Who is Andrea Montaño Meza, winner of "Trazos migrantes"

"Trazos" is the third prize she has won. The first one happened in 2009, when she won the New York Society of Illustrators Contest. Then in 2016, her work ranked 8th place inThe Clip Studio Paint Illustration Contest.

"Aguas", winner of the "Trazos Migrantes" open call
Bogotá, D.C.Bogotá, D.C.

When Andrea Montaño decided to participate in the Unit for the Victims open call "Trazos migrantes", she wanted to show what it meant to fight against the flow. In many ways, this has been her life and that of the Colombians who left to seek new directions or to flee because they are conflict victims, as it is the case of her and her family; they left the country in the year 2000.

In mid-September 2022, she learned her work “Aguas” had been the winner among 30 selected works that came from various countries. In “Aguas”, a young woman floats in the middle of a transparency, calmly, with a sad look and joined by a fish.

“Those are waters where you must go against the tide, where you feel like you're in a storm, but you have to keep going step by step. The water interrupts your path”. Andrea wanted to draw something honest, so the best definition of the winning entry in one word is pain, pain against adversity.

She left the country to Miami when she was 14 due to death threats against her family. They lived in Barranquilla in peace. His father, Víctor Montaño, a social leader from Tasajera, had two brothers murdered and he was also threatened.

Years later Andrea attended Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, where she lived for four years. Today she lives in New Jersey and is a successful illustrator, comic book artist, and portraitist. There she lives with her husband, Timothy Sparvero, an illustrative artist who has always been supporting her causes. He works in design and illustration for companies like Drawing Booth or Markosia Comic.

There is a common denominator on her portfolio: her illustrations, for the most part, are women who play a leading role. Their determination is important, "because it shows their soul and it makes their gaze look alive and powerful within the illustration", she explains.

From a very young age, she loved art. "I always spent time drawing, so it's a passion I grew up with," but it was also fueled by the children she taught at the Cristo Rey School, who saw her as an artist.

She submitted her work in “Trazos” thanks to her father. The idea came from the deep need to express her feelings regarding emigration. “I tried to reflect how hard it is to be an emigrant. You always feel like you're against the tide, like the English language,” she says.

Andrea aspires to pay for advanced illustration classes with the prize. She wants to continue in the field and update herself, because like any good professional artist, she knows that to perfect her craft she needs to practice and the opportunity to exhibit to her peers.