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Art & Life with Gabriela Forgo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabriela Forgo.

Gabriela, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Not to be cliche but I have always loved creating art. I think it’s such an important part of life. Can you imagine what this quarantine would be like without art?

Most of my childhood took place in Caracas, Venezuela, a place where vibrant colors and approaching architecture in a sculptural manner is such a huge part of the city. It is now known as one of the murder capitals of the world, and due to the economic collapse, I am unable to visit the place I grew up in. Although Venezuela is now considered dangerous, my memories of growing up there are warm and dreamy.

I think what brought me to art was perspective and knowing even while living in a country in crisis. We have more power than we think on how we interact with the world around us. I find beauty in the subtle things that an object that acts as a function doesn’t have to strictly exist as a function but can also be animated or a work of art. My favorite medium, by far is probably ceramic sculpture. The tactile nature of clay is just so gratifying and addicting. There is something about watching a form react to its surroundings. There are so many things to be noted when working with clay such as the air quality, the plasticity of the clay, the grog. It’s as if you have control, but at the same time you don’t have control.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I used to be a photographer actually, but then as soon as Instagram launched, it just felt so over-saturated I started comparing my work to other people, and it just wasn’t healthy. I still photograph sometimes, but I prefer sculpture, I just find it so tactile. Given that I am of mixed ethnicity my sense of identity is constantly challenged. I tend to sculpt everyday objects we interact with but place some sort of sentimental value on. Simple yet treasured objects such as high heels, spray bottles, hats, furniture and more. My goal is to make these objects not look hyperrealistic but rather organic, as if they are living creatures. Perhaps that’s why I lean more towards ceramics as there is a sort of joy in not knowing how a glaze is going to flux or how a clay will warp.

Outside of my own personal art, I also helped co-found Clay Ca, a communal ceramic studio in Chinatown Los Angeles. Around 2016 I felt as though people started to focus on their differences rather than our similarities, further creating a gap amongst communities. I thought what if we could create a space where people of all backgrounds come together, put down their phones, and simply make ceramic pieces together. What if we create a community through a shared love for a ceramics.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
Support your friends and local businesses. Find a community that will not only support you but challenges you to grow. Look out for one another. Apply for grants. Make a limited edition amount of objects, contact a store or friend to sell them at. Have fun with what you’re making, be clever, and invite others in. Reach out to people you look up to. You might be surprised that they might respond and want to support what you’re making.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My work is somewhat scattered. I’m currently helping co-curate a ceramic show at Sade Gallery. It was due to open next week actually. But due to covid19, we are having to postpone the date until further notice. I also just had some work up at Kate’s Little Angel and helped in organizing some stuff for Frieze Art Fair. But if you’re looking to support-buy a cup, stop by the ceramic studio, take a class, make some pieces, have fun with it. Outside of myself, we have a lot of really amazing people working out of Clay ca, everyone there is so supportive, and to be honest given these strange times, we are going to need the community more than ever after this.

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