Interview With The Artist: Victoria Villasana
| Written by: Tiny House Chocolate
A picture, colours and texture. For the textile artist Victoria Villasana, these three elements are more than enough to produce her unique art.
Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, she applies embroidery to pictures of artists in her portraits, street art, and installations, using vibrant colors and uncut yarn, that fall out of frame, creating a disruptive 3D fantasy. Inspired by pop art, expressionism, and surrealism, she often chooses feminist icons, such as Frida Kahlo, Beyoncé, and Nina Simone, as well as celebrities and politicians. The use of embroidery is her nod to female empowerment.
After studying design in Mexico, Villasana spent over a decade in London working, where she became well known in the street art community for her rebellious femininity and cross-culture imagery. Since moving back to Mexico, she continues to collaborate with street artists, in addition to her studio-based embroidery.
TH: How did you start working with street art?
I started out of pure curiosity. One day, when I was living in East Dulwich in London, I went to get some milk and I saw a guy putting a tiny paste up in the corner of the street. I felt an urge to speak to him, but because I was having a bad day, I continued walking. Then, after I came back to my road, I saw what he left. It was a really cool paste up of miniatures with shadows. I googled him and he happened to be Mexican too – his name is Pablo Delgado. I came back to my house and I saw piles and piles of my collages with embroidery that I’d been making in the past years as a hobby, and I thought to myself perhaps I should paste these on the streets, instead of having them in my room… Why not? So next weekend I went out and put them around East Dulwich, then Shoreditch, and everything started from there.
TH: Have you always worked with textiles?
In the last few years, I have, but I’ve done painting, sculpture, collages with 3D elements, fashion, and floristry. I used to be really hard on myself for being such a jack of all trades, but I can’t help it, this is who I am. I learned to make the most of my abilities. Working with fabric makes me feel connected with inner rebellious femininity. Embroidery is undervalued as just a ‘woman’s craft’ – but it is something that reminds us of all those amazing women in our lives that nurture us.
TH: What moves you to create art?
Everything moves me – since I was a kid I always felt a really strong urge to create. I felt my best when I was making things and I think we all do, I think humans are naturally makers and creators, that’s why we can connect through art easily. I’ve always been concerned with social issues and art became a good medium for me to express them.
TH: How do you choose the people from the portraits you work with?
I started using portraits of people who I consider visionaries as well as vintage photographs and cross-cultural portraits. They are people that I admire and that for me have been unique in their field, breaking the norms.
TH: What do you do when you are not doing art?
White chocolate, despite being usually seen as unhealthy, is not only delicious but also has varied benefits. Artisanal I love walking and dancing, music is the fuel of my ideas and it helps me to connect with my feelings and emotions. I love reading about anything, especially when it is informative. I love literature and philosophy and I love being lazy whenever I can!
TH: In these relaxing moments, what is your favorite recipe with chocolate?
TH: If you were to gift anyone – alive or dead – a bean-to-bar chocolate, who would it be?
David Bowie and David Bohm.