We had the good fortune of connecting with Vincent Rivera and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vincent, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
It’s the cliché artist answer but I needed more in life than the conventional 9-5 and safety nets; which neither of those things equated to a “happier” life. Also, as an artist, I don’t know how to instinctually be something else. I can go to work and pretend to be diligent and get the job done, but after a while I become miserable if I am not doing something creative. In addition, I only like structure to a certain point. I like to leave room for spontaneity to make things interesting. Now for some professions, you can’t really do that, but that’s also why I don’t work in those fields. I stay in my lane, and prefer it here. Plus, art is the only craft where it can be a life’s body of work. You get started as soon as you can, and you can finish your final piece the day before you die. And if you’re lucky, it can live forever. That’s where I want to get to.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art consists mostly of creative writing pieces that are paired with a visual representation. I do feel like a stand alone with the work that I do. Obviously I am not the only writer or visual artist, but the way I present it is certainly different. It does come with an added layer of vulnerability, which can be a challenge, but I am proud of what I have put out so far and wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m excited about eventually publishing my work. That’s the next step. I’d like to be well-received for that, and even make a comfortable living off of it. I started off making clothing the forefront of Dissenter Revolt. After a while, I began to incorporate additional art pieces to change up the repetitive model or product shot. Then about a year in, I made a 180 and made my artwork the forefront, with clothing being the supportive pieces. So now it’s the artist and his merch, and I am glad it’s that way now. It feels natural. It certainly wasn’t easy though because I wasn’t sure on how it was going to be received. It’s hard to just write something and present it to people who aren’t asking for it. It better be good if you want it to be noticed. I feel like I am still chasing that. The main lesson that I have learned is that being vulnerable is an art form. It’s not easy, and not everyone is cut out for it. Artists should be praised for constructing their own “show and tell” or presentation, Actual work aside, but doing something knowing you’ll be critiqued and even rejected, and still loving it, is not easy. What other people are like that? In every other way of life, you quit, you move away, find a new career, new partner, etc. It’s not like that with artists. Some might call that a curse. What I want people to know about Dissenter Revolt is that it’s just a reflection of imperfection. It operates on instinct, and the goal is an attempt to make sense of this place. Maybe it’s on the wrong platform; who knows. But it is an attempt to preserve something worth keeping.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many obvious answers that I will try to provide something that might not be at the top of someone’s list. We would go to the Huntington Library in San Marino. It’s a beautiful place that often gets forgotten about. To hang out, have a picnic or some “drinks” at Echo Park Lake. Try to catch a random weekday show at various bars in downtown LA or Hollywood. The access to good Sushi in LA is hard to beat so I would start there food wise. Sugarfish is the strategic pick because with multiple locations, you can explore that part of LA after you eat. I would also get tickets to a show at the Greek Theatre. As far as drinking, we are going to the Frolic Room in Hollywood, Far Bar in Little Tokyo, Golden Gopher in downtown, and the Black Cat in Silverlake to start. But yes, you should also see Griffith Observatory, eat at Jon and Vinnys, buy something at the Grove, stand underneath the Hollywood sign, walk Venice Beach, and point at every star on Hollywood Blvd.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am very grateful for those who reach out and express their thoughts on my work. I have a small network of supporters but they are a tight knit one. Their excitement for what I create makes what I do worth it. I also have to thank Clay McCall for allowing me to use his pictures. Everyone should check out his work. It’s worth it.
Images in War Cry and Americana Motel were shot by Clay McCall.