Once in while we come across an artist that we think have a unique set of skills and presentation. Today we speak with Veronica Fernandez, an honor student (“junior”) at the School of Visual Arts. She is a strong experiential artist that sometimes adds music to art to create a story for her audience.
An interview with SVA Experimental Artist Veronica Fernandez.
The Daily Onion: Good Morning Veronica, How are you?
Veronica: I’m good thank you for this opportunity.
The Daily Onion: Its such an honor to meet you, the artwork is incredible. What made you want to become an artist?
Veronica: Since I was younger I’d always draw in my free time, and went from making silly books and comics to making drawings in pastel that were larger in size and starting to explore concepts I was interested in. In high school I took AP Art and AP 2D design, two programs that were new in my school that a few students and myself were kind of guinea pigs for. I worked around different concepts and ideas and practicing my skills and during my first year at SVA working with different mediums and materials expanded on that. It became more about the excitement that came with creating things and sharing it with others. Seeing others passionate about that as well also made me interested in the field and the unique individuals that involved themselves in it and I decided that this area of unique minds that are capable of the beautiful, grotesque, and unknown is where I belong.
The Daily Onion: You said your biggest mentor til this day is your High School Art Teacher. Who is he? What has he meant to you?
Veronica: My high school teacher was Mark Galasso, an amazing teacher at Ridgefield Park Junior Senior High School; I worked with him for 6 years and during that time he basically watched me grow creatively and saw potential in me as an artist. Having him as a mentor for so many years allowed me to practice different skills I didn’t think I had, and he made me really realize that I love what I do and that I love to create. I felt grateful to have met someone who until this day has done nothing but supported me both as a friend and mentor and always looked forward to what I was working on next.
The Daily Onion: So you graduated High School as President of the Arts Honor Society and member of the National Honors Society, thats amazing. You decided to attend the School of Visual Arts in New York. What made you decide on SVA?
Veronica: Well I wanted to stick to a school in the city because I loved the energy that came with New York and rush. Every time I went I knew I was gonna be exposed to something different that I don’t see everyday, which includes an atmosphere of various arts from Broadway, to the MoMA to the graffiti that stamps buildings on the west side. When I visited SVA and saw everything they had to offer I just couldn’t miss out on it, and since it was in the urban environment I wanted I thought I’d give it a try. Guess it worked out since I really do love my school.
The Daily Onion: And now you are an Honor student going into your Junior Year. How have you found your experience there?
Veronica: I found that the teachers especially in the Honors Program are just amazing. They’re genuinely interested in you as an artist and friend, which makes you more open to be yourself in the classroom and studio. My professors understand that we as students need sleep and have other aspects of our life going on and they’re still ready to support us and it feels good. It makes me WANT to learn because not only is the curriculum great and covers so much, but also I’m not feeling like I have to give an arm to pass a class or something. I know junior year is going to be more vigorous and I’m honestly excited for it. This school makes me look forward to the next year, and it’s made me feel prepared.
The Daily Onion: You just recently studied abroad in Rome, What was that experience there like? There must have been a culture shock.
Veronica: Rome was awesome, and definitely something I’m grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of. The classes were super informative, and I was honestly just in shock at how much I was missing out on. We walked with our sketchbooks for hours and visited so many historical sites, churches, museums, and parks. Honestly if I didn’t eat so much I probably would look like Shaun T, we literally hiked and walked so much everyday. But yes,also ate ALOT everyday and so here we are. There were literally ruins everywhere, I mean it was nuts how old something could be and what it stood for, and to have cars driving under it like it was a highway billboard. It was definitely hard at first, just in general being away from home and having to adjust to the culture and learn Italian to communicate with people just to ask for half a pound of cheese or something. Nevertheless I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything because I’ve just seen so much while I was away that my eyes just couldn’t take back. I’ve just been given so much. Being home now I realize that I haven’t taken time out to appreciate a lot of what I already had and that’s changed for me. Now it’s definitely the little things.
The Daily Onion: Alright Lets talk about the video, What was the inspiration behind the video?
Veronica: The video is called “Honest” and reflects intuitive self-expression in the individual. I gathered a few students from SVA and one friend from FIT and had them use the rooms they were in as a Canvas to create their own works using paint and their bodies as the brush. This video was more as a form of art therapy in which they were able to create freely with inspiration coming solely from whatever they felt they wanted to express from their thoughts. At the end of the video each person or pair ended up creating a room that had an originally piece made from them.
The Daily Onion: Where did you guys film it? Was it difficult to organize?
Veronica: The video was filmed at The School Of Visual Arts. I had wanted to rent out installation rooms but the timing during the year was busy so I was only able to rent out one for a few days. This was a challenge just because after you use a room you need to paint it white again so the next student could use it and my video basically required the walls to become drenched in paint splatters or smears; I had redo the room three times, sanding it down and painting it over white to make the room new again for the next student I brought in to participate in the video so they’d have clean walls. My coworker Tremaine helped me out with this, so I was pretty grateful. It was my first time creating a video like this though (hell I’ve never picked up a camera like the one I used) so it was a little wonky when it came to organization but I made whatever I had work. Also there’s no locker rooms, only wash rooms (which included a big sink and a hand soap dispenser and maybe a sponge)..and shooting I basically had to scrub down each student so they wouldn’t go home covered in paint. This resulted in a good hour of messy laughter from everyone that participated so it was a pretty fun experience.
The Daily Onion: It seems like Art has been set free to be more open. What do you think of the new age art that is now being introduced?
Veronica: I think this freedom in the artwork in regards to everything already kind of being done is kind of weird to think about. I mean you have art teachers telling you nothing you do is original anymore, and I guess if that’s true it wouldn’t hurt to keep doing what you love and creating. What’s important to me is creating, not even just pieces themselves but concepts or images. You can take the inspiration that already existed and create something different that reflects yourself instead.
The Daily Onion: What Does Veronica Fernandez like to say to her potential viewers as they go check out your artwork?
Veronica: I hope that what I create evokes something in my viewers. Anything that compels you to look more than once, or never again is important because in some kind of way it means something and by that I mean it creates something in you that makes you pay attention, it gives you a kind of role in the experience… and this evocation opens up a space for you to become apart of it, and exposes something you didn’t know existed within yourself.
The Daily Onion: And of course in this day in age there is also a critic, anything you would like to say to them?
Veronica: The littlest and simplest of things have value in creating something new and opening your mind to completely different ideas; remember to pay attention to what you usually wouldn’t and use them to create more.
The Daily Onion: Alright thank you for your time Veronica, again an amazing pleasure.