections I've made along my journey with women from all around the world. Sharing pieces reflecting my innermost thoughts and feelings is a way of communicating to others who may feel the same, that they are not alone. When I receive a message from someone who has intimately and emotionally connected with one of my pieces, I often feel that I have accomplished my goal.”
Perla’s two designs for our Womxn’s of the World collection, Girl on the Moon and Cactus Head evoke feelings of inner peace, self-reflection, and joy. Follow Perla Sanchez on Instagram @perlyblooms and shop more of her pieces at perlyblooms.etsy.com.