Stephanie Mercado is an interdisciplinary artist and art administrator, born and raised in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, to a family of self-taught artisans. Stephanie grew up spending time in her family’s upholstery business, her mother’s fabric store, and around seamstresses, carpenters, and craft workers. Her artwork and artistic practice are centered on the workforce, manual labor, and empowerment. Her imagery is eclectic, inspired by lived experiences, cultural references, and the fusion of traditional printmaking with experimental practices. Mercado’s print-based collages are comprised of relief carvings printed on handmade colored papers. The labor-intensive work pays homage to the working hand, historical traditions of craft, and professions rooted in labor and labors of love. Her experience around tradespeople introduced her to the tools, craft, and strong work ethic that is necessary to survive in Los Angeles. Her creative practice is a combination of trades and media, including painting, printmaking, fabric sculpture, video, and design.
She is also an art administrator and teaching artist, passionate about empowering people to explore their creative potential and increasing access to art education and cultural experiences. She believes art and culture have the ability to teach people to design one’s life and help them manifest their goals and dreams through the power of imagination and creative thinking. As an art administrator Stephanie has managed an art gallery working with hundreds of artists, designers, curators, and scholars. She has worked in the film industry as a costume-maker and as an archive and production assistant. Stephanie has also worked in development to help increase access to art education in the communities of East Los Angeles. She is on the board of directors for the California Society of Printmakers a 110-year-old international printmaking organization and is a member of Art Table, a national organization of women in the arts.
Stephanie’s portraits pay homage to workers and their contributions to society. Some of her images weave pop culture references or historical paintings to create new narratives that explore how images influence our cultural experiences and values in the current day. She incorporates organic elements to reference the natural world and the larger role we play as interconnected human beings. The floral bouquets are used as a metaphor for growth, flourishing, and flowering into being. Previous bodies of work have examined and interpreted how history is recorded through the fusion of historical imagery with contemporary pop culture. The intermixing of the elements reveals how the power of images has influenced American culture and the American Dream.
Stephanie received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing and Painting from California State University Long Beach. In 2021, she was awarded a community focused public art mural for the 3rd & Dangler affordable housing complex in East Los Angeles, by National CORE. In 2020 she was awarded a Metro poster commission for their Silver Linings Series and an artist residency at Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, NM. She has exhibited nationally and internationally including exhibitions in Norway, Italy, Spain and British Columbia. Her work can be found in the permanent collection of Metro Arts LA, the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, Texas, Tamarind Institute of Lithography’s archives at the University of New Mexico, and the Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, Georgia.