Born (1988) and raised outside of Vancouver, Canada, Sonia Pacheco discovered sculpting in Los Angeles in 2012, when she stepped into her first class while six months pregnant and trapped in an abusive relationship. Thus began her career and journey of healing.
Over the past eight years, Pacheco’s challenges intensified, yet she persisted to continue studying and expanding her sculpting practice. Today, Pacheco works out of her home in Los Angeles where she resides with her daughter Ava, exploring new techniques, materials, and applications. Her work reflects her hardships and her hope, her past and her present, carrying a message of strength for all who encounter it.
Clay is my saving grace. My sculptures are physical manifestations of strength, resilience and healing.
With the guidance of a mentor, I learned to relish in clay’s forgiving nature, a material that asks little of me, except to be shaped. Channeling the turmoil and pain I faced — trapped in an abusive relationship, pregnant and alone in a country not my own — my signature figurative forms arise from rigid blocks of clay. The human bodies paired with animal skulls of my first collection, Animalistic, reflect the undeniable darkness in my life; they also recall a childhood of days spent out in nature surrounded by the elements and creatures of my hometown Pitt Meadows just outside of Vancouver.
My sculptures are a journey of progress toward freedom and powerful emotional reckoning. As I began turning these forms into new expressions, the central themes of my work are also expanding in pursuit. Darkness remained but new light and life emerged. Through trial and error, I learned how to cast in hydrostone and grow crystals on my forms, building on a technical foundation of my past while creating a present that I desire. This latest collection, Sacred Fool, is the culmination of a relentless nature and the product of 12 months of quarantine — dedicated to raising my daughter, Ava, and immersing myself in studio practice.
These sculptures confront the debilitating effects of verbal and emotional abuse. After years of suffering in silence, I hope to empower those who may be facing similar circumstances. Each piece captures a steadfast spirit within, the version of ourselves able to overcome any obstacle and to emerge stronger and wiser. As I continue developing techniques and applications, my work retains purposeful integrity and vibrancy, which portray a life I model for Ava.
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