Mirvia Sol Eckert

Kenneth L. Woods
︎ Indianapolis

Mirvia Sol Eckert is a Puerto Rican visual artist based out of Indianapolis, Indiana. She uses vibrant colors, grayscale, and abstract imagery within her paintings. Her work is fueled by her love for her Latina roots and she is a force within the Indianapolis arts community. Seeing the lack of support for current Latina artists and remembering how she benefited from mentorship when she first started, she co-founded Indy Latina Artists (ILA) with fellow artist Mary E. Mindiola. This collective seeks to showcase and highlight underrepresented Latina visual artists within Indianapolis. Their first collective art exhibit, A Ver, took place in September at Saks Fifth Avenue in Indianapolis, Indiana.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Kenneth L. Woods: How would you describe yourself as an artist?

Mirvia Sol Eckert: I’m an acrylic painter. I paint an abstract background, I like for that to be the narrative of the subject. I paint a lot of women from different cultures. I like to empower women, so I paint them with their eyes closed because they are getting their strength and power from within. There’s a lot of movement and images in the background that pertains to the actual subject. I would say I’m a stylized representational artist, maybe with a little surrealism here and there.

KW: I’ve read that your Puerto Rican roots play a big part in your art, like your color choice. What other ways does your heritage inform your work?

ME: The culture, the dancing, and the music. I bring all of that to my paintings. Dance is an integral part of Puerto Rican culture, I know that’s why I put a lot of movement in my paintings. The heart of Puerto Rico, the bright colors, the food, the family, the dancing–Puerto Ricans are such happy people. As a people we really try to find the best in everything. That’s why in my paintings I really try to see the best in everything, no matter what it is.

KW: How long have you lived in Indianapolis, and how were you received as an artist when you first started showcasing your work in the city?

ME: I’ve lived in Indianapolis for over thirty-five years. From Puerto Rico we came to New York, so stereotypical right? From New York City we went to New Jersey, I then met my husband in Pittsburgh at art school, and then we came here to Indianapolis. I was always a fine artist at heart, but graphic design is how I made a living. I had some graphic design jobs, and taught art and Spanish. Things ended up not working out and my husband encouraged me to pursue being an artist full time. It was a struggle at first, it took a few years to really develop my style. Then I started putting myself out there, applying and submitting for shows and opportunities.I met this Mexican artist, Rosa Maria, who found out I was an artist and she mentored me. The first couple of years were a struggle because there wasn’t a whole lot going on. This was around 2008, but I got my first solo show in 2010, which was awesome and due in large part to Rosa Maria’s mentorship. I wasn’t aware of a lot of what was going on in Indy. This is why myself and my artist friend, Mary Mindiola, started Indy Latina Artists (ILA). We knew there were a lot of Latina artists in the city who didn’t know what was going on, so we offered them mentorship.

KW: What are some of your personal goals for this collective?

ME: As we mentor these artists, we are still trying to further our careers as full time artists. As of this moment, our focus is getting these artists out there, getting more shows and exposure, but not in the exploitative kind of way. A lot of these artists are very young, in fact, A Ver was the first time many of them ever exhibited their work. They were very excited and we were excited for them. We want to make them confident to network and secure venues on their own, teaching them to talk to managers, directors, and whoever else will listen. It’s about showing the work together and letting people know we are here.

KW: The ILA had its first exhibition, A Ver, at Saks Fifth Avenue in September. “A ver” means to see, so was this show about visibility or lack thereof in Indy? At the conclusion of the show, did the artists and yourself feel seen?

ME: Yes, oh my goodness, yes. There were people who came up to the artists wanting more information, and there was one artist who got interviewed on TV. They got a lot of exposure. We even had some people question, “Are these all Latinas? I didn’t know there were so many Latina artists in Indianapolis!” This is why we’re doing all of this.

KW: You have works in the TINY art exhibit at Gallery 924 and two paintings in the Ginger and Spice & Everything Nice exhibit at the Harrison Center for the Arts. One of the pieces that caught my eye was Never Far Away (2018). When was it created and can you talk about that piece?

ME: That piece is a representation of me. I was thinking of family and friends, especially family that I don’t see very often but I still have them in my heart, so they’re always near me. Because I like to do flowy things, the movement, I put some faces in the hair. Some of my work looks pretty on the surface, but if you take a deeper look at it, you'll see things that you didn’t notice at first. I love when people tell me they notice those deeper things. I did Never Far Away because I was feeling sad. I don’t get to see my family as often as I’d like, especially my mom, my sisters, and close friends that don’t live around here.

KW: It’s part of a series called “Seeing Beyond the Shadows.” What is that series about?

ME: Women are such a mystery. We are strong and I think many of us get taken for granted. I did a portrait of a Moroccan woman, when I visited Morocco, and I was impressed and in awe of these women. There was a quiet strength to them, and this series is my way of highlighting that. I know that “eyes are the window to the soul,” but I wanted to close them, shut that out and focus on the women and their expressions. Some of them are very serene and I want people to focus on what’s going around the image as well as the actual image itself.

KW: You use bright colors, but you also switch to dramatic grayscale work and abstract imagery.  How do you choose which skill set to dip into for a new work you are starting?

ME: When I first did the grays, it was because my father had passed away. He passed away and I just couldn’t paint. It took me a while, but when I did return to the canvas, the bright colors just didn’t speak to me. I still wanted to get stuff out, so I started painting in warm grays, cool grays, black and white paints, and those colors spoke to me. I loved what I was doing and kept doing it. Eventually I did come back to the colors after I felt better. That’s how I started, but I still paint gray sometimes because to me, they are as bright as the colors.

KW: As the art scene in Indianapolis continues to thrive and expand, where do you see your place in the art scene?

ME: I want ILA to succeed, I want to keep on getting shows for them and myself. I just want to grow and expand and explore. There’s still so much I want to do, so many things I want to put in my paintings and my subjects. You can’t grow if you don’t explore, you have to keep doing it. Right now, my focus is ILA and getting my work out there more.
A stylized and monochrome portrait painting of a figure standing in knee-high water and facing forward carrying a large bouquet of flowers.
Mirvia Sol Eckert, We Are One With Land
(2020), 24″ w x 36″ h, Acrylic on canvas

Stylized portrait painting of a person with a light skin tone, whose eyes are closed facing forward, and whose long red and orange hair is blowing to the right.
Mirvia Sol Eckert, Never Far Away (Part of Series: Seeing beyond the shadows)
(2018), 24″ w x 24″ h, Acrylic on canvas.

A largely monochrome painting of a figure in profile, whose long dark hair pools and swirls above their head, and forms a smaller figure and the somewhat hidden words “mis raices”
Mirvia Sol Eckert, Mis Raices
(2021), 24″ w x 36″ h, Acrylic on canvas.

Portrait painting of a figure with a medium skin tone, whose eyes are closed and whose bright blue hair radiates across the canvas in branching straight lines, like a tree or shrub. Concentric hearts appear on the figure’s chest.
Mirvia Sol Eckert, Triumph Above Darkness (Part of Series: Seeing beyond the shadows)
(2019), 24″ w x 24″ h, Acrylic on canvas



Kenneth L. Woods (he/him), AKA “KennyFresh,” is a spoken word artist, writer, poet and author. He’s been servicing both Indiana and Louisville, KY for the past decade. Kenneth partners with non-profit organizations, businesses, and individuals to use the gift of poetry and spoken word to help others creatively tell their stories. In his spare time, Kenneth enjoys reading, hanging out with his pet tarantula, listening to music, and photography.

RUCKUS, 2018-2023
Louisville, KY