ALEX: Hello! Today’s Deaf Business Spotlight is Duppet Puppet, owned by Diana Lopez from Southern California. She is a Deaf freelance artist who makes various creative art that express her experiences of being a Deaf person. Convo’s Melissa will take us there!
MELISSA: Hi, I’m Melissa Yingst, Southern California Community Curator for Convo. Today I am visiting Duppet Puppet at her art studio. Let’s take a look!
DIANA: Hello! My name is Diana Lopez. This is my sign name. I am an artist. I started this business, “Duppet Puppet.”
When I was growing up, people controlled me and I had to suffer through speech training. I felt like a puppet, they were controlling me. This went on for 17 years. It was a struggle growing up.
People looked at me like I was different because I am Deaf. I am gay. I am Mexican. And a lot others. I was discriminated. It made me frustrated. That’s why I thought, “Duppet” and decided to start this.
What does the “D” part mean? It means Deaf. The D word replaces the P word from puppet. So it’s a Duppet Puppet.
I started drawing when I was about 13. I moved to Idaho and I was lonely. I was Deaf and a Mexican with white people everywhere. I was alone, bullied, and people didn't want to be friends with me. I was sad and as I walked through school, I saw an art class and decided to go in. The teacher was there eating lunch. She motioned for me to come in, but she didn’t know how to sign. We talked on pen and paper and she was fine with it.
She told me, “why don’t you express your feelings on art?” She gave me a sketch book. When I got home, I started drawing. Whenever I felt sad, angry, or frustrated, I would put those emotions into art. It made me feel better.
MELISSA: What does skeleton mean to you?
DIANA: There is a Mexican cultural meaning behind this. Do you know, “The Day of the Dead?” This is it in an ILY handshape. You know, we are all the same, we are human no matter what we look like or our skin color. That’s the meaning behind it.
Do you see the different colors here? The meaning behind it is the gay and lesbian rainbow. The skulls are related to Mexican culture, too. And it means we are the same no matter what we look like or what we identify as — inside we are all the same, we are humans.
When I set up a booth, a lot of people would see it and tell others about the “new artist” with new artwork. People would come and I was very touched with the support. They would ask me what the art meant and when I explained it to them, they would buy it, saying they had the same experiences. It was inspiring because it meant I was not the only one. I was touched and I am proud of myself for showing the world that I’ve become a success.
ALEX: Wonderful message from Diana and those are very creative art pieces. You can follow her on Instagram @duppet_puppet and if you want to buy her art, you can contact her through Instagram or Facebook.