I come from a long line of artists, craftsmen, poets, and musicians. So, it’s not a surprise that the art bug bit me early. But as the daughter of a Chilean immigrant and a Salvation Army social worker, I have always been message-based with my creations. My mom, Lucy Guerrero, was a talented photographer, embroiderer, and macramé artist. She volunteered with The Salvation Army serving the homeless and needy. She died at twenty-nine when I was just eight years old, but I remember her telling me as a little girl, “Guerrero means warrior. You are a warrior. Fight for others!” I took her last name as an adult to honor her memory.
Meanwhile, my father, a planning consultant for nonprofits, is also a gifted photographer, poet, and visionary. He has dedicated his life to social service. Because of my parents’ influence, my mixed media mosaics convey messages of empowerment, pride in culture, and my commitment to social justice.
Today, I spend a great deal of my time chasing bad guys as the Chief Investigative Correspondent for Inside Edition. It is an incredibly stressful and dangerous job. People ask me all the time about how I can be so brave. My upcoming memoir WARRIOR (Hachette, 2023) will give people practical advice on how to tap into their inner courage.
Fifteen years ago, I began studying mosaic art as a way of decompressing from my career on TV and focusing on making beautiful things out of broken pieces. That’s what I love about mosaics…they are a metaphor for life.
I started a line of mixed media backsplashes called Kitchen Bitches. They are a series of women from different cultures questioning gender and ethnic stereotypes with humor and attitude. I used recycled glass, ceramic, mirror, kitchen utensils, and vintage jewelry. They’ve been shown in galleries throughout the country. I made my first one because back then, I wasn’t much of a chef, so I thought the only thing I was cooking up in the kitchen was trouble. Hence, my first kitchen bitch!
My most recent project has been a series of Frida Kahlo mixed media mosaic portraits. Like many Latinas, I consider her my favorite artist, and she represents beauty, strength, passion, and a fearless devotion to social justice as well as to her lifelong love, Diego Rivera.
I do a lot of speaking about being brave, but for some reason, I had a hard time tackling my Frida Kahlo series. I was worried about not doing her justice and kept getting in my head about what I wanted to do. Finally, I overcame it simply by scrolling through her work line and watching the movie about her starring Salma Hayek. I decided that as an artist, the best thing to do was simply create from a place of love. I poured a glass of wine and began sketching her likeness on wood.
In each piece, my Fridas wear vintage jewelry and a different locket. Inside each one are photographs of Frida and Diego.
I’ve created art with a call to action: “Be strong. You are a Warrior. Fight for others!” I think my mom would have been proud.