Chatting w/ DePaul Vera

Chatting w/ DePaul Vera

I sat down with local artist and designer DePaul Vera to talk about his work and influences. I started by asking him…

ANA MCKAY: When did you start making art and why?

DEPAUL VERA: Oooh! That is a good question. I started making work — I guess when I was four. I used to draw all the time. I used to love coloring books. I used to be the type of artist who would sit in the corner with my big box of crayons and everyone would leave me alone, but they would always want to play with my crayons. Laughs. And I started making artwork because I felt it was my only way to express myself. I grew up in a very conservative environment, so art was like my quiet space.

We chatted about DePaul’s Midway show that happened last June at the Holland Project.

AM: What mediums and themes did you work with in that show?

DV: The mediums that I used were drawing, mixed with fabrics and mylar, and construction paper. And the themes that I was…that I’m concerned about are life after death and what it means to be a queer person of color dealing with expectations that are put on the queer community after death.

AM: Looking to your present work, what has stayed the same and what has changed in your art?

DV: I’m definitely still dealing with queer issues, more so switching the way I resent that type of content. Before, I was strictly concerned about a white society’s perspective on queer culture, as opposed to now, I’m trying to create work that’s more concerned with queer people of color’s point of view.

AM: How long have you been working with the theme of queerness?

DV: I’d say almost…a little bit more than ten years. Yeah.

AM: What’s next after your midway?

DV: I have my thesis show coming up in the Spring! It will be April 16th through the 30th. And that will still be dealing with queer issues, but more so dealing with, like a commercial/advertisement aesthetic to talk about the portrayal of queer individuals and how they’re misrepresented in the media.

AM: What kind of music have you been listening to lately?

DV: Ooh! So I’ve been on like, political…and subliminal messages in music lately. So I’ve been listening to Solange, her A Seat At The Table album, and then also Jhené Aiko’s Trip album — it’s just like this psychedelic contemporary and RnB album which is just phenomenal.

AM: What’s the next show you have coming up? And when is that?

DV: The MFAs at UNR — we have our annual review exhibition coming up, and I’m really excited about the work that I’m making for it. It’s about bringing awareness to HIV and the AIDS epidemic, particularly in African American males. I’m trying to elevate that topic in Reno a little bit, so we’ll see how that goes. That show will be October 30th through November 12th. The opening reception is November 2nd from 6 to 8 in Student Galleries South in the Jot Travis building on campus, and then the critique is the next day, Friday, November 3rd, from 1 to 4PM where we invite the public of Reno to come critique our work with us.

Again, come see DePaul Vera’s work in the Student Gallery South at the Jot Travis Building at UNR from October 30th until November 12th, and check out the reception on November 2nd from 6-8.

AM: Well, thank you so much!

DV: Thanks for having me!

— Ana McKay (transcribed from an audio segment aired on KWNK 97.7FM)