We had the good fortune of connecting with Valerie Campos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Valerie, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I started my career in art at 22 years old. At that time I was working in an outsourcing office and had a good salary in addition to other benefits from the company. Quitting my job to dedicate myself to painting was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. At that age I was already a mother of a two-year-old baby. The first years I did not sell any of my work and could barely pay my rent. I had three jobs with very low salaries but that gave me free time for painting. They were difficult years that taught me to develop confidence and resilience. Five years later I won several scholarships abroad and they quickly opened the door to my paintings in the art market. In those years I became interested in cultural management and decided to take another risk by developing a cultural exchange project between Mexico, China and the United States. The project was very successful and I received another production grant in addition to a grant from the Mexican government. A few months ago I was announced that I was the winner of another stimulus for artistic creation granted by the Mexican government and it was then that I decided to take another risk to start a non-profit civil association that produces short-format documentary series to disseminate, promote and open dialogues on contemporary art in Mexico. I am using the support of my scholarship to be able to finance this project that seeks to support artists with a career in Mexico, interspersing spaces for painting, sculpture, graphics, photography, installation, alternative media, architecture, dance, music, literature, theater. Artists whose work encourages critical thinking in relation to balance and change as a structural constant in their proposal. Make this decision during the pandemic as the isolation helped me to reflect more carefully about the impact that art has on society and also to think about how to sustain it and support the art scene. At the beginning of the year we published the first two capsules and we have had a great response and interest from different audiences through social networks. I think that all my life I have taken risks and I feel lucky that everything has always worked out well. Sometimes even better than I expected. Fear can paralyze you, or it can prompt you to try something new. But definitely the biggest risk is not taking any risks. The most important resources for taking risks come from a space of gratitude, abundance and absolute trust in the universe. I am tremendously grateful for the endless learning opportunities that life has offered me.
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.
As an artist … My self-taught training has allowed me to explore , to learn from traveling, to learn from other artists and teachers, to learn from grants and programs , and I think this experiences brought to the present moment. It never gets easy, really. You just have to keep working. I push myself to go to the studio everyday even when I don’t feel inspired. I think we need also to learn how to embrace the uncomfortable feelings. In my case I use them to work because they create contrast. My painting moves from abstraction to figuration without attachment. I understand the relationship between figuration and abstraction in my painting as a process of reduction between both poles. I could say that my work derives from its evocation of physical instability, fragility and transfiguration. My recent works seem to persist in the need to fragment reality to access to painting at different levels, to free it from my own limitations of representation. In this way, complexity, acceptance of the ambiguous and detachment towards the iconic allow me to dialogue with painting.
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?
If friends come to visit me in Mexico I will definitely take them to Oaxaca first, because of its culture and gastronomy of the city. Then I will take them to artists studios, shows, museums and archeological places.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to thank to my son for his unconditional support in every risk I’ve taken in my life. I want to thank FONCA program ( National Fund for Culture and Arts) , for the grant I received this year, because with their support I can grow as an artist and contribute with society through our non-profit platform Vaivén Collectors. I want to thank to our Vaivén Collectors team : Heriberto Quesnel, Helios Salas, Jonatan Parra and Clare Riley to make this possible.
Facebook: Valerie Campos Maldonado
Youtube: Vaivén Collectors