We had the good fortune of connecting with Anthony Vega and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anthony, what do you attribute your success to?
As a fine artist and educator the most important factor behind my success, and I believe this is the same for most artists, is an irrational optimism. I say this mostly as a joke, but in reality it does take a kind of super human, and not very reasonable, amount of belief in what you are doing to keep at it long enough to see something resembling “success”. I think this irrational optimism is critical not only for my success as an artist but really for anyone looking to do something less conventional.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I make mostly paintings from images I find online. I find the way we look at and use pictures these days to be totally bananas. I think about this a lot. I find pictures other people take that I like. I edit them on my computer and then try to copy that as a painting. Then I show them, hoping people will want to look and think.What had me start down this path was when I was a kid I would copy cartoons. I was good at it and folks would be impressed, so that was nice. But I didn’t really make art again until college and thought it was pretty great as a plucky 20 year old. It was a place that I could make my ideas tangible, and share them. So I had been making art in college and was really keen on it. But there was the reality of post college life and being a “grown up”. So in my early 20’s I was making these choices that were grounded solely in what I thought I was supposed to do. It was after losing a job and having a conversation with my girlfriend (now wife) that I was asked a really pivotal question: what do you want for your life? Was it just about making money or was it about something else? It was clear to me that I wanted to do something that was meaningful and could actually fuel my life much longer than just making a paycheck. It sounds so cliche and rather silly, but I decided I wanted to be an artist. What fuels my work are really 3 questions that I ask whenever I am starting a new project are: Do I care about this? Does it matter? What can I offer? That said making money is a big component of living as a human being with a family. So my artwork very much places that as a byproduct or a result of my choices, its just not the driving force.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Geez. This is a super tough question. I am so not cool and hip. I guess we would go to some museums, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, for sure, pretend to be Rocky (feels obligatory) and check out some of the other touristy bits. There is so much for the city to offer and so much history and food, it would really depend on the day and the week.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are some many folks, and organizations to mention. I guess I will keep this super simple. The arts community, galleries, and amazing organizations that support the work that artists do in Philadelphia especially is amazing.