- Claudia Salazar is a self-taught artist whose work can be found on sneakers, t-shirts, leather jackets, and more. Her childhood trauma led her to create and find opportunities for healing.
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Florescent colors flow from Claudia Salazar’s brush to cover the swoosh on a pair of Nikes. The white space now pops with blue, pink, and yellow.
Born in Peru but having lived in York for eight years, Salazar creates items that reflect the vibrant Hispanic heritage she has carried with her across continents.
But the beautiful colors she puts on a canvas, t-shirts, sneakers, or even leather jackets are more than just a representation of her background — it’s a sign of her healing and the life that can come out of trauma.
‘Something beautiful in life’
Salazar first picked up a paint brush when therapy wasn’t enough to heal from the sexual abuse she experienced and the domestic violence she witnessed as a child. With no formal training, art became whatever she needed it to be.
“I wanted to show that there can be something beautiful in life, and that despite the dark things I had lived through, my art did not have to reflect that,” she says. “My art could reflect the way I saw the world and the bright, beautiful place I knew it could be.”
With an interest in clothing design, her brush found its way from the canvas to apparel, and she soon started adding her own touch to clothing. Her work has been worn by musicians, other artists, and people who admire the way she transforms an average article of clothing.
After displaying her work at community events and on social media, the love and support she received influenced her to open a storefront — Claudia’s Artistry — on West Market Street in 2019. Within a year, though, the effects of the COVID-19 shutdown forced her to close her doors.
“I felt for everyone,” she says. “My community, the businesses. There were so many people impacted in so many ways this past year.”
Building back her business
Salazar has a studio above the Brewer’s Outlet on East Philadelphia Street where she continues her work, growing her brand and offering her items online.
Like a lot of entrepreneurs, she wants to create items that are widely accessible but also honor her talent and help her grow her business. She’s learning that balance and pushing herself to refine her business skills.
“I’m so grateful to be able to use my self expression to create something that other people want,” she says. “People wouldn’t know what I’ve gone through to get where I am today, and I’m proud of that. I am more than those experiences.”