We had the good fortune of connecting with Joana P. Cardozo Dunlap and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Joana, how do you think about risk?
I think risk is inevitable if one wants to change and grow professionally, personally, spiritually; i.e. in any aspect of one’s life. I was raised by a solo mother who believed, as many Brazilians still do, that in order to succeed in life, one has to be a doctor, an engineer, or a lawyer. I worked full-time while attending law school at night to become a corporate lawyer in a prestigious Brazilian law firm. To become an artist, I had to challenge the expectations not only of my family and society but also of my own expectations.

My affair with art started in New York City when I was taking continued education classes at the International Center of Photography (ICP), right across the street from the law firm I was working for as a visiting attorney. When my contract ended, and I was supposed to go back to Brazil, I made a life-changing decision. I decided to stay in New York, abandon my law career, enroll in the one-year certificate program at ICP and pursue a visual arts path full-time. After graduation, I balanced a commercial practice as a freelance photographer with an artistic practice that was moving away from photography as a primary medium. After 8 years of living and being accustomed to New York, I moved to LA to pursue a Master’s Degree at CalArts. There, I barely touched my camera. I started working with durational performances and ceramics.

Risking has brought me this far and my experiences have been extremely valuable. Law and the corporate world taught me discipline, persistence, and malleability. Relocating to the US opened my heart to new paths and showed me that it is feasible to pursue a living doing what I am passionate about and that I do not have to settle for stability and a secure career.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am committed to an art practice rooted in rituals and spirituality, exploring ideas of mortality, domesticity, and identity through photography, mixed media, installation, and performance. I come from Brazil, a country where 97% of people report to believe in God, and it is acceptable to practice several religions and follow multiple spiritual ideas simultaneously. Coming from the belief that we are not of this world and our bodies are only vessels meant to facilitate our souls’ evolution, I use my practice to open up spaces for consciousness and transformation. I emphasize the ephemerality of our existence by the recurrent use of flowers, shadows, and the color black. Flowers and shadows are fleeting. By photographing, cutting, and fixedly arranging shadows of flowers, i.e., laser-cut black acrylic, I aim to constitute permanence on both the flowers that will die and the shadows that will fade. In a world marred by division, hate, and oppression, I welcome my Brazilian upbringing in which all faiths were respected, all rituals were equally relevant, and a combination of all of those are still cherished and encouraged.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Venice Beach and a perfect day here starts with Blue Bottle coffee at Abbot Kinney. For lunch, I recommend Teddy Tacos or American Beauty for a quick bite. Dudley Market is a great spot for oysters and wine. Don’t miss Roosterfish for fancy cocktails and I like ending the night at Felix Trattoria (get there around 8:30 pm and sit at the bar – no reservations needed). And for art, go to Yiwei Gallery also at Abbot Kinney.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mom, Beth, deserves a lot of credit and recognition in my path. She raised me by herself and taught me to be independent and a risk-taker. I would like also to acknowledge the encouragement and love of my husband, Roy, who is also a risk-taker. He didn’t think twice to move from NY to LA to support me. Our partnership makes us stronger to overcome any adversity.

Website: www.jpcardozo.com

Instagram: joana_p_cardozo_

Other: Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/user103446294

Image Credits
Joana P Cardozo and Malte Sänger

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