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Finding Home

By Jill Bold

Photos by Anna French

Doricelys Martinez’s humble yet happy beginnings moved artist Anna Pham French to reflect on how to illustrate her inspiring story. Reading about how Doricelys’ family struggled through poverty, medical issues and homelessness, Anna is surprised by her strength, even as a child. “I love just how selfless she is,” Anna remarks. “She’s totally in 100%.”

Anna’s cover art mirrors the multifaceted and bold woman that Doricelys is. The bright colors and each element of the cover paint a picture – a snippet – of Doricelys’ personality and mission. Anna contemplated painting with watercolors or acrylics but opted for the digital form as a faster and more versatile palette. Approximately 12 hours of labor went into creating One To Know Issue 10’s cover art.

Anna relates to Doricelys’ story of resilience and transformation in her journey to become the artist she is today. 

Throughout her adult life, Anna has evolved from an English major at Ohio State to a mother to a Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate focused in visual communications to a child pastor and finally an artist and art teacher. 

“Being in ministry really helped me to see that I liked working with kids,” Anna explains. The former elementary art teacher and longtime Arlington resident now teaches art at Trimble Tech High School.

OTK: What were your creative outlets growing up?

APF: As a child, I loved art. But I was in orchestra at the time. I was playing music that never allowed me to actually take art in middle school or high school, so I just did art for fun. It was more like a fun thing. I was also really interested in writing as a teenager.

OTK: What was something new you learned from Doricelys’ story?

APF: I think the thing that really stuck out was the suitcases … just the hope it provided for everyone that got one – that hope. There’s hope in having a suitcase. The hope is to not be homeless one day. To be able to have somewhere to settle down and put roots down. So that’s why I did the house inside the suitcase.

OTK: What other meaningful images did you incorporate into the cover art?

APF: I painted native flowers from Puerto Rico and then from Texas – together, with the Puerto Rican national bird in the upper right hand corner. Where you’re from or where you are – they’re so important.

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