Briefly describe the work you do.
I am a mixed media, sculpture artist. My current work deals with the liminal moment after a disaster- primarily a natural disaster. Where our preconceived notions of stability cease to exist, yet our primal need for survival urges us to continue on with hope. In essence, the place where fear and hope reside, where destruction and reconstruction are side by side.
I like thinking of my work as untraditional memorials of sorts, to our surrounds. The work I make ranges in size, from large installation to small intimate miniatures. These changes in size, of my work, that usually devoid of any color, can be either threatening to the viewer, or with the scale switch, the viewer becomes the threat.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
I am a New Zealander, and as an expatriate living in the United States, I often wander the streets of my hometown Christchurch/ Otautahi in my memory. My hometown was a beautiful city, (it still is, in it’s new different form) known as ‘The Garden City of the World.’
These ‘memory tours’ of mine became significantly complex when on February 22nd, 2011, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake devastated the city, killing 185 people, and drastically changing Christchurch’s architectural and natural landscape forever.
My fascination is of the shelter systems we have made, to protect people, and how sometimes these systems fail, yet we continue building in the same ways that are unsuitable and/or unsustainable, we often do so out of necessity.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
I am lucky enough to have a home studio, where I can pop into easily. (Which is incredibly convenient for when I am firing my ancient electric kiln, or have a piece I am working on, that needs consistent attention -as working with clay often does.)
I incorporate intense making periods in the studio with bouts of research, archiving thoughts and images in a sketchbook or stashing them in my memory, culling through books, magazines, blogs and websites for color, construction ideas, whatever seems to pique my curiosity, or obsession in that time and place.
I am keenly aware of observations in our landscape both natural and architectural, and try to hold these observations for contemplation.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
The amount of solitude that making requires, and reconciling my desire to make, with that of connecting socially with other beings. Also, the intense amounts of vulnerability that comes with making work that is sincere! Vulnerability is bittersweet. I am also an art educator, teaching studio art and art history, is an endless entity, and fun vocation unto itself, I didn’t think I would love teaching as much as I do!
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
Currently I have two part time jobs, so I carve out time in the afternoons and-evenings, to be in my studio. But, the best time for me to make art is when I think I am done, and I stay in the studio a bit longer. Magical things can happen then.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
With time, I am growing a material arsenal to pick from when creating my work. So in that regard, my work has changed, through this broadened use of ingredients. Consistently though, the concepts that my work deals with, has always been about memory of place, both imagined and real.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
I am fortunate to have had some massively supportive professor-mentors in my life, who are extended family to me. And I’m grateful for my family and friends are the greatest cheerleaders I’ve ever met, especially Joan Buck, my mum- she can whip up a batch of scones, before you finishing latching the front gate and walk up the front path.
Some other artists, whom I admire are; Judith Hopf, Carol Bove, Urs Fischer, Manfred Pernice, Rebecca Warren, Grayson Perry.
I love Tina Fey and Chelsea Perreti for the laughs.
I also love instagram.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
Before I went to art school, I rock climbed a lot. I dream(ed) about taking a year off, following good weather to good rocks, and living out of a van.
Other ways I currently occupy my time is that I am also a floral designer; I view floral design as a form of sculpture, using impermanent colorful material. I see a lot of color being incorporated into my work, soon, I think.
She is currently a practicing artist and art educator, in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. Victoria completed her BFA at Sierra Nevada College, Incline Village, Nevada, with a concentration in Ceramics, and Digital design, among the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in Lake Tahoe.
Recently, she received her Masters in studio art as a graduate of Ceramics, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she was also an instructor of record, in foundations in art and ceramic sculpture. Victoria is currently an Instructor at Pellissippi State Community College, Maryville, Tennessee, and a visiting Instructor at Arrowmont School of Art and Craft, Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.