Pamela Calvetti, Embroidery Artist and Textile Designer, Valparaíso, Chile
Pamela is a self-taught artist. Her approach with embroidery has happened in a very fluid, slow way and that has naturally become a a spilling over of her inner self. Every piece of her work is charged with a big emotion and is often inspired by nature and its associated mysteries. She seeks to express the darkness and the unknown through the exaggerated use of color and to high contrast between thread, paint, and sometimes paper, thus creating colorful and curious visual textures that sometimes suggest confusing figures, but in the end a flexible compression happens that always leaves a space for imprecision.
Have you always wanted to be an artist? What inspired you to start creating? The artistic area has always caught my attention and although at the beginning I did not have much clarity on how to connect this with my life, I always knew that I was moving towards working with textiles. This connection with textiles is why I decided to study design, to be able to approach this world from the costume design and maybe find my own way. After much trial and error, the search slowly became clearer, and in the end I managed to connect my mind and creative spirit to something that makes me very happy: embroidery.
Where do you find inspiration? Inspiration comes to me normally from two points: one is at a formal level, where I take nature as the starting point expressing it through the illustration of different plants, seaweed, ferns, etc. And on the other hand there is the creative aspect, which is associated with the saturated use of color, which allows me to create an imaginary context that needs a frank reading but subtly deconfigures the habitual perception we have about our everyday landscape.
How have you, as an artist, found your creative voice?
From the meeting with friends to concerns of starting to move your hands, stir the ideas, create things and find a place where I feel comfortable.
Where do you create your artwork?
For now I do not have a workshop so I create in my house. I also take my work with me to make use of the free hours between university or work.
What is your typical day like?
My life is not as exciting as it seems. I'm finishing college and I have a part-time job that I use to pay my bills. So much of my day is spent doing those two things. If my day is free, I try to get up early, always have a very good breakfast with coffee, milk, egg and fruit and then take advantage of embroidering in a place with good light, maybe go for a bike ride or if I do not take advantage of going out with my friends to walk, have a drink, smoke weed or relax.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or creative business people?
The independent path is much more complex and difficult than the traditional path, so it is important to try to stay focused and not be frustrated when you see that others are moving faster than you. Stay authentic, work hard, be consistent and understand that all roads are different with different times. It is also important to take advantage of the internet, generate contacts and community, take your work and take care of it (nice website, beautiful Instagram, beautiful presentation of your work, pretty label, etc). To make yourself stand out from other people as talented as you, you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone, be more creative and versatile to find a way to stand out.
How do you build community as an artist? How has the creative community helped you grow and share your art?
I've always seen the artist community as a fundamental place to learn from, knowing your peers or strategic partners is essential if you want to be able to advance faster, enter and understand the system better, and build the support of people who already have more knowledge about the field you're trying to work within. Many times the concerns I have are the same others in the artist community have and I always lean on my community learn from and grow together. I usually do workshops or free activities that revolve around embroidery. On top of that, I am always very open to sharing the work of my colleagues, answering messages in a close manner to anyone who asks me, since we have all had doubts about what to do, how or when, so I think it is important that we be supportive, grounded, and empathetic.
What artists inspire you? Do you have any favorite blogs, artists, or social media accounts that you’d like to share?
What are your goals and aspirations for your business?
To be independent and to work as a designer/artist to be able to lead a good and quiet life. Also maybe be able to participate in any exhibition, workshops, or an internship abroad.
All images provided by Pamela Calvetti.