International mixed media painter and sculptor Corina S. Alvarezdelugo thrives experimenting with new materials and techniques. Her work has been shown in juried exhibitions including the prestigious Salmagundi Club in New York. She has won several awards from major organizations in CT and in NYC. She has exhibited at venues worldwide: in South America, the Caribbean, and throughout the United States including Arizona, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Brooklyn (DUMBO) and Manhattan, in New York; also internationally through web based galleries.
Corina is a member of many distinguished artist societies including, the New England Wax, IEA, MassWax, Guilford Art League, the New Haven Paint and Clay Club, the Society of Connecticut Sculptors, the Connecticut Women Artists, and the Pen and Brush, Inc. of New York. Her works can be found in private collections around the world.
Corina was born in Valencia, Venezuela. Her first formal art training came during her teenage years under the guidance of Venezuelan painter and sculptor Luis Alvarez de Lugo. As a young adult, she continued to study fine arts at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT and attained her BFA in Studio Art with Honors and Distinction in Art from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT. She currently lives and works in the Greater New Haven area, CT – USA
Carrie: Welcome to Artist Strong! Can you please describe your artwork to Artist Strong readers?
I approach my work as a fascinating challenge to overcome while capturing the essence of an idea, or feeling by organically shifting between media to enhance my exploration during the creative process. The use of a circle, a sphere or a spiral is present in my work and helps me to find the underlying core of unity, in expressing both my inner and outer worlds.
As any artist, I have gone through progressive stages. Today, some see me as a visual storyteller, since my work always has something to say to the viewer. As a concerned citizen, sometimes my works have taken position on some troubling issues of our time: global warming, our environment, violations of human rights, and on the tragedy being lived in the country where I grew up. Most often, my work describes my inner journeys through visual images.
Carrie: You’ve just started a residency at the prestigious Vermont Studio Center. How did this come about? What do you plan to work on during your residency?
Ever since I got my degree in Fine Arts, I knew the next step for me was to attend an Artist-in-Residence program, because of all they have to offer for the creative mind, and which better to apply to than to the prestigious Vermont Studio Center, one of the largest international artist’s residencies in the United States.
The Studio Center comprise of 50 resident artists and writers that I could be a part of. As well as to be able to attend talks/slideshows by the established visiting artists and writers, and to have them visit my assigned studio there and offer critical feedback on my work, it’s priceless. This opportunity was not one to miss.
Therefore, as soon as I realized I could take some time off of my daily routine to dedicate a month to just research, reflect on my work, and produce a new body of work, I started applying.
Each time, I applied for the fellowships they offer, as it was the only way for me to be able to attend. Of course, this made my chances to get in slimmer, but I’m always up for a good challenge. Thus, after my third time applying, their acceptance couldn’t have come at a better time for my work. To that end, I was eligible for partial aid (a merit-based grant and work-exchange).
At the residency, I’m doing lots of reading, and forcing myself to do expressive drawing exercises on large pieces of paper, to shake things up. Things, I don’t get to do in my own studio because of the lack of space.
Since my work, many times tends to be so personal, I feel drained after I finish a new body of work. My last series presented in a Solo exhibition, in particular, took a big toll on me as it touched so close upon my personal life, and that of the people I love. But I must move on. Therefore, participating in the studio center’s vibrant community, and having access to its state-of-the-arts facilities (for a four-week marathon) will definitely help me shake out the demons, and come up with a new series, in preparation to my next Solo exhibition to be held in September.
…And I’m excited to say, that good things have already started to happen. Even faster than I had expected. I was not wrong when choosing this place to come to, but… I dearly need additional support to be able to afford my stay. That’s how I got started with my crowdfunding campaign.
Carrie: How has crowdfunding helped you as an artist?
I have learned so many new aspects of my career, thanks to this crowdfunding campaign. For starters, I had to learn how to make a video. Which was not an easy task, especially filming myself with my cell phone and no one to hold it for me, and/or to give me feedback as I was recording. I still feel that I could have done a better job if I have had more time to prepare for it, and had recruited some people to help me with it. Lesson learned!
I’ve also seen the kindness and support from many people (not necessarily close to me) who have shown to believe in me, and who want to help me succeed. Knowing that there are people out there rooting for us makes one think that we must be doing something right. That extra stimulus makes me work even harder in achieving good results, so they feel proud of having helped me out during this time.
It’s not about the monetary amount, but the gesture of the help itself that speaks the louder than words can. Even if they can only give $1, or just a share of my campaign, with a comment to their friends so they feel compelled to donate, that’s all it takes. I’m already so grateful to so many people, and I’m dedicating my residence to all of them, and to the ones yet to come forward.
Carrie: What advice do you have for artists interested in using crowdfunding?
To recruit people:
- to help them to proof read their story for the campaign
- to help them during the filming of their video for some critical feedback
- to help with promotions by sharing your campaign throughout Social Media and email. The more people one reaches, the better the chances of getting funded.
- Select good perks to give out to those donating.
- Send personalized thank you emails each time you receive a donation (this is extra from the hand-written personalize notes one should also send), as well as too all of the people that are helping you out to reach your goal.
Carrie: How did you discover your artistic style?
Work, work and more work… putting hours of work into my practice, and lots of trial and errors. I still feel I’m developing my own style, and I don’t think I’ll ever be done… artists evolve over time. We have to. One can be born with a talent, but if that talent doesn’t get the necessary time to flourish, it’s as if you never had it.
