Sunday, February 21, 2010

Artist Interview: Victoria F. Gaitán

Victoria Gaitan
I must admit that I've only come across the really intelligent and impressive work of Victoria F. Gaitán in the last year or so, but in that short period of time I've seen this talented artist mature and quickly ascend in the DC area art scene, including being one of the "Sweet 16" artists picked by ubercollector Mera Rubell for the upcoming WPA "Cream" auction at the Katzen Museum. DC Art News asked Victoria a few questions:

DC: Who or what has been your biggest influence as an artist?

I tend to draw a lot from my own head, so I guess just trusting my own process. That said, I still swoon over 16th-18th Century painting and am an avid movie watcher and book reader. For some reason I tend to get hit with a lot of images and ideas while watching crappy TV shows late at night with the cats or while I'm in the shower.

DC: What are some of the challenges or mistakes that you have experienced as an artist and what did you learn from it?

The biggest mistake that I've made was allowing myself to be shamed and swayed into producing work that just wasn't 'me' in the interests of 'commercial viability'. Never again. From this I learned that your soul doesn't have a price, and if someone is telling you that what you make is total shit and that you and it are worthless, it may be time for you and your inner Elvis to leave the building.

My biggest challenge is the ever present old chestnut that everyone has to deal with, of not having enough money to produce the work from concept through completion (e.g. exhibition). From this I've learned that being an artist ain't for sissies.

What key event, or person, if any, has attributed the most to your success or progress as an artist so far?

I'd like to thank a fucked up past and a willful neglect of reason. I had an incredibly supportive art theory lecturer (hi Jim!) at art school whose friendship and faith in me were invaluable, and for which I am eternally appreciative. My husband Alberto is my marrow, and a saint, allowing me to bring a seemingly endless stream of people along with all manner of crap and evisera into the apartment and regularly turning it into a blackened-out hell hole with hot lights. But, my biggest touchstone will always be my Father.

DC: Do you use a method for pricing your artwork?

This is something that I have a lot of trouble with. I think I've got a shaky skeleton guide; a certain pricing system for gallery work and another for commissions.

DC: Have you done any of the art fairs? If so, does your work do better at the fairs or at the gallery shows?


DC: What advise would you give to emerging artists?

Listen to yourself first and foremost, your gut won't lie.

Who is your favorite DC area artist?

Alberto, of course! I also really love the work of James Rieck, Brandon Morse, Sarah Knobel and Mary Coble.

Anything coming up in the near future for you?

I have two photographs, (Hole No.1 and Hole No.2 from my Hole series) that were selected by Mera Rubell for the WPA's auction "Cream" at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center that runs until March 7th.

I also have a photograph (Untitled) in the show 'Empty Time' curated by Trevor Young at the Fridge DC gallery that runs until March 3rd. As well as about 5-6 photographs (from my series Sweet Meat) in the show 'Beautiful: Virginia Women Artists and the Body' curated by Joanne Bauer at the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) that opens on May 1st. Also at Jeffry Cudlin's show By Request at Flashpoint in June 2010.

There are plenty artists still to photograph, and the ceaseless boat load of filthy-dirty, grubby-grimey and oozy shoots.

Anaïs Nin

Anais NinToday is the birthday of Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell, the Cuban sex virago who is perhaps best remembered as a diarist and as a writer of erotic tales and seducer of nearly everyone who came across her incandescent life.

Other than her famous diaries, Little Birds and Delta of Venus are my favorite books of erotica.