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Visual Communication (MA)

Crysta Jewel Dela Cuesta

Crysta Jewel Dela Cuesta (she/her) is a Filipina-American multidisciplinary artist and designer from Los Angeles, California. Working primarily in graphic design, craft, painting, and photography, Crysta’s creative practice is about play, exploration, and human connection. She is passionate about collaborating and building a community with fellow creatives and like-minded individuals and experimenting with various media, themes, techniques, and visual styles that allow her to effectively communicate and engage with a wide audience. 

Crysta holds Associate Degrees in Graphic & Multimedia Design and Studio Arts from College of the Canyons and a Bachelor’s Degree in Art with an emphasis in Communication Design from California State University Northridge. She is a Snap Design Academy alumna and a Royal College of Art Graduate Diploma alumna. Through the partnership of Snap Inc. and the Royal College of Art, Crysta has received a full-ride scholarship to pursue her Master’s Degree in Visual Communication at the RCA. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, go to exhibitions, travel, listen to music, and, eat and enjoy different types of food. 

After graduating from the RCA, Crysta hopes to become an art director one day. In the near future, she is interested in working as a designer in contexts that celebrate all forms of creativity, embrace differences, and encourage the growth of team members and clients. She strives to inspire others and to use her platform as a designer and visual artist to contribute to a better world. 

The image presents a young Crysta dressed up as The Little Mermaid next to the Virgin Mary and Santo Nino statues.

In her practice, Crysta aims to connect with others through conversations about identity, community, and culture. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California, Crysta has always been interested in being immersed in multicultural spaces, and more recently, connecting with her roots has been crucial to her practice. She is committed to educating herself about Filipino, Asian, and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) history and producing multidisciplinary works that honor her cultural heritage and embraces the pain and joy of modern womanhood. Through her current research, she aims to decolonize her mind and empower her younger self and fellow daughters of Filipino immigrants by confronting the deep-rooted effects of colonialism on contemporary Filipino culture and the complexities of family dynamics. 

Books by Filipino writers and academics such as Brown Skin, White Minds: Filipino - American Postcolonial Psychology by Dr. E.J.R. David (2013) and Pinay Power: Peminist Critical Theory edited by Melinda de Jesús (2005) have been fundamental to Crysta’s research. These texts have inspired her to create work that highlight the important values of community, kindness, and service in Filipino culture, amplify the voices of Filipina feminists, and interweave her own ‘herstory’ about navigating a dual cultural identity. Crysta’s work invites the public to learn more about the Filipino-American experience and to tap into their own inner child. 

The image presents a refurbished second-hand, wooden dollhouse with three floors and five rooms.
BayanihanExploring the notion of ‘home’ in a new environment, Crysta has refurbished a dollhouse to represent a typical Filipino-American household, share her family history, and highlight the important values of community, kindness, and service in her culture. She uses craft techniques and tools to create miniature reproductions of personal items, family heirlooms, and cultural artifacts. In this work, she invites the public to learn more about the Filipino-American experience and tap into their own inner child.
The image shows the wooden dolls gathered around the table for a feast in the kitchen.
The image shows the family room.
The images shows a miniature version of the artist's 'Research Diary.'
A wooden peg doll sits on top of a miniature chair in front of a desk.
The image shows a book called 'Peminist,' with an orange acrylic cover and binded with silver rings/
PeministPeminist is an annotated reader comprised of extracts from Pinay Power: Theorizing the Filipina/American Experience, a collection of essays about Pinay (Filipina women) history, experience, and future from 2005. The book, edited by Filipina-American writer, Melinda de Jesús, includes critical works by Pinays of different generations and varying political and personal perspectives to encapsulate the history of the Filipina American experience.
A gif showing different pages of the Peminist book.
Annotated pages of Pinay Power.
(From left) Pinay Power, Crysta's Research Diary, Peminist, and Brown Skin, White Minds (2013) by E.J.R David
A poster with digital portraits of the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, and St. Joseph
JMJDrawing the connections between contemporary fandom culture and religion (i.e. Catholicism)



Snap Inc. x The Royal College of Art Scholarship