I always say that my only competition I have is against myself. Therefore, after I finish I series, the next one has to be better than last. There lies the challenge!
Carrie: How do you know when an artwork is finished?
When nothing you can add to it will make it better than it already is. You get to know this with experience, and experience can only be gained with lots of practice time.
Needless to say, there are times that, when we look back at a finished piece, we might realize that it needs something else to be added, or the obliteration of certain others.
Carrie: What is the first thing you do when you feel stuck working on an artwork?
I work on something else in the meantime, and then go back to that piece and look at it again with fresh eyes at a later time. When taking this time away from the piece, I do something completely different. Expressive drawing is a good tactic to use.
For this, I grab a large piece of paper and approach it, brush in hand and some acrylic paint, then, just start by making marks and see where it may lead me. You’ll be amazed of the unexpected results that could come up by doing these very free drawings.
Carrie: What has been one hurdle you’ve overcome as a creative and how did you navigate that problem?
The first hurdle I had ever had to overcome as a creative, was to learn to navigate against the current. In the sense that the people around me always told me, since I was in elementary school, that art was just a hobby and it couldn’t be a profession. They said that I should do something else with my life. I tried to please them at first, long time ago, but I wasn’t happy doing what others wanted me to do, and only by being creative and able to use my hands in the process, I felt the most fulfilled. Ironically, even today, people’s negativity towards my profession gives me the strength to prove them wrong, and to work harder in my profession to make it happen. Now days, many are supportive of what I do, and understand that art is a profession and a job, like any other.
Carrie: How do you navigate the feelings of vulnerability that show up during the creative process?
I believe vulnerability comes hand-in-hand with making art, we pour ourselves out there, physically and emotionally, and then we let people into our intimate world through our artwork. Therefore, it’s almost inevitably to get hurt at some point or another, whether through rejection or criticism, or both. This criticism can sometimes be good and lead us to better ourselves, but many times it could leave one defenseless, and down. This is the kind of criticism we, as artists, have to learn to overcome.
For me, it has helped me to think that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, and there are as many different opinions in this world as there are people. So, I don’t let the judgment of one bring me down. Instead, I have some people that I go to for feedback when I have self-doubt: my family, my artist’s friends, and someone else who likes art but is not an artist. They will all have different opinions at times, but their feedback leads me to the point where I’m happy with my work, and that’s what matters to me the most. Especially since my work should transmit a message to the viewer and I need to know whether that message is coming across or not.
This quote sums it all up: “Artists are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime. Every day, artists face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get real jobs, and their own fear that they’ll never work again.
Every day, they have to ignore the possibility that the vision they have dedicated their lives to is a pipe dream. With every role, they stretch themselves, emotionally and physically, risking criticism and judgment. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life – the car, the family, the house, the nest egg. Why? Because artists are willing to give their entire lives to a moment – to that line, that laugh, that gesture, or that interpretation that will stir the audience’s soul.
Artists are beings who have tasted life’s nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another’s heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their own hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes.” – David Ackert
Carrie: What is one piece of advice you have for struggling creatives?
If they haven’t done so yet, I suggest they read: “Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking” by David Bayles. It’s an excellent companion book for any artist struggling to make it in this profession.
Also, to keep working for what you believe in and in getting better in your craft. Take classes with good instructors; don’t rely only on your talents. Visit galleries and museums, read books, join groups with other artists, and make time to work together with a group from time to time, and have critiques. Accept criticism. Keep practicing, and practicing until you get it right, and then practice some more… Once you dominate your craft, make it your own by letting your “unique” visual language take fly. But never stop learning or working/creating.
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
Who: Pablo Picasso, Gerhard Richter… Just to name two. Because of their tenacity and strong will, always open to try new things. Always working, without forgetting to socialize, which to me, is one of the most important things to do if we want to make it in this world and probably the most difficult part to archive as artists.
What: For me, inspiration can come from anywhere. This inspiration can come from within, from my surroundings, or from a combination of both, as I’m always start my creative process in my mind. Therefore, my eyes are always open to any stimulus around me, or any feeling I’m going through internally, or both. Then my mind starts to figure out a way to translate it into visual images, so the viewer can understand what I’ trying to say, and some how relate with it.
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
Creativity to me is the ability to think outside the box, and anyone can be creative. Usually it is a “need-based” circumstance that makes people the most creative, innovators in their own right, to solve problems at hand or to make life easier, to entertain one another, or to communicate with each other.
Artists in particular, are perhaps one of the most creative individuals, as they use their creativity to communicate with the viewer through visual images in an original and expressive way, solving problems along the way, and being resourceful in order to reach their goals.
One can be born with a talent, but if that talent doesn’t get the necessary time to flourish, it’s as if you never had it. (Tweet Me)
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: What advice or questions do you have about crowdfunding for creatives? I want to know! Tell me about it in the comments below.
Additional Contact Info:
My crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo: http://igg.me/at/corina
Adding to the interview on top, I wanted to share with all the interview that just came up on the air last night about my most recent body of work, for the Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) – Spotlight on the Arts’ segment. Here’s the link in case you want to watch it. My interview starts at 2:03 minutes: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=_IVSCchoKlo
Thank you for sharing Corina!
My pleasure. Thank you for this interview and support.