We had the good fortune of connecting with Caro Tejada and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Caro, what’s the end goal, career-wise?
To empower future generations with the best version of themselves through the arts by means of mental health education. In this way, the end goal is to go beyond what already exists.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Tell us about your art.
I am an abstract painter. One of my paintings has evolved over the course of 10 years into an award winning art project! It is a blue robot I named, HOPE.
I started this project to reenforce healthy thought patterns in the community through the arts.
After talking to an initial small group of children, (while doing research for my art), I realized that there was a need for this initiative.
To date I have talked to over 400 children about Hope and what they feel it means. Hope is an important discussion because it stimulates our perceived abilities to achieve our goals from an early age. Since mental health is highly connected to early childhood programming, I truly believe this kind of work is priority.
We are so proud to have collaborated with foundations and family oriented events such as the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, the Little Lighthouse Foundation, Operation Kids Safe, the Lotus House, Chapman Partnership, Urban Promise Miami, Gwinnett Public County Schools, the Ronald McDonald House, the Dan Marino Foundation, and EducateTomorrow.Org.
We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others
As an artist, it is important to me to be original, as well as consistent, in conveying a message of hope. I explore this concept through my paintings, my designs and my art program. My collection is unique as I apply elements of my artwork into my pieces. If you shop my lifestyle brand: Carohtbr, you are shopping art and hope.
What are you most proud of or excited about?
I am so proud of being a grant award recipient! To have been recognized by the Jorge M. Pérez Foundation for our contribution to Miami’s vitality and cultural life is nothing short of an honor.
I am also super excited and feel very optimistic about our next project. We are currently raising funds. $5000 is the goal. Funds being raised will be used to acquire audio equipment to launch the first project of its kind for underrepresented children in Miami. We will bring self empowering, critical thinking educational art workshops to a controlled group and track their progress.
How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy?
I got here organically by following my truth, my enthusiasm and love for art, painting, marketing, creativity, psychology, sociology, entrepreneurship, fashion, friendship, mentorship, but most importantly: an innate curiosity of an existencial character.
I wanted to be a psychiatrist when I was a child, and I firmly believe that I would have ended up advocating for the same cause but through a different channel/route/talent. That’s what happens when you follow your heart!
How did you overcome the challenges?
Challenges have been catalysts for meaningful personal and professional growth. I have always believed in the best of me. This habit allows me to bounce back every time I experience failure. I am grateful to be wired this way because it allows me to bring myself back up again and again. In this way, I have built on my strength and weaknesses always trying to improve and develop as time goes on.
But I will tell you that one night, in some of my darkest hours, I experienced an epiphany of Hope. I wanted to gain more insight about this concept, because I didn’t understand why I was struggling so much with my mental health. I truly feel like hope found me, and ever since then, I have been on this beautiful journey.
What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
I have learned that there is so much that we as individuals have to learn on our own out there in the real world. So why not start reenforcing these ideas at an early age?
Our thought patterns become deeply ingrained habits as we get older, but there is a lack of opportunities for children to practice self empowerment in the educational system. The sooner we empower our children with mindfulness knowledge and self empowering skill development, the better off their lives and the world will be.
What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Mental health is finally losing its stigma which presents the perfect opportunity for brand recognition in that space. I am a mental health advocate and I am happy that my Hope the Blue Robot is getting recognition as a symbol of mental health. I will gladly continue advocating for mental health awareness through my art program, my paintings and my designs. Thank you for helping us shape a better world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love Miami so much that I became a commercial realtor! I have a lot of passion for local businesses and here are my favorites:
I am a foodie and a fan of local gems, Sagra Pizza Bar is at the top of my list. There is always nice ambiance, cozy lighting, live music, the best service, and delicious authentic Italian flavors.
Blvd Baes is another great restaurant that never fails in its quality and exceptional service. Delish.
Another local gem is Katana, Japanese restaurant since 1993! A must in Miami.
Wynwood: Suviche for Ceviche and Veza Sur Brewing company for a tasty happy hour!
Lung-Yai Thai Tapas in Calle 8 is a must! (I am clearly a foodie.)
Tinta y Café for Cuban coffee, tostadas and pastries…
Terras rooftop on a Friday night. Awesome views and great DJ sets.
I love jogging away all those calories around Surfside Beach.
If you like motorcycles and coffee, I recommend: Imperial Moto Cafe. Miami’s Original Moto-Inspired Coffee Shop.
The Design District is a walkable area with a lot of bars, restaurants and luxury retail brands!! Absolutely love this area for a delightful hangout and shopping experience.
I am very inspired by the city of Miami and welcome any newcomers! I hope my recommendations are helpful.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Special shoutout to my road family, especially Michael Smith, (a collaborator from the start), as well as Derek Nelson + Jonathan Bourrouet both illustrators of the project.
Link to donate: : https://gofund.me/4a81217c
Personal picture by Edgar García @scoutlightback