Briefly describe the work you do.
My artwork develops through material and media investigations in relation to personal and global concerns. I work in a range of forms including assemblage, installation, performance and writing.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
Seminal studies in textiles and contemporary sculptural forms engendered my interest in the subject of materiality itself. And I began to comprehend matter as mutable and therefore emblematic of the ephemeral and unpredictable nature of life as it is lived.
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.”
My one room dwelling is also my studio. There is little distinction in my days between living and being in the studio. I enjoy this blurred boundary, although there are times when the practicality of eating and sleeping for example, are infiltrated by my studio practices to points of distraction.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
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?
I find that I work whenever time allows. I do try to make sure that I can be free of other obligations for extended periods of time so that I can allow for a free flow of thought and activity.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
During the last five years I’ve had less access to technological tools, and so I’ve moved away from those kinds of projects. This is not to say that I have not not remained interested and cognizant of these formats; just that I do not have that hands on capability presently. I have simultaneously worked on more intimate projects while also working collaboratively, which has been a new experience.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
Family and friends have not had much of an impact on my work. Philosophers, writers and other artists most definitely have: Eihei Dogen, Marguerite Duras, Leonora Carrington, Lenore Tawney, Sheila Hicks, Eva Hesse, Julia Kristeva, and many others.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
I have not been pulled in other directions. My other interests include philosophy and the physical sciences.
Valerie Constantino is an visual and literary artist, working with a range of traditional and experimental art forms. Her seminal studies in textiles and mixed media led to broad investigations of materiality and contemporary hybrid forms including film, video and performance. She writes: In consideration of the mutable qualities of natural and synthetic substances, the study of materiality remains for me the most apt poetic agent in relation to human and worldly conditions and the migratory nature of my own being. Constantino maintains an ongoing exhibition record, and an active interdisciplinary practice. She has taught and lectured at a number of academic institutions, most recently at California State University in Sacramento, California where she currently lives and works.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.