As Crystal Latimer stood at a Wal-Mart in Escazú Costa Rica, she felt as if she was experiencing that moment in late autumn when you realize that all the fiery reds and oranges had faded and fallen to the ground. Her life had been a staccato of visits to her mother’s native Costa Rica, and she felt in that moment, that she was experiencing the dilution of a vibrant culture.
Latimer's paintings explore the hybridity of Western and Latin American identity. Understanding hybrid identity and its coexistence within historical context does not assume a position in words, but in shape. Embedded in her compositions is the Latin American culture: its intricate folk arts, tropical flora, and warm hues; while graffiti tags, bold mark-making, and images of conquest interrupt this metaphorical skin. Patterns, both traditional and commercial, are fragmented and pieced together. Colors infused with Latin flavor are diluted by a ubiquitous white. Organic, blooming shapes are contrasted by flat or rigid fields. Her paintings use the tools of paint and brush to consider the colonization of Latin American, and its continual role as “colony” to Western society. Without taking a political stance, Latimer aims to draw attention to the visual tapestries and unknown histories of this underrepresented area.
Latimer was born in Hollywood CA but grew up in Ellwood City PA. In 2010, she received her BFA from Slippery Rock University. She then went to on to receive an MA and MFA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2013 and 2016, respectively. After graduating, Latimerl taught several courses at Penn State New Kensington and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney and has lectured at Slippery Rock University and Carlow University.
Her artwork has been shown extensively in both solo and group exhibitions, including at the Pittsburgh International Airport, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Chautauqua Institution, The Mine Factory, George Washington University, and Framehouse and Jask among others. She has exhibited her artwork in Hong Kong, China, as well as participated in a residency at the Joaquin Chaverri Fabrica de Carretas in Sarchi Costa Rica. Latimer's paintings have also been featured in Local Arts PGH, Art Maze Magazine, Ruminate Magazine, and Fresh Paint Magazine. Her paintings are included in both public and private collections including those of Indiana State University of Pennsylvania, PNC Corporate, and the Benter Foundation. She is currently a full-time painter and Studio Director at Radiant Hall Susquehanna. She serves on the Board of Associated Artists of Pittsburgh and her artwork will be included in the upcoming Wyndham Tryp Hotel in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh.