Los Angeles-based visual artist Vick Garaventa uses her Brazilian background to expose an intrinsic restlessness in her drawings, paintings, photography and video. In 2010, she received her BA in Visual Arts from the prestigious FAAP, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. While in college, Vick was granted the top prize of maximum scholarship for her involvement in the Art Annual juried exhibition. Before relocating to Los Angeles, Garaventa produced two solo shows, Animalia and Cognitive Dissonance. Covering over 500 square feet with her work, Garaventa transformed the gallery with her drawing installation of Animalia. Breaking record sales, Cognitive Dissonance nearly sold out the ZipUp 4-year exhibition program. In addition to her solo shows, her work has been featured in several group exhibitions such as the Museum of Brazilian Art (MAB) and the Museum of Art of Ribeirao Preto (MARP).
Hi Vick please tell us a little about you?
I am a Brazilian visual artist from Sao Paulo, and have been producing work since 2008. In 2010, I graduated with a degree in visual arts. Since then, I’ve had two solo shows in Sao Paulo and have participated in various group exhibitions throughout Brazil. As a result, this has influenced my work with drawings, paintings, engravings, photography and objects. While spending a month in a sculpture and special makeup effects class, I fell in love with LA and ended up moving here a year ago.
How did everything start?
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be an artist. I contemplated going to medical school after graduation, but quickly realized that I was better off as an artist. While I was in college for visual arts, I started to understand more of my process and what moved my work. In 2008, I got a photography book called “Freaks,” which had medical and circus photos of people with different anomalies. This sparked my interest in researching the body and how they seem fictional. The natural and artificial worlds are key to my work. At the end, the human existence bonds us all. I want to take them away from this “freak” status and bring them closer to a “common place”.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious, independent and passionate.
Any other artist in your family?
Both my mom and dad used to paint, not as a profession, but in their free time. My dad is also a musician and my sister is a writer.
Could you tell me a little bit about your style and philosophy?
I try to look at things from different perspectives and to find possibilities in the difficulties that appear, other than the opposite. I’m also not afraid of change and like to be challenged.
Tell us about your latest showcase Hysterical Friction: Works on Paper?
Hysterical Friction is a group show organized by Ichiro Irie, owner of JAUS Galley (LA). He invited artists to show at TSA NY, and later at JAUS in LA. My work shown there is called “Siamese Wisdom”, which is a series of nine engravings of fictional types of siamese teeth. They come in a leather box, with a suture line and a siamese tooth at the end. This piece deals with the ideas of archeology, memory, reappropriation, archive and cataloging.
How important was this exhibition for you?
It was my first exhibition in New York, a place where almost every contemporary artist would like to show their work, so that’s amazing. I’ve had a great response to my work in the United States and I’m very excited to see what the future has in store.
What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
I like how once my work comes out of the studio and is shown to the world, it gains a certain independence. This autonomy is where the artist looses the control over it, which broadens the interpretation of a work and goes beyond the artist’s intention. I guess I’d like my works to show my reflections on body representation and what makes a piece whole. There is a thin line between natural and artificial, and what we take as true information and science. These aspects can change at any time and become obsolete.
Who are some of your favorite photographers or artists, and how did they influence you?
I love Marlene Dumas, Kiki Smith, Nan Goldin, Jenny Saville, and Francis Bacon. They all have an intense connection to the body, with a raw aspect to it. I feel that in my work.
How different is art from Brazil to LA?
Sao Paulo, my hometown in Brazil, is a huge (21 million people) cosmopolitan city, very vertical and full of buildings. It’s kind of like New York in a few aspects because both cities are very work driven and a bit more formal in art. On the other hand, Los Angeles is a place where there’s more room for experimentation. Art in Sao Paulo nowadays tends to be more conceptual than in Los Angeles. Both places are great for young emerging artists and have a lot of different, non traditional, art spaces opening up.
What inspires you?
The world and the cosmos – I am obsessed with space. There are so many things… It can be a song, a place, a feeling, an image, a story, a memory, or art.
Best advice ever given?
What does art mean to you?
It’s a huge part of my life and has been for a long time. I can’t see life without it.
Drawing, painting, engraving or photography?
All of them.
What is your favorite project that you have worked on?
The next one. After I finish a project I’m always looking forward to the next one, that’s the most exciting part.
Do you have any future plans you want to share with us?
I have a few exhibitions and projects coming up both in LA and Sao Paulo. I also want to do artist residencies, have exhibitions all over the world, and be able to experience different places and cultures.
Do you have any photography advice to new talent?
I don’t consider myself a photographer, but what I’d say to any new artist or photographer is to find their passion and be true to themselves. Don’t do your work to please other people or to get rich. Be true, work hard, and good things will happen.
What would you do if you weren’t an artist or photographer?
I always wanted to go to medical school.
What do you do in your free time?
I absolutely love to travel. I like to explore places and go to parks and beaches. I also enjoy watching movies and documentaries. Eating food is also a big deal for me.
Where we can follow you?
Book: The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Quote: Paintings don’t die, they just go to sleep
Movie: Big Lebowski
Tv Series: Seinfeld
Actor/Actress: Christopher Walken
Drink: Gin and tonic
Travel Destination: Berlin
Vick Garaventa Photo Credit: Phil Whalen