Motifs rooted in pottery, tattoo, and legends

Monica D. Baza discovered art at an early age, choosing to work with lino-block printing in high school when it was offered. She went on to cultivate her talent at the University of Guam and earn her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.

Baza’s exploration has been through drawings, paintings, and linoleum block prints. She also works with acrylics and oil pastels, but tends to gravitate back to linoleum block printing for the process. She prefers water-soluble inks which are more environmentally friendly and acrylic paints or oil pastels in her work, because they allow her to work safely in her home-based studio, keeping out as much toxicity as possible.

Baza’s work showcases the symbolism and simplicity of each subject, drawing from the ancient Chamorros’ pictographs and Guam’s natural picturesque scenes. Baza strives to encapsulate the feeling of the moment and communicates it through her designs and artwork. In addition to pictographs and picturesque scenes, Baza also immerses herself in motifs rooted in pottery, tattoo design, and Guam’s legends striving for clarity and truth regarding Guam’s history and origins.

Baza was inspired by the late Jon Medina, who was an artist and a friend of her father, Juan Untalan Baza. Many of Guam’s premier artists have also influenced Baza, including Filamore Palomo Alcon. Baza credits her growth as an artist to artist gatherings which featured constructive criticism and heated debates about art theory.

Baza has been a part of the Chamorro Artists Association as a founding member since 1987 and participated in the group’s first art exhibit in 1989 at Tan Ana’s Kusina in Hagåtña. Upon her return to Guam 1987 she formed Baza Designs. In 1995, when the business flourished, she partnered with her sister, Stella-Marie Baza, to incorporate the company. Baza Designs, Inc. specializes in art cards, art bags, T-shirts, and fine art.

Baza is actively involved in cultural exchanges as a full-time artist. Off-island participation in the 9th Pacific Festival of the Arts in Belau has broadened her view even further. Baza is presently active in reviving the Chamorro Artists Association. The most recent group art exhibit, “Fakmåta,” took place at the Pacific Trading Club in the Agana Shopping Center during the month of July 2006.

Publications by Baza include, most recently, featured artist in GU Magazine and Guam Now. Her artwork has been featured in Guahan Magazine and the Wave.

For further reading

Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency. “Artists – Guam CAHA.” 11 February 2023.

Humanities Guåhan. Picturing Guam Teachers Resource Book. Hagåtña: HG, 2011.