CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – In her small home studio, Tina Alberni walked us through an artistic process she rarely allows people to see, demonstrating how her Hispanic heritage comes into play.

“This will turn into something very different in the end, I have to start somewhere,” said, brushing the first strokes of paint on a blank canvas.

“This one here is about alpacas,” she said. “Some of the silkiest wool on the planet.”

Alberni finds warmth through her work, almost as if she put on an alpaca sweater. The semi-abstract artist works in a creative flurry, drawing attention to a stark reality.

“When they’re sheared incorrectly, industrially, they’re harmed and abused,” she told Queen City News.

Alberni paints in themes.

Lately, she’s focused on endangered animals. One of her past series included a collection of rooftops. In each series, the commonality is color.

“Color speaks to me,” she says. “It’s a language where I can communicate.”

“If you look through all my series of work, it’s very bright and colorful,” said Alberni.

The art reflects her bi-cultural heritage and fond memories growing up in South America.

“When I was very young, we moved to Colombia, which was only going to be for a few years,” says Alberni.

Her family stayed long enough to make a lasting imprint on.

“The colors that I grew up with,” she explained. “There was the color of life in everything, like from the food we ate to the nature we looked at, to the people we met, to the smiles on people’s faces.”

Her color palette pays homage to Andean culture. 

“From a very young age, I learned about hope and gratitude through the most challenged people, and they were just surrounded by color,” said Alberni. “I can’t explain it, but it was this joy and happiness, so for me, color is joy and happiness. And I associate that with everything I do in my work.”

Her sense of artistic direction may seem random, but her childhood in Colombia still guides her.

“I always bring my paintings to a point of hope in the end,” says Alberni.