We had the good fortune of connecting with Toña Vegas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Toña, why did you pursue a creative career?
It is the way I chose to live. To be an artist is a way of living. To create art is a way to exist. Since I was small I asked myself existential questions like Who am I? Why am I here, in this world, in this country, in this family? What is life all about? What is death? To be an artist is my way of exploring these essential questions, the way to make sense of being in this life, in this planet, to be a part of nature. I haven’t been able to answer them… it is a lifetime adventure. Through my work I enter into the mystery of life in a sensorial intuitive manner, opening my capacity to perceive, to associate, to integrate, to breath into the nature of existence and to be able to communicate it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The difficulty and I guess one of the fascinating things of being an artist is that on one side the aim, the need to explore and create is existencial, so it needs to be genuine, and on the other side you need to pay your bills. To live with this tension is quite a hard task. Personally I am a very curious person, with many interests so I have worked in cultural institutions (museums), as costume and scenography designer in theater, as art director in films, in editorial design for private and institutional publications and in multidisciplinary teams for cultural purposes. The experience gained in these different areas greatly nourished my own visual art work, though there came a time when I decided to dedicate myself completely to it. I set out to create site-specific and big scale artworks in team with architects and engineers as well as I continued with my own two-dimensional work. I have learned that the most important thing is to be true to oneself to one’s inner motivation and follow one’s intuition, the universe responds and aligns with it in the most unimaginable ways.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The first visit would be to the Bakehouse Art Complex where I have my studio and which is a very special community of artists in Miami. I really like Downtown Miami, it has a special vibe that I enjoy, maybe because it reminds me of some parts of my home city Caracas’ downtown. The MOAD Museum at the Freedom Tower would be a must and also the PAMM. There is a small restaurant in downtown which I love, the Niu Kitchen, where for sure I would take anyone visiting. I love to walk or bike by the beach crossing Key Biscayne bridge up to the marine at Crandon Park and do some paddling. We could have lunch or dine at Gran Inka, a peruvian restaurant in Key Biscayne. The De la Cruz and the Maldonado Art Collections are some of my favorites, so visiting them and the Design District and dining at The Mandolin would be a great treat. A swim in Miami Beach and breakfast at Moises Bakery, cachitos, empanadas and coffee can not fail.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been very lucky meeting extraordinary people that have encouraged and nourished me throughout my journey, so I will mention the most relevant in terms of my profession. First of all my father with whom being just a kid I discovered the infinity of the universe and the name of stars, as well as my fascination with rocks and poetry. An uncle Carlos Raúl Villanueva a prominent architect in my home country Venezuela, who achieved the extraordinary integration of art and architecture at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, inviting artists from different countries to create works for the diverse buildings and areas of the university. I loved to play with my cousins at his home where I experienced the joy of that integration and a life dedicated to creation. My philosophy professor and poet at university, Alberto Arvelo Ramos, who became a very dear friend with whom I entered into the realm of poetry. And finally my mentors Mercedes Pardo and Alejandro Otero, outstanding visual artists and human beings, with whom I learnt the practice and the ethics of being an artist.
Facebook: Toña Vegas
Portrait by Pedro Wazzan Energy Matters (2) by Pedro Wazzan Where the light dwells by Diana Espin Open Process (2) by Diana Espin