Today we’d like to introduce you to Claudia V. Solórzano.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Claudia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My first experience with clay was at ELAC (East Los Angeles College), where I enrolled in an intro to ceramics class taught by Chris Turk. Although half my projects that first semester looked a little silly/childish (not in a good way), I was still interested in putting in time and effort to do better. The lab tech at the time, Carla Tome, witnessed my dedication. She asked me to work part-time as a student worker for the ceramic studio and it felt like I was going in the right direction. I was earning some money, learning about a new art form and it made me really want to move forward with clay making.
The sculptures I had made at ELAC were very strange and impersonal; they looked cool but I wasn’t saying much through them. I was still very naïve and a homebody. There is a short scene in Sixteen Candles where a boy is being shoved into the school dance by his parents and he yells through the doors of the school gym “I wanna go home! I wanna be with you guys!”. In other words, I didn’t get out much and I still felt like a child. I had to grow up when I transferred to Cal State Long Beach. Their studio is amazing, wonderfully equipped and I learned more than I thought I would about clay, art, people, and myself while in their BFA program. Amazing artists occupy the spaces and good work comes out of that place. As enlightening and remarkable as art school was, it was my lowest points that inspired my work there. My heart broke a few times and my work evolved into representational pieces that shared characteristics of the chalky Valentine candy hearts that everyone received in elementary school. I made my own versions of the candy and stamped mean and hateful phrases that were speaking to the people who wronged me. In my mid-twenties, I was an immature bitter young person who was able to say what I needed to in order to cope and learn how to be a better person and artist.
During art school, I studio assisted for a few artists and I was a student tech my last year there. I really enjoyed working in a studio assisting a lab tech and after I graduated, I worked as a studio tech at a pottery studio. I applied to grad school and was accepted to USC but wasn’t offered any funding to attend. It was upsetting for a moment until I realized I wasn’t ready for more school. However, I was not happy as a studio tech and after half a year, I moved back home to LA and worked as a sales associate in an art store downtown. I started to become envious of the artists who bought from the store and I longed to work on my own art. Since graduating, I have only participated in one group show, “Let Me Eat Cake, Too” at Blue Roof Studios where most of my work sold, and I became desperate to want to make more. So, I left my job but decided to stay studio assisting for two incredible artists, Carla Tome a ceramicist and Anna Sew Hoy a sculptor. This part of my journey is still in progress and when I’m not working, I am drawing, painting, or in my backyard trying to get back into the groove of working with clay.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My life is everything but a smooth road, it’s actually a river; a fast flowing body of water that doesn’t stop trying to push forward even when people throw in their Cheetos bags, empty Gatorade bottles and trash. In all seriousness, yes I did struggle like many people do. My father passed when I was 3, my older sister moved out when I was about eight and two years after that, my mother moved out. My aunt and uncle raised me as their own so I wasn’t short on love and support. In my early twenties during art school, I was assaulted and didn’t speak of it for some time. I blamed myself for consenting and changing mind halfway through. It was painful but I had to learn to find humor in it all. I wouldn’t have survived if I didn’t. And now, I’m happy in a healthy relationship and I have artist’s block. I’m trying to make it as an artist so money will never come easy to me, but it’s something I am willing to risk and with my family and friends support I’m grateful I get to do so.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
In all honesty, the ceramic art I have made over the years has been here and there and everywhere. I don’t make the same kind of work all the time; I am ever-changing like the days, and with that comes change in my style of art. I will say that I believe my poems, writings and text on clay stand out in my short body of work. Often when I work with clay I press it into fabric or an object with texture, or sometimes I incorporate stamped phrases that are humorous, a little vulgar, and occasionally mean. My work has occupied space in a number of ways from placement on a table or pedestal, to being hung from the ceiling; it all depends on what story I am trying to convey at the moment. I’m an artist, so I’m moody sometimes and that’s why my work is inconsistent.
I am proud of getting as far as I have come and still having a passion to make art. I think about giving up all the time but I always go back to it, it’s my therapy and it’s how I survive. I don’t know how different I am from other artists. Sometimes I’m scrolling my feed on Instagram, and I see different artists making similar works to one another, which is great because there is evidence of inspiration. We are all human and no one is original, we are all alike on some level and that’s a good thing, we are all connecting and hopefully working together in some way.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is such a strange concept, I’m a firm believer in the saying “everything happens for a reason”. For example, when I speak ill of someone and trip or drop something; well, maybe that’s just karma, which isn’t lucky at all. I view the world as one long domino effect and there are those who benefit from it and those who suffer. Sometimes, it’s both and that’s life. A person sees my work and purchases it because they were meant to not because it was luck. A person views my work and relates to it because they were in a similar situation, because of a cause and effect not by chance. My family supports me because they believe in me and love me. I don’t think of myself as lucky I’m just living the path that I am choosing to make for myself and living the result of choices made by me and others before and around me.
- Website: https://claudiavsolorzano.wixsite.com/artist
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: claudia.v.solorzano
Jorge A. Jimenez, Lexis V. Gomez, Claudia Solórzano