IAP Spotlight: Priscila De Carvalho
“Continue creating art, no matter how challenging the process becomes. Continue even though you’re not showing or selling anything. Continue even if you’re dissatisfied with what you’re producing. Determination transcends reason.”
To celebrate IAP alumna Priscila De Carvalho’s permanent sculpture Bronx: Heart, Homeland, 2015 commissioned by the MTA Arts and Design Program, we took the opportunity to spotlight her activities and any advice she has about resources and living in the city.
NYFA: Where are you originally from?
PD: I am originally from Brazil. I was born in Curitiba but raised in Florianopolis, a small island located just off the southern coast of Brazil.
NYFA: What inspired you to become an artist?
PD: My mother is a painter and around nine years old I was composing small photorealistic drawings. At that time, my imagery came mostly from comics, cartoons and popular fashion magazines. I also started to attend after-school art classes and exhibiting in local galleries. My work was featured in one of the most prominent newspapers in my city. I remember that my father kept the newspaper clipping of the article in his wallet. I think it was then that I realized I could become a professional artist some day.
NYFA: What are you currently working on?
PD: I am currently working on a permanent public art project organized by Public Art for Public School (PAPS) and the NYC School Construction Authority (SCA). Urban Nature, the title of this new artwork, is inspired by a poem of Lord Byron called “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.” Also, I have teamed up with Art on Cotton, a t-shirt company based in Nepal that believes in donating a t-shirt for every sale with their “Get 1 Give 1” campaign. They will be making t-shirts with the image of my new mural in Brooklyn (corner of Bogart and Meadow). For every shirt that you purchase, they will donate one to children in need through orphanages, NGO’s, and other organizations helping underprivileged children in rural Nepal. All funds will go toward the production of their products and a portion of the sales will be used to help these children in the form of educational materials, medical supplies, or in the form of financial donations.
NYFA: Can you tell us a little about Bronx: Heart, Homeland, 2015?
PD: Bronx: Heart, Homeland, 2015 is based on the concept of past to present, encompassing the interplay of place, home, culture and identity. The artwork is located at the Castle Hill subway stop (on the 6 train line) and depicts silhouetted images of people living in the urban neighborhood of the Bronx. The eight black stainless steel units, uniquely integrated within the station environment, create a narrative associated with everyday life in the neighborhood–a life, for most, that revolves around the use of the subway. The focal points are about connections that are links between the home and the heart. Each silhouetted representation displays different activities: skateboarding, selling books, walking on the street and taking pathways to the station. Manmade fragments of the 20th and 21st century of Bronx history are shown, such as the subway lines, electricity cables, telephone poles and other elements. The sculptures are imbued with a visible presence, not only for those who built and contributed to the history of the Bronx, but for those here today, tomorrow and beyond.
NYFA: What is an important first step for immigrant artists?
PD: The first step for immigrant artists or artists in general is to continue creating art, no matter how challenging the process becomes. Continue even though you’re not showing or selling anything. Continue even if you’re dissatisfied with what you’re producing. Determination transcends reason.
NYFA: What if your favorite way to locate opportunities?
PD: NYFA is a great resource. The Bronx Museum of Arts AIM program (Artist in the Marketplace), Creative Capital and Aljira all have programs that can help artists at various stages of their careers.
Also, as a recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, I have always been deeply grateful for the many ways in which that award has contributed to my artistic development.
NYFA: What do you like best about living and creating in NYC?
PD: We are fortunate to have wonderful museums such as PS1, MoMa, the Brooklyn Museum, the Queens Museum, and many others. I appreciate that the city government is addressing the acute need of artists to live and work in New York.
Priscila De Carvalho (IAP ‘08/’13’), Bronx: Heart, Homeland, 2015, Installation View. Location: Castle Hill Avenue (6 train).