It was an image of a Nicaraguan woman holding both a rifle and a baby that inspired artist Ivette Cabrera to pursue an artistic career.
"It made me realize that women have different roles that they play within their society," she told A Plus. "That image coming out of that revolution and Nicaragua was basically the first thing that started to make me realize that there was this different way that women see themselves all over the world."
The interior architect-turned-illustrator moved to the United States with her family at 3 years old during the Nicaraguan Revolution that occurred between 1979 and 1990.
For the last four years, Cabrera has spent her time making sure her art conveys a similar message by combining her architectural experience with fine arts.
"Art now for me is essential," she said. "If a message doesn't get across, I'm just not doing my part as a citizen of society."
Her new series, Monarch, has been in the works since last summer. After moving to a little house with a yard, Cabrera was inspired by nature and decided to research influential women from different countries to study them. Throughout the series, the women she draws each wear a headdress to convey the message that "every woman wears a crown."
Cabrera eventually realized she could combine two ideas of what it meant to be a monarch: the metamorphosis a monarch butterfly experiences, and the one it takes for a woman to be a powerful queen and woman.
The image below is inspired by Wu Zetian, the only Chinese woman in the country’s history to rule as an emperor.
"Merging those two concepts is an interesting way to experiment as well with design style and also continue the process of creating pieces that have specific women in history that were powerful," she said. "Being a woman is not just the sole entity of saying, 'I am just the mother, I am just this powerful role I've been placed in in society, but also understanding that there's a balance in nature that's also a balance with women and men and learning that process."
In light of recent events such as the Women's March on Washington and protests across the United States, Cabrera said she feels that people are "waking up to the way that they've been treated for a long time," and that it's essential for conversations about women's rights to occur to break the stigma that feminism is an anti-men movement.
"Feminist movements are about empowerment for women and that's the same thing that my art is about," she said.
When it comes to the things that Cabrera has learned about herself as an artist, it's all about learning about different cultures, precision, and keeping your intentions clear in your work.
"As an artist, I've learned that a lot of focus and dedication needs to be spent on creating art in order to make it successful," she said. "It's not enough to create art, you have to really try to refine the skill as an artist because the message could be washed out very easily."
Cabrera's long-term goals include continuing to illustrate powerful women and bringing art to students across the United States and abroad.
"I hope that I'm able to make a real impact in schools for children, that's my main thing that I'm working for because it's not just about the message, there has to action behind what you're saying," she said, "and I feel like a lot of young girls and a lot of young kids don't have access to art. If I'm able to make, if I'm able to be successful then my goal would be to give back and to give other people the same opportunity that I had just by learning art, just by being exposed to it. "