Karla Diaz

Karla Diaz is a writer, teacher, and multidisciplinary artist who engages in painting, installation, video, and performance.

Self Portrait with Cactus Glasses, 2022 Watercolor and ink on paper 15 x 20 in (38.1 x 50.8 cm)

Using narrative to question identity, institutional power, and explore memory, her socially engaged practice generates exciting collaborations and provokes important dialogue among diverse communities. Notably, she is the co- founder of the socially engaged collective and community artist space Slanguage. Critical discourse is central to her practice as she explores social, subcultural, and marginalized stories.

In her introspection, splashes of color became figures and objects that transformed into scenes of domesticity and city life drawn from her upbringing in Mexico and Los Angeles. Personal memories, folklore, familiar iconography of her Mexican heritage, and American pop culture are intertwined in surreal compositions that consider family, loss, and the complexities of the Latinx experience in the United States. As Diaz expresses, “these works reveal meaning in relation to others, to experience, to memory, to story, to dreams and dreamers, to imagination and to the larger context of home.”

Karla Diaz was born in Los Angeles, CA. She received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2003 and a BA from California State University Los Angeles in 1999. Her works have been exhibited nationally and internationally at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, LAXART, Hollywood, CA; Pitzer College, Claremont, CA; California State University Los Angeles, CA; San Jose Museum of Art, CA; Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, MI; the Serpentine Gallery, London, U.K.; and Museo Case de Cervantes, Madrid, Spain. Her work is in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA, the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas, and Inhotim Museum, Brumadinho, Brazil. 

She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards from Art Matters, New York, NY; Tiffany Foundation, New York, NY; City of Los Angeles, CA; Riverside Art Museum, CA; and CalArts, Los Angeles, CA. Karla Diaz lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She is represented by Luis De Jesus, Los Angeles Gallery.

Photo of Karla Diaz by Aydinaneth Ortiz