Interview With Artist Vicki O'Connor
What is your medium and why did you chose it?
I’m an acrylic mixed-media artist. Acrylic paint has such vibrancy, is very versatile, and it tolerates many layers of paint and gel mediums. I love being able to create texture, depth, and rich hues using Golden Acrylic paints, inks and paper.
How long have you been making art?
I started painting in 2013 after contracting Valley Fever in early 2012. Due to severe fatigue and sickness I was unable to leave the house even for short periods of time. One day I realized I needed to do something to help battle the depression and hopelessness that comes with a long term illness. Luckily I had some supplies in the closet patiently waiting for me to pull them out and start creating.
I have wanted to be a painter since I was a little girl, but had always been too afraid to paint for fear of making something ugly, and being judged harshly for it. So I decided there was only one rule I had to follow if I was going to create, and that was to play. I needed to paint for myself, without the pressure of what someone else might think.
Seven years later and I’m a full blown artist. Talk about making my heart sing. And I know If I can do it, anyone can. I love encouraging everyone to find and do those things that light them up - whether it’s painting, hiking, photography, writing, knitting, etc - because life is really too short not to be letting our hearts and souls fly.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Mother Nature is one of my best friends, and she inspires me everyday. We live in such a beautiful part of the country and my art is heavily influenced by the energy, color and shapes of both the Southwest desert and the woods of the high country. My Minnesota roots continue to influence my art as well.
I’m also inspired to create pieces of art that spread the message of living a life filled with hope, health, heart, and encouragement. These pieces were born out of what my body and soul needed to hear as I battled the effects of Valley Fever. To this day they continue to encourage me, and others, to be strong, healthy, and wholehearted human beings.
What does your studio look like?
When I first started painting I had a small makeshift table in our second bedroom. As my passion grew, I took over our dining room table. A few years ago we converted the second bedroom into a full-time studio that is easily reconfigured to a cozy bedroom when we have guests.
What is your favorite time of day to make art?
My favorite time of the day to paint is morning and late evenings, although when I’m in the middle of creating a piece, I’m drawn to my studio every hour of the day. As much as I’d like a larger studio, I love being able to go into my studio just down the hall.
Do you listen to music or have complete silence when you work?
I primarily work in silence. It’s quite meditative and I’m able to hear and feel what the piece I’m working on might need. Music is definitely a love of mine and many times I play some of my favorite tunes and dance around the house before heading into my studio to begin a new piece.
Describe your creative process.
My process is very intuitive and energy based. I usually have a vague sense of what is calling to be created, but rarely know what it will look like until I’m finished. Colors represent energy to me and is a strong force in my creations. Mother Nature’s sense of beauty and play are a part of every piece I make, and I know a piece is done when I look at it and it makes me smile and feel really happy. That’s kind of the goal of it all, isn’t it?
What else would you like people to know about you or your art?
I’m so grateful to my friends, family and fellow artists for encouraging me and loving me through these last 7 years. Illness and art have the ability to transform our hearts, minds and souls, and I’m so thankful that I have had both to teach me things I otherwise wouldn’t have learned.
Thank you to the Fountain Hills Artists Gallery for providing such an amazing opportunity to show my art, and for celebrating our beautiful town and area. Truly grateful beyond words❤️‼️