Azure Dee Baez is a Puerto Rican painter who was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She specializes in painting subjects reflecting the culture of her country and its Taino roots. She studied Graphic Arts at Atlantic College High School and has a certificate in Advanced Painting from the University of Puerto Rico. Azure uses watercolor, acrylic and gouache to express Taino culture’s references to the supernatural world, the three dimensional and the subjective. Her work also reflects the abstraction of continuous contemplation and the fusion of cultures.
In 2008 she set up her microenterprise “Di Azul Art Designs” after losing her job. To overcome this crisis, she began to invest in her art business and attended classes at a talent and modeling school until she became pregnant.
Azure suffers from a cerebral illness diagnosed in her teens which requires daily medication. She had to leave her job to look after her health and that was when her cash-flow problems began. After surmounting a number of problems, amongst them the loss of her car, she decided to reinvent herself and began to sell her work at prices that range from USD 4 to USD 30.
2012 marked the beginning of a new phase of her productive activity, when she received her first loan from Microfinanzas PR for USD 600, which Azure used to buy materials and inventory with which to make her artistic creations. Since then and up to now she has taken out eight credits, for a total of USD 4,950.
Thanks to the funding from Microfinanzas PR, has managed to develop a successful business, selling her artistic creations at town fairs and festivals. She also has business customers who commission larger numbers of pieces, including well-known stores which sell souvenirs from Puerto Rico to foreign visitors.
To complete her income she also works part time in a fast-food restaurant. Although her business is going well, having a steady wage is helpful when her sales are less buoyant. With eight loans from Microfinanzas PR she has succeeded in expanding her micro-enterprise and doubled her inventory. But what Azure values most, above everything, is that she has succeeded in improving the quality of life for herself and her family.