Riana Espino: Artist, Environmentalist, and Designer

The Universe Works in Mysterious Ways

I’ve always been one of those people who believes the Universe works in wonderful and mysterious ways. The stars align, strange coincidences occur, and everything generally works out how it is meant to, even when we can’t see the big picture from our individual vantage point.

Each job I’ve quit has led to a better one, each decision I’ve made that was for my best interest has brought something incredible with it—like quitting my job to pursue this! I wholeheartedly believe that when we make choices based on our desires and what we aim to manifest, it will happen, even if it’s not in the way we imagined.

Happy Coincidences

Every time Devin and I have had to move has led to something even better. Although I couldn’t see it when we were in the process of packing up and moving, with all the sweat and annoyances that come with it, where we’ve ended up each time has perfectly fit where we are in our lives. Which brings me to today’s Feature Friday, Riana Espino.

Meant to Be

Riana is our landlord, who I instantly connected with from the first day we came to view our new place she and her husband would be renting out to us. We found out Riana and her husband, Mario, are both avid water people, and have an adorable little dog. Plus, they are both fantastic photographers. We all enjoy surfing, and Riana is a real-life entrepreneur who runs her own business from home. I instantly knew this was the place we needed to live in, and here we are!

It’s one thing to know that people start their own businesses; it’s another to see someone who has been doing it. I’ve been so lucky to get to know Riana, her creative process, and to be a model for her in a photoshoot, one of (hopefully) many more to come.

underwater photographer with a professional underwater housing floats in the ocean waiting to get the perfect photo of a wave
Riana in her element

Riana’s Story (Briefly)

Since she was little girl, Riana loved making art; she loved creating with her hands and working in the art studio during her free periods in high school. When she went to college, she pursued a business degree, rather than one in the arts, because she thought that was the more lucrative choice. She kept doing art throughout college as a hobby, and after graduating as well. Art for her has been writing for me: a grounding activity used to destress, unwind, and fulfill her creative spark.

Art is how I communicate. It’s how I see the world.

After a while, Riana realized her passion truly was in art and photography. She went all in, deciding to start her own business selling her designs, landscape photos, prints, art pieces, and so much more. Her wide range of skills and talents means she’s always exploring new mediums to create with.

Resin Art

Originally, Riana’s medium of choice was watercolors. She loved the fluidity and experimentation they allowed her to incorporate into her work. When she discovered resin, a much more viscous, intense, and versatile medium, the literal sky and sea where the limit. She had a long-time passion for aerial photography, so she painted her aerial photographs, adding 3-D elements such as seashells, sand, and rocks to make pieces that come to life.

Photographer Extraordinaire

Besides her resin art, which has extended into coasters, bowls, ornaments, tables, and other homewares, Riana is a passionate photographer. As with her pursuits in making art, her photographic endeavors are wide-ranging. She does fashion, underwater, editorial, wedding, maternity, family, real estate, landscape, and commercial photography, just to name a few.

Dynamism and Beauty

What propels her photography is a deep desire to capture those moments of pure bliss, love, laughter, and joy. She aims to capture the raw emotions of her models, the gorgeous drama of landscapes, and the most heartfelt moments of weddings and family portraits.

Within all of her work there is a powerful tension of contrasting forces. Her fashion photography is vivid and powerful, yet captures the intimacy and brilliance of a moment, while her resin pieces combine accurate sea creature depictions with abstracted waves and patterns. The tension pulls the viewer into each piece, beckoning you to look even closer, just as the ocean does.

There is no planet B.

While Riana wants to make you look at her work, to examine each of the colors’ nuances, she also wants to make you think. Her art is not just about aesthetic pleasure, it’s also about environmental awareness and conscientiousness. Her goal is to share the beauty of the natural world with viewers, while also reminding them of how precious and endangered that beauty is today.

we share an obsession with the ocean

She wants to inspire you to go explore an underwater cave while urging you to take action against single use plastics; she wants to share beauty with you, while reminding you how delicate it is.

Love and Creative Expression

Riana is driven, at the core of everything, by love. Her love of the planet and ocean, her love of beauty and creativity, and her love of others. You can’t fake caring, and her compassion and enthusiasm shines in every one of her photoshoots. I experienced it firsthand in our shoot, and she brings that level of energy and excitement into everything she does.

artist, photographer, and environmental advocate Riana takes focuses on using her art to remind people about the value of preservation and conscious consumption to preserve our planet

As artists, we pursue what we love because we do not see any alternative. We are compelled to express ourselves, to express our desires and passions through our mediums, whatever they may be. In the deepest sense of the word, I consider Riana to be a true artist: passionate, committed, and completely in love.

Art, Love, and our Planet

It’s no secret that our oceans and planet need our help, and Riana’s designs are not just commentary on environmental protection, they implement those practices as well. Her homewares are made to last a lifetime, while her line of canvas bags are exceptionally high quality. They are 100% cotton, made of high-quality metal components, and extremely versatile, thanks to coming with a handy clip-on strap option, so they can be worn as a purse or held as a clutch. All her designs are fair-trade manufactured, too.

Riana not only talks the talk about environmental activism, she and her art walk the walk. Beneath all her work lies a deep and abiding love for the ocean. Her art is inspired by life, and her life truly inspires her art, from her many international travels to a beach walk along her home break. She loves to experience the ocean through diving, swimming, surfing and stand-up paddling, her favorite time being those moments just before a sunset, when the sky begins to glow orange, red, purple, and navy, and the water glasses out along the horizon.

overlapping circles of marine life animals on a blue background of the sea to remind people about the importance of environmental protection
art that reminds us of how precious our planet is

Connect with Riana

The universe brings us together with people who we are meant to connect with and be inspired by, and I’ve been so stoked to meet Riana. She is an incredibly talented artist who is also a mega advocate for our planet, making her art mean that much more. You can view all her designs, photos, and artwork in her website to book a photography session, buy your next art piece, or get inspired to take action yourself.

branding logo for Riana Espino who is a resin artist and photographer in oahu, hawaii, currently residing in Kailua

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