Artist Interview: Angel Valerio – Fantasy And Freedom, Or Dragged Into The Light

By BRUCE DENNILL

Angel Valerio is part of the TAF Unearthed creative mentorship programme at the Turbine Art Fair 21. The 2021 artists are mentored by Nkhensani Rihlampfu and Thembi Matroshe.

 

What sort of training have you received and how important do you think it is to seek training (in terms of learning first principles and refining technique)?

I have print-making training and a fine arts BA. I think it’s not that important to seek training if you have something special and want to share it with the world. Run with it and show it! However, training has taught me discipline and independence. I trust my intuition so much as a artist nowadays – something that has developed early on in my practice. It was my intuition that taught me harmony in image making.

 

What is your principal medium, and why did you choose it?

Print-making, which generates itself in digital collage. I chose it because of its freedom when it comes to using tools and creating surrealism. The driving point in my work is fantasy. Because of the harsh reality of being queer and non-conforming, I create worlds of acceptance and those worlds bleed into reality for all.

 

Describe the techniques you use most? How complicated are your methods, and why is each step necessary?

I use the techniques of drag, and the method is complicated as I desire. Some days it’s a simple illusion of bone structure or distorting the body as a metaphor for beauty standards that are unrealistic. Or I simply blur the lines of gender and sexuality. It’s all rooted in storytelling and critiquing history.

 

What technological tools do you use in your work?

Photoshop and video editing software, mostly.

 

Who is the single other artist whose style you most admire, and why?

I would say Arca, because we are all born out of this strange melting pot from the internet and have an elegance in storytelling. Whether it be music or fine art, we all gather to liberate the queer body and ourselves.

 

Galleries and other traditional means are only one way of marketing art. What do you believe are the most important other routes, and what is the most important insight you have gained in that area in your career?

I believe that it’s left up to luck, and chance. You can create an impact, but to get work in front of people is a thing of chance and feeling. When you tap into what makes you happy, you can impact many.

 

Why do you create? What are your stated goals in producing art?

My goal is to be a peace warrior in everything I do. I create because seeing beauty is a relief from the everyday stagnant routine. We thrive in sharing our experiences and those touch people’s lives and create serenity and a inner validation for the spectator. This is a community labour, not an individual indulgent effort.

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