In a world where people share their success and hide their failures at all times, Sam Viloria challenges the viewer with the opposite. Unveil your anxiety and immerse into the whimsical work of this Los Angeles based, artist.
Come and feel the first interview of an all new season of Viewpoint.
Describe what you do in one word.
We’d love to learn about your background. How did you discover your love for art making? Tell us a little about your art therapy path?
I have always loved art! I’ve always wanted to be crafty, and I remember begging for and buying those Klutz craft kits and books at age 10. Going into college, I took up Psychology as a major and started to struggle with the idea of adding Art as a double major. I eventually did it with the guidance of an awesome department chair at Mount St. Mary’s College (now University) and was encouraged to explore all and any materials and mediums from classic forms of painting and drawing to ceramics, digital sculpture, illustration, photography, and metal work. And during my material exploration, I interned at clinical sites, working with clients through art process and connection, which really tied my two areas of interest together.
During and after college, I held a series of jobs that pertained to art, such as working in galleries and at the Getty Museum, while working in therapeutic and clinical settings and shortly after jumping into the behavioral therapy field working with children with autism. I felt that my clients really connected to art and the process of creating art in order to gain skills, both developmental and social, but my setting did not allow for emotional exploration or understanding. This led me to continue my education and training into a Master’s program for Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy. I now work with children and their families in a preschool setting, using the art process, in order to help the children and families learn new skills, cope with difficult life events and experiences, and facilitate understanding of feelings and emotions. And i use my own art as a therapeutic tool for my own emotional understanding and acceptance.
What mood (any particular music, scent or place) fills your workspace?
I have a studio in my apartment which I’ve set up to create a whimsical space, with a chandelier lamp, and art from artist friends and arthrobs— but I usually do not create in this space. I like to sit on the floor of my living room while I listen to music or watch movies. I usually listen to Elliott Smith to get me into my somberest mood, or some B-52’s to tap into quirky-ness. I also really enjoy being in a space with others while I create, so my friends and I hold art parties or gatherings and feed off each other’s energy.
You mix various mediums, whether it’s watercolor, embroidery, or mirrors (just to mention a few). Tell us about your creative process and how you choose your tools of trade for your projects?
I used to hesitate in creating images on anything that was not paper or canvas, in fear of the product coming off as “craft”. But I have grown to learn that creating art is a craft and vice versa. The forms I choose to illustrate and create with are a product of everything I have learned to use from embroidery with my grandmother to mirrors in response to creating a new image from a negative self perception. I feel that any item or object can become a vessel for an image to send a message, we just have to be creative in how we manipulate and use them.
Human emotions inspire your characters. Are the feelings expressed in your illustration based from your own experiences, are they inspired by other people or both?
The emotions I choose to illustrate are based on my own experiences as well as everyone around me. As a girl, growing up, I was taught to suppress negative emotions, to always smile, and to always keep difficulties a secret or hidden as opposed to talking about and understanding them. In hearing the stories of the women in my family, as well as the women around me, there is a repetitive story about living similar lives. These characters represent the women who have experienced this as well as the children who should be encouraged to explore these emotions and the experiences tied to them to gain skills to be resilient in adulthood.
What advice you’d give to fellow grumpygrls?
Allow yourself to feel sad, upset, bummed out, and anxious! But also allow yourself to explore those feelings, understand them, and grow from them.
Is there any upcoming project, collaboration or show we should know about?
Yes! They are currently underway—stay tuned through instagram and blog updates on my website!
All of my work will continue to send the message of feeling your feelings!