Attention Grabbing Art
RONI VELA Art that gets your attention
STEAM Ok I’m just going to jump in here, because these paintings are so wonderful. Did you go to Morocco, is that how were inspired for these?
RV No, I’ve just always been drawn to that area and the mystique it represents; just the whole feeling of the area, so that’s where my inspiration came from.
STEAM I really like the eyes in “Longing”; they draw you in. Just beautiful! Are these the only pieces in the series?
RV No, there are a few more that have found homes with other people and one that I kept of a camel; I fell in love with it and just can’t let it go.
STEAM Now see, I couldn’t be an artist for that reason; my home would be filled and I’d never sell anything!
RV I was like that for the longest time. Now there are some that will always stay with me, but I’m OK with finding homes for my art work.
STEAM I see you make jewelry too.
RV Yes, I do lamp work (glass blowing). I get to play with fire! How cool is that? It’s like magic watching the glass turn into liquid and then morphed into whatever my imagination wants.
STEAM I really don’t know much about lamp work, so how do you get the different colors mixed in and do you make vases or glass horses?
RV Color is added by mixing in colored crushed glass (it looks like sand crystals) or glass rods that you melt in to your work. No, no vases or horses; although I was asked to make a dragon, but I haven’t yet. I stick with the small scale items because I’m working with a torch and the glass has to stay consistent with the heat source. To be able to get into larger items I’d need a much bigger workshop.
STEAM Tell me about your sculptures. They give me a very organic and earthy feeling.
RV I call this series “Celestial Orbs” and I really love them. I’ve always felt like I came from another planet and when I was little I would just observe and try to take everything I could in because I felt that’s what I was supposed to be doing. So these represent my vision of “home”.
STEAM Is that how you got into art, by observing?
RV Well, it seemed like a natural thing because I needed to express my observations. I have tried just about everything drawing, paint, print making, ceramics, photography, and lots more. Right now I’m working with chalk pastels.
STEAM Which medium is your favorite – that keeps drawing you back?
RV I think I love painting the most because it’s so fluid and liberating; you can push it in every direction you want, there are no boundaries. Whereas sculpture it has limits. I also really enjoy print making, which includes screen printing and wood cut; I love the look and meditative process in carving out your design, and the end look of your work. I also love linocut, which is carving in linoleum – it’s murder on your fingers, but I really enjoy it. I participated in La Calaca Press III International Print Exchange and every once in a while I see that my print is being shown somewhere around the world – I didn’t get to go to Australia, but my art did!
STEAM I have to go back to the eyes in the faces – you are so good at grabbing the attention of the visitor through the eyes. The picture draws your attention, but the eyes keep you there!
RV I just enjoy exploring and expressing all the ways a face can move. It came from when I was in high school and I would draw these crazy faces with big eyes and open mouth, because that was pretty much what art class consisted of: here’s a pile of paper and a bunch of pencils, now draw. Not too long ago I came across a few of those drawings and thought “those should be paintings!”
STEAM So tell me about “re-VELA-tions”.
RV My sister, Geri Vela, and I opened the store in July, because we were looking for another outlet for our art. We want it to be an evolving shop with vintage clothes, Dia de los Muertos costumes, and cool pieces we’ve found and repurposed or restored and full of our art. We are getting more involved in ATC (artist trading cards) and have a full display of both mine and Geri’s work.
I’ve been working outside with the chalks since we opened the store; it’s been a great way to get people’s attention and then invite them in to shop.
STEAM Well, I can see why you’d want to be outside! You have a nice view and lots of greenery. Of course, I’m that curious kind of person that would be behind you asking questions.
STEAM So, what is an artist trading card? Are they copies of your work shrunk down to the size of a card?
RV No, each card is an original piece of work. The only rules are that it be trading card size, 2½ by 3½ inches. They can be three dimensional, made of cloth, metal, paper, or whatever you use to create your art. The whole idea is to make original pieces affordable for everyone. I think it would be awesome if more artists in the area started doing this. Just think you could go to Artwalk and come home with 6 pieces of original art for the price of one larger one. And they fit nicely into frames.
STEAM I think re-VELA-tions has a very South Congress (Ausitn TX) feel.
re*VELA*tions @ 505 S Water St, CC TX 78418, Facebook.com: artfulalchemy, ReVelations