Expressions of Mi Cultura
Artists from the global Latino community contributed works for the latest debit cards available through Wells Fargo’s Card Design Studio®.
Three artists were asked to explore an enormous theme — representing what is universal yet distinctive about Latino cultures worldwide — all on a wallet-sized canvas. Their creations are now being showcased on debit cards in the Wells Fargo Card Design Studio® Mi Cultura Gallery.
“We imagined these as a canvas in your wallet that people would be proud to flash out when they use them,” said Monica Marulanda, executive creative director for Alma, an award-winning ad agency with a multinational staff that helped lead the project.
“We wanted to tell a story through imagery that talked about strengths, pride, heritage, the past, the future … we also considered the range of territories that represent us as a people, and there was so much story to tell. That is how we started the endeavor of finding the artists who would help us tell this story beautifully.”
The cards, available to customers with eligible debit cards, feature dynamic and stylized interpretations of the spirit of determination, a festive musicality, and the enduring beauty found in iconic flora and fauna. The Mi Cultura Gallery was also featured in a video on Univision.
The art of Juanco featured in the Mi Cultura Gallery centers elements of history in visual language that feels very ‘now,’ to help represent the concept of heritage.
Juanco, based in Peru, interpreted design elements that reflect pre-Columbian influences on the cultures of American continents — such as Aztec and Mayan, Mochica, Chavin, and Inca — noting their lasting resonance.
He noted that the iconography of Chachapoya and Wari cultures, in particular, have left an impression on him since childhood.
“His work is a representation of what came to mind when we talked about the past and our heritage, and how it is timeless,” said Marulanda, referencing herself and her team, which includes dozens of nationalities.
Mixing the playful and the dynamic, the artist Cristobal Ojeda Newfren presents images focused on musicality for the Mi Cultura Gallery. To bring a celebratory sense of movement and vitality to his artwork, he incorporated stylistic cues from cartoon imagery prevalent in urban Latin America and Mexico.
“The other exploration we thought about was the present: what we are going through right now as Latino people. How do we showcase what moves us?” said Marulanda. “We all hear in our music our roots and elements that are now blending into many cultures.”
The designer and illustrator’s work may look familiar, as he has also contributed works for other brands around the world, including Nike and Chevrolet.
English audio translation
The commission/the project consisted of two illustrations, one that represents a little bit of (being Hispanic) or relates to Latin America … and in the other was (tied to) Mexico directly with Mexican culture. Mexican culture does have some influence on us, because (its rich culture has) so many variables, and so much variety, it reaches all of us in different ways — the ranchers, the wrestling, their colors, their symbols. Everything is so familiar and well known, all over the world. So, I grasped some of that in the style, to represent it, and also (borrowed) from the concept of carnival or the festive nature of these things.
Costa Rican illustrator and graphic designer Erika Zeledon presents careful explorations of nature infused with meaning. Using color, spacing, and knowledge of history, her birds and flowers animate the concept of strength, capture the elemental, and even honor creation.
With the quetzal, a bird that is important in Latin American culture — it was sacred to the ancient Mayans and Aztecs and is Guatemala’s national emblem — Zeledon conveys a quiet strength, positioning the bird around representative plants of Latin America in one of her pieces for the collection. In another piece, she has chosen the high-flying macaw, known for its associations with the heat of the sun and the expansiveness of the sky, juxtaposed with tropical plants.
“Any of us can look up at the sky, and be reminded of home, sometimes seeing migratory birds and being filled with wonder about how they got there,” said Marulanda. “Besides choosing these works because of the wonderful use of color and lines, and knowing they would look good, they help us boil down these big concepts onto small canvases you take in your pocket.”
English audio translation
The representations, the use of these elements, those motifs that are birds… these are birds that are found in Mexico, but that can also be found passing through Guatemala, (through) Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, right? It is something that can encompass this connection of countries, so I use these birds. And I think it is very relevant because it also speaks to (the concept of) freedom in a certain way.
The colors of the birds, say, for example, in the graphic (that is used are) the colors of the flag of Mexico. The macaws’ color is more tropical. And some (of the designs) use plants and that were also important for Mexican culture such as the dahlia - that is the national flower of Mexico. And for example, for the macaw I also made the graphic (depict) that there were a couple of them flying, because for the pre-Columbian culture macaws were animals that approached the sun, right? So that's why I made them close to heaven. … So, I think there is quite an explanation of why the use of these elements (it is not arbitrary), but it is justified as to why both the plants and the samples found were used for the representation of those cards in particular.
Explore our card designs that help celebrate diversity, culture, and community
View the gallery at wellsfargo.com/micultura and customize your eligible debit card(s) with a design from the Mi Cultura Gallery.
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