Her name is Sofia Maldonado, and she is a 26-year-old native of Puerto Rico currently living in New York. She is an artist, specifically her trade is murals. She has been working with skateboarders since the early 2000s and her work has been seen all over the world, most recently in New York’s Time Square, Amsterdam and Havana.
Maldonado unveiled her skatepark ramp murals for Payne Park in Sarasota, Florida as part of Beyond Bling: Voices of Hip-Hop in Art which which began on May 21 and ends on August 14. The Ringling Museum commissioned Maldonado for the project (Ringling Museum’s Associate Curator of Art Matthew McLendon is seen in the picture above with Sophie and the completed murals above). She got help from local skaters from Sk8skool, who took over Payne Park, as well as student volunteers from the Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences and Booker and Southeast high schools.
Does Maldonado even skate? Well according to Sophia ”I cruise,” she said, laughing. “I cruise and do my little surfer moves.” Good enough! It looks like she’s doing a pretty good job of it, riding over her own murals.
Beyond Bling: Voices of Hip-Hop in Art “brings together artists who, in the first decade of the 21st century, have provocatively incorporated signifiers of Hip-Hop/street culture into their work.” So time to check out some art! Adult admission is only $10 and $5 for children (17 years and younger) every Thursday from 5PM to 8PM.
(All photos courtesy Ringling Museum of Art, shot by Peter Acker)