July Artist Spotlight: Lys Santamaria

July Artist Spotlight: Lys Santamaria

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, local artist Lys Santamaria transitioned from beadwork to mask making. ACR proudly donated materials towards her goal of making 400 masks for underserved populations in Austin. Thank you for using your talents to make our community better!
How did you start creating art?
I started creating art when I was very little – I’ve always loved using my hands.  My mom taught me how to knit and after that, I would read how-to books on all kinds of subjects from friendship bracelets to origami.  As an adult, I’ve kept it up until I finally quit my government day job to become a full-time Beadwork Artist three years ago.  It’s been a wild and wonderful journey!
How does reuse play a part in your art?  
Austin Creative Reuse has been a wonderful source of inspiration and accessibility.  Often times, art materials are hard to come by or can be pricey.  ACR makes it so that I can experiment with tools or materials that I would never think to use or that don’t make sense for me to purchase at full price.  This gives me the ability to create on a grander scale than I could have originally imagined.  With ACR, I have a wealth of materials available that inspire me to stretch and expand my creativity.  

How has your art adapted during the age of coronavirus?

During coronavirus, I began making and selling masks. I was inspired to pivot my business as all of my sources for income had ended.  I wanted two things: to continue creating and to serve my community using my talents.  Mask making was the answer.  During that time, I was donating a small number of masks to people in need but I wanted to do more.  So, I embarked on a BIG project of making 400 masks to donate to Austin’s underserved communities.    


What inspired you to embark on such an ambitious mask-making project? 

The pandemic was really difficult for me as a small business owner and I went through a lot of tough times and emotions.  I knew I had to change and keep creating to keep myself and my business afloat.  Once I started selling masks, I saw that there was a real need and wondered how I could serve those who could not afford masks.  Thanks to my friends at ACR and a grant from NEST Artisan Guild, I was able to embark on this mask-making project and create change for so many people in need who may not be able to afford reusable masks or do not have access.  My business mission is to create joy using my gifts and this project aligns perfectly with my goals.


Where can we find out more about your art?

My shop and information are at: www.LysSantamaria.com or on Instagram @lys.artist 


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