We had the good fortune of connecting with Beth Abaravich and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Beth, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
Before I went to graduate school I was really investigating art, I knew art but I knew nothing about the art world. Still something was there that I could build upon, that I could push towards something meaningful. Throughout school, many times I sucked, many times I cried, many times I marveled at others who seemed to get “it”. But I kept going. Because I wanted it and as bad as I sucked, I still loved creating art. It was like this massive puzzle that fascinated me. There is nothing like working on a piece and your brain is working on all of these levels, color, shape, mechanics, logistics, criticality…it’s a lot. It’s also very gratifying. When do you give up: when you don’t care.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have a bachelor’s in Fashion Design from Otis and worked in the industry. It feels right to use traditional fashion design processes and materials and explode them both in scale and meaning. Using fashion to comment on society makes sense because it is a byproduct of society. The making or craft of my pieces isn’t my endgame, even though it is part of it. Embedding the personal within the construction of clothing, accessories, and costumes is my way of being heard. I really started my career as an artist at 53 when I left grad school. So it is hard to not tell yourself you have 30 more years to produce (If you’re lucky) or compare myself to younger artists who are more successful. I just do something everyday that is in service to my practice whether it’s applying for a show or residency or working in my studio. I have actually never met something that has motivated me like art has. I have always thought big, especially when it came to art. Thinking big like that actually kept me from making art. The ‘how to do it’ to the ‘where to keep it’ seemed daunting. What I say now is, just do it and worry about where you are going to put it later. Don’t over think, just do.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’ve lived in LA for 30 years so there are a bunch of things we could do. Being in lockdown has made me crave film noir and classic Hollywood. I’ve been watching ALOT of TCM lately! So I would say first we would start with breakfast at Canter’s, then we would go to all the shops on Fairfax (Supreme, Golf, etc.)- I’d buy my son a few things. Then for lunch on Hollywood Blvd., maybe at The Roosevelt, then walk up and down the Blvd. I would definitely want to go into the Hollwood museum in the old Max Factor building. I’ve NEVER taken a Hollywood tour bus- so I would definitely do some research prior (Grave Lines?!) and do a tour. There’s great art in the Japanese Culture Center in Hollywood and Highland, check that out. Maybe rent a room at the Roosevelt! I’m beat. After a nap go to a show at the Pantages. Late dinner at the Dresden…not in the bar but in the dining room where you sit in these kooky round booths surrounded by pillars. They have great steaks. Might check out Marty and Elayne for a few songs. Thankfully some things never change. Then last but not least, the Frolic Room and the Tiki Ti…if I’m not too drunk. We’ll go back to the hotel…wake up have room service, check out the rooftop pool (Bloody Mary’s- Virgin), then have lunch at Musso and Franks, Evening at the Hollywood Bowl to see Morrisey (I can dream!). The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have to say that the faculty at Art Center really pushed me to be who I am today, in particular Patti Podesta is a real gem and mentor. To have someone on your side that is so smart and “gets you” yet pushes you beyond where you are into something better was what I needed. Lea Feinstein came into my life at open studios my last year of Grad school. She has such joie de vivre. Lea honors and brings out stuff in me, I didn’t even know I had. Carly Chubak and I taught a class at Art Center together. Talking with Carly is so natural, we just understood each other from day one. It’s like being friends with your younger self!! Lastly, Laura Soloman has really become such a great friend and an amazing artist. I trust her feedback and admire how hard she works and what she has accomplished. We have an incredible feedback loop of support for each other!
Chris Hanke Beth Abaravich