Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Artist Interview: Joanna O. dela Rosa

What is your name: Joanna O. dela Rosa

Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist: I minored in photography at St. John’s University with a concentration in studio arts. But my major was in Journalism and Mass Communications at NYU. I plan to pursue my MBA in Marketing and International Relations at Fordham University.

What is the style of your pieces: I love delving into the world of abstract and surreal with a hint of reality emerging every once in awhile.

What is the medium in which you work: When I’m immersed in painting, I like to use oils for balance and equilibrium, and acrylics for texture. In the world of photography, I like to work both in the traditional sense and the modern aspect of surfacing in the digital world.

What started you on your path as an artist: Art recruited me at a young age after we immigrated to the United States from the Philippines. I spent long hours after school or during the weekends working on projects of the creative nature. I had no friends when I was younger. Books and paints were my friends. It became my process of dealing with transition. For a 10 year-old, change can be daunting. Not only was I being uprooted from my home, but the days I knew would turn into nights. Rain would turn into snow. My connection to the cousins I grew up with was a telephone or speaking to a cassette tape, detailing to her the days that turned into months and now years. Art served as an escape for me—a sanctuary that took me out of my loneliness to shape and transform me into someone I would someday recognize.

What is one of the most important things that art has brought to your life: Passion—my soul is fueled with it.

What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in: I have no one “favorite” genre. I love and hate them all. There are days when I like one more than the other, and then you remember that these are artists who convey stories through visual imagery. In one image, we’ve become lovers, friends, enemies, families, and strangers in many a single moment.

Do you have art showings, and if so what are they typically like: I’ve been fortunate enough to share my art with my cousin, Amalie Nanoz, who is also an artist based in Washington, D.C. She studied at the Corcoran College of Art & Design. We recently had a show at Green Spaces NY titled, “Through the Looking Glass: Human and nature seek meaning through art,” in which Amalie hoped to interpret landscape through sketches and sculptures by digging deeper into her personal narrative and using provincial landscape juxtaposed with the noise that suburbia has come to define with the intrigues of shapes and lines. Similarly, I wanted to stir up emotion through the language of fantasy and reality by studying someone I knew, a friend—Tricia Montage, who joined me in this exploration of connecting with an icon among girls and their fairy tales—Alice in Wonderland. Tricia embraced the project and wrote some poetry in which she became one with Alice. Except the Alice we saw reflected in the mirror was a friend exposed and naked to life’s verities.

Do you have a certain set of clothes you make art in: I love jeans and tanks—very sexy. I think there’s something hot about a woman in jeans and white tank top peppered with a bit of blues, greens, and yellows.

What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist? Art isn’t about the money. But money does pay for equipment and supplies. So yes, alas, money can be frustrating. You just have to remind yourself that it isn’t everything. And neither should art. It’s the harmony that we must come to terms with.

What is your favorite sandwich of all time: I love peanut butter and jelly sandwich with sliced banana in the middle or a Spam sandwich.

Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so what are they: I’m just happy I was able to inject some creativity into my life this year. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with friends as I involve them into my many projects. I’ve learned to be more patient and understanding.

Who is your favorite artist alive or dead: For the longest time, I’ve been quite impressed with Steven Assael. That’s all I will say. Google him.

What is the most moving piece of artwork that you have seen in person: Jovy Sasutona—he is a foot and mouth artist in the Philippines.

Do you have any animals, and what do they think of your work: Unfortunately, no pets. But my fiancé’s brother’s friend, Kurt Patat, has introduced me to Brady who will always have a place in my heart. I’m not too sure if Brady likes my work, but he definitely loves American Idol!

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you would like to share with us: I’m currently working on a project titled, “Unmasking the Naked Truth,” which I’m hoping to showcase in the Fall, maybe October and November. Just a little bit of info on this one—it’s an exploration of the different masks we wear, experimenting with duality of nature and multiplicity. Sometimes, it’s not how it seems.

A little blurb about myself:

About Joanna O. dela Rosa For Joanna O. dela Rosa, motivation and inspiration stem from the challenges life chooses to present. Born in the Philippines, her cultural roots are influenced by the stories and experiences of her family—her grandmother’s death left her father at his youth, abandoning him to face his own adversities and learning to survive the streets and squatters of Manila. Her mother shared the same hardships, brought on by a country faced by greed and depravity. Their experiences help shape and mold the person they are now, and the person Joanna longs to be. Having the Filipino culture ingrained into her upbringing, married with the American attitude, it is evident how her perception of life has left an indelible imprint on her commitment to the arts. To Joanna, art is as integral to life as the oxygen and blood in her veins. Joanna currently lives in New York City. Future exhibits of other series will be held in late summer/early fall. For more on Joanna, please visit her website at http://www.joannadelarosa.com/.

If you are an artist or gallery and would like to do an interview email sivy221@aol.com

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