Artist: Romana Vera
Gallery: Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery
Title of Piece: Que Planeta !Tan Feroz! (Figment)
Artist Conversation with Romana Vera
This week I had the pleasure of speaking to Romana Vera. Romana is part of the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Program here at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). She is a senior graduating this semester with a Bachelors Degree in fine arts photography. Little side note, Romana is actually my coworker, so, it was really cool being able to interview her for this assignment.
Even though I have known Romana since this past Spring, I didn’t really get to know know her until I spoke to her for 20 minutes about her art. It really comes to show that a quality 20-minute conversation can make you learn more about a person that conducting small talk with them for a whole semester. It was awesome that I had this opportunity.
Well, let me move on to her actual art from her senior show. So, I know Romana is a photography major but for her piece she actually did a motion piece. I was definitely surprised because I first thought she would have a few photographs framed and mounted but when I walked into the gallery that was presenting her work there were actually TV’s mounted on the wall.
There were several TV’s, and each one was showing video of Romana in her apartment. As I spoke to Romana the motion and actions she was trying to perform were supposed to be very simple. In the videos, she is either laying down sleeping, on her phone, walking in her apartment, sitting her table fort, and or going into closets. Yet, each action is accompanied with a projection that is either on the wall behind her or on her because she is walking through it.
Each projection related to nature of some sort. The ones I can remember are a lightning storm, rain forest, caves, the night sky filled with stars, and water with cranes. The reason she chose these projection themes were because of the memories she has with her father. As a child, Romana grew up watching nature shows and hearing all of these stories and facts about animals from her father. Once she was older she realized he learned all of his information from the shows they would watch together.
When Romana was a kid she thought her father knew all of these things because he actually traveled and experienced all of these things but he knew all of his facts because of the time they spent together. However, from this she did learn more about her father and his past which just strengthened their pre-existing relationship. When watching Romana’s videos it is hard to hear in the video I posted of it but in the background her father is actually speaking. I can’t understand what it was saying because it was in Spanish, but she just explained that it was stories of his past.
It was really cool seeing all of the projections that Romana picked for her short segments of filming. I asked her, “Being a photo major you decided to do your senior piece with multiple film segments, what made you want to do that?” Romana responded, “Well, once you get into your major you find your niche. I enjoy taking portrait photos, but I also like filming because you can get an overall view of the event/situation taking place. Also, I like doing performance pieces. Even before this senior show I did many self-performance pieces which made me get out of my comfort zone and try something new. A few times there were pieces that I did that made me feel uncomfortable because it was interactive performance art and you never know what people are going to do so you have to be ready to go with the flow.”
I give Romana a lot of respect as an artist because there were times where things could have been dangerous in this performance art but because she was interested in seeing others reactions she let the experiment go. Thankfully nothing did happen but there were some close calls.
As for her art in the gallery, I really enjoyed seeing all of the cool nature videos projected on the walls. It made me want to have a projector in my room! But in the end what I took from this interview and her art was that our memories are perceived and understood differently as we get older. Like Romana said when she got older she knew that all of the info her father as telling her, he had learned from those same shows they used to watch when she was a little girl. I think we all have moments like that as we become older and more knowledgeable.
Now as an adult, when I watch movies that I used to watch as a kid I now see the humor in jokes I didn’t understand at the time. At times, it may be good things we come to realize but, unfortunately, it can also be bad.
Sorry not trying to end on a bad note! I had a great time talking to Romana, I learned so much more about her! We are definitely a lot closer than we were before which is really cool. I am sorry, for some reason it won’t let me post the video segments but in the next few days I will try to figure it out.
To see more of Romana’s work click this link.