Vivienne Diaz LaPens


Therese (Honey), my great aunt and namesake, was a gifted weaver in the 1960s. Sitting by her side as she passed, my mother noticed that they shared the same hands. At that moment, she promised Honey that she would use them to create beauty.

Imprint illustrates my self discovery through my lineage in the arts, gaining a deeper understanding of myself through those hands that have crafted and documented their lives.

My mother's father and grandfather were passionate photographers; they collected cameras and expressed affection for family by documenting the intimate details of their lives. This influenced my mother, Christina, who similarly began her pursuit of photography as a teenager. She explored many artistic mediums, but her love for image making brought her to New York.

My Abuela—from the Dominican Republic—supported her family by running a dressmaking shop where my father, Joel, learned patternmaking and tailoring at a young age. He made his first dress in her shop when he was twelve. He is now a fashion designer and multi-talented artist who has built a successful atelier in the garment district of New York, a city where he has lived since the early 1990s. As a child, I grew up surrounded by mannequins and sewing machines—passing him straight pins as a toddler.

Stumbling upon my parents’ works from their youth—vintage family photos and passed-down textiles—enthralled me. I found myself wrapped up in exploring my family’s deep roots in art, which will forever remain an evolving body of work.
Growing up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with an artistic family, Vivienne Diaz LaPens is surrounded by a wealth of creativity. After receiving her first camera in elementary school from her mother—who also pursues photography—Vivienne discovered that her camera enabled her to connect with her subjects and build new relationships. Vivienne has taken courses at the International Center of Photography, Pratt Pre-College Program, and the Art Students League, exploring photography and fine art. She is currently a student in ICP’s Teen Academy Imagemakers program. With a strong passion for psychology, Vivienne envisions her photography evolving as a student at New York University Tisch School of the Arts—using her lens to catalyze social change and empowering voices through art.