10 Questions with MARIA ORTIZ-HAYNES


1. Do you listen to music while you create, and if so, what is your favorite?

Yes, of course! To connect to my heritage (Cuban and African-American), I listen to Salsa music a lot – El Gran Combo, Celia Cruz – and Classic Soul music, as well as 40’s music like Duke Ellington and Count Basie.  Also, to change the mood, I love some classical as well, especially Vivaldi and Yo-Yo Ma.  All of these genres transport me to a tranquil, creative space and for me the music still lingers in most of my finished work.


2. When did you first start making art?

I was affected and inspired to create a mosaic after my first trip to Cuba (my mother’s birthplace) in 2013.  In 2014, I decided to try memorializing the beauty and color I saw there.  I’m not a painter, but years ago I had done a few small mosaic projects.  So, I decided to use colorful stained glass as my palette and after completing that first piece I realized I had lost track of time and had immersed myself in creating a mosaic style that I think is unique.  I start with drawing my design on a surface, then hand-cut the glass, glue the pieces on and then grout and seal the finished piece. There is no electricity involved, no grinders, etc. Everything is hand cut. I love the whole process and as I am a self-taught mosaic artist, my art continues to evolve.


3. Who or what influences your work the most?

My culture and heritage – Cuban and African American – are my greatest influences. A blend of Salsa and Soul.  I find beauty in the modern as well as ancestral inspiration.  I long to draw my viewer into a tangible display of the beauty of my culture, bright colors, movement and an underlying story in the nuances of each piece of glass.


4. Do you have a goal with the pieces that you create?

I am a mosaicist specializing in stained glass.  I like to say that I create non-traditional mosaics since most people only think of mosaics as the small tile pieces (tesserae) that you see in Roman and Byzantine ancient art.  I also do non-traditional stained glass work as people generally think of stained glass in terms of Tiffany lamps or church windows.  I have combined the two to create my own style that I believe is fine art. Using stained glass as my palette, I like to create my mosaics by blending the two art forms to bring about a fluid, painted effect.  I also hope to introduce my viewers to another way of looking at both stained glass and mosaics.


5. Which current art world trends are you following?

I am attracted to any bold and colorful expression of art of any kind.  I don’t follow many trends and like to set my own.  I shy away from being too influenced by art trends so as to keep my art uniquely mine.


6. Where can a consumer find your work to purchase?

My website (yborcitymosaics.com) contains mosaic pieces that are currently for sale – just leave me your contact info or email me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  I am also available for commissioned work from photos, images or abstract art.  I love to take a client’s idea and description and create a one-of-a-kind work of art.  I hope the consumer will be drawn by my bold use of color as well.


7. What female do you look up to most and why?

Without a doubt my mother, Margaret Odom, was the most influential person in my life.  She was the best mother and grandmother and strongest person I have ever known and taught me so many life lessons that stay with me to this day; lessons I have passed down to my own children.  I also have several other women that I greatly admire and have learned from:  Maya Angelou, Frida Kahlo and Michelle Obama, to name a few.  They are all at the top of my list because of their courage, daring and bold expression.


8. What is your idea of a perfect weekend?

Any time spent with my family is the BEST!  Especially, a weekend at the beach, eating good food, playing games, and great conversations.  The love is palpable when we are together.  Just quality time and of course if I can combine the family time with working on my mosaics – PERFECTO!


9. What do you hate?

I hate cruelty of any kind, especially human against human, and injustice, prejudice and discrimination.


10. What is the single thing that brings you the most joy?

GOD!! My relationship with God through Jesus Christ is everything to me.  He maintains and sustains me, my family, my health, finances, relationships and most assuredly, my art.  The Joy of the Lord is my strength and He enables me to find joy in all these aspects of my life.


MARIA ORTIZ-HAYNES   -   www.yborcitymosaics.com 

Maria Ortiz-Haynes is originally from Paterson, New Jersey and is a proud resident of Tampa’s Ybor City.  She is a self-taught mosaic artist.  After a trip to Cuba (her mother’s birthplace) in 2013, she was inspired by the brightly colored art work she observed there.  Her work is flavored by her family’s roots from Havana to Key West to Ybor City.

Her signature work is unlike traditional mosaics and brings a vibrancy and complexity to her unique style of using hand-cut pieces of stained glass of different sizes and bright, bold colors that blend to create an overall fluid, painted effect.

Her work blends her Hispanic and African-American background.  She invites you into her mosaic scenes to examine more closely what makes up the bigger picture – to explore all the hand-cut pieces that make the whole. 

Her work has been exhibited at Ruth Eckerd Hall, The Glazer Children’s Museum, The Art Center Manatee, The Morean Art Center, Old Hyde Park Art Center and is included in several private collections.

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