Artist Interview: Veronica Verdugo Lomeli

Today we have an interview with artist Veronica Verdugo Lomeli whose artwork is at Xico as part of the “Fuerte” exhibit through May 15.

1.       How does your cultural/family background influence the subjects and style of your art?

My art subject matter and style is influenced by Hispanic culture and my family background because it is my life experience. The way something or someone has made me feel or an image of what I’ve seen greatly influences me, until I can transfer it to a surface. Sometimes as I’m painting, particularly music related subjects, I reminisce of being younger, family get togethers and hearing my dad and uncles playing their guitars, singing beautiful songs in Spanish in their strong voices. It fills my heart and encourages me to paint on these subjects. I’m always reminded of how talented a culture we have; artists, athletes, musicians, writers, poets, great cooks, actors, leaders. Eeejole! The list goes on and on. It’s inspiring to see how passionate these talents can be expressed. It makes me proud to be a Latina artist.
2.       The title of this exhibit is “Fuerte.” What did that make you think about?

When I read the title for the current Xico exhibit ‘Fuerte’ the first thing I thought of were the relationships and subject matter in my paintings and thought they were fit for the title. ‘Dancing an Oldie’ is an elderly couple, hip in their own way, having a solo dance at an outdoor festival in the ‘tarde’, sun going down, beautiful afternoon, while the band sings an old school song ‘Oh Honey’ by the Delegation, which was the inspiration for their relationship. Standing the test of time. ‘Mourning Love’ is about lost love and how the power of music connects with that emotion. When the mariachi holds up his violin and crosses the bow on the string, the woman reacts to it. He might just be playing ‘Por Un Amor’? The ‘Folklorico Dancer’ is Fuerte all on her own. …and she knows it. Her colors are bold and beautiful. She’s confident and proud!

4.       Do you remember when you first identified yourself as “an artist”?

When I was about 12 years old we stopped in Picacho Peak on the way back from Tucson to Phoenix and an old guy ‘an artist’ was selling his paintings outside, it was sooo hot! I went to see them, he asked me if I liked to paint, I said ‘No, maybe one day’. Wasn’t even a thought that crossed my mind at the time. But it always stuck in my head. And I felt bad for the man cause I thought I was the only one who went to talk to him. “Why would I want to paint, sit in this hot ol’ sun and no one visit me”, I thought as I walked away?

I think I identified myself as an artist, because I loved to draw as a teenager (and because my dad would proudly say ‘you’re an artist! you’re an artist!). He was probably the only other person I knew that could draw. I sketched for years after that but threw them in the ‘cajon’ the very last drawer never to be seen for years, luckily I saved a few. I didn’t really know what to do with it, so I went to work for a bank… the torture! Then I got into graphic design, whew! Much more fun. But when I started painting a few years ago I felt like a true artist because regardless of what else is going on in my life, good or bad, that is where I find myself most connected, free and inspired. Must be why the old guy in Picacho Peak did it. It turns out ‘one day’ came. I paint, my art sits in a cool gallery in Chandler, and people came! So, if you haven’t seen the Fuerte exhibit, come visit the Xico gallery!

5.       What’s next for you, as an artist?

As an emerging artist, I plan to keep growing by expression. I’ve been experimenting in new techniques and blending my subject matter into different styles. I look forward to many more exhibits and events.