Camela Guevara‘s heart beats to an artistic drum. Her talents rhythmically extend from studio artist at Redux to a highly skilled seamstress at the Charleston Garment Manufactory to the drummer for the Local Honeys. From August 17th – 28th, Cami and fellow fiber artist, Kristy Bishop will exhibit new work in a joint show, Pinned Down, at Stems, 208 Coming Street. The opening reception will be this Friday, August 17 from 6-9pm. DJ Lanatron will provide music and there will be beverages and snacks.
Last week, Cami took the time to interview with us while she was on vacation in San Francisco. Here’s what she had to say.
Hi Cami. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us while you’re on vacation in San Francisco. Can you share any inspirational sights thus far? We went to a special exhibition of the designer Jean-Paul Gaultier at the de Young Museum. They had gorgeous, iconic garments from his runways shows for viewing up close! I was definitely inspired by the couture beading there, and couture garments in general. They are made exclusively by hand by skilled artisans with the highest quality materials.
When did you first know you wanted to be an artist? I have always drawn and painted. I started sewing when I was 14. Art has been a constant in my life.
You graduated from CofC in 2010. What was your degree/area of specialty? I have a BA in Studio Art. I pursued sculpture, as well as painting and printmaking.
Describe your current body of work. I work on a small-scale applying surface designs to stretched materials. I am interested in the physical change of adding beads and cording that I make myself to fabric and making non-referential compositions. I am inspired by sewing techniques, fashion, and abstract paintings.
Can you share a little bit about your process? I start by stretching fabric. I have been using a tan-colored swimsuit lining material for beading on. The small knit allows me to add beads close together in intuitive shapes. I like to listen to podcasts and zone out beading designs or making strands of bead fringe. Making the cording is its own process: making bias tape and covering cord, which I can then manipulate on a stretched material substrate. Also, I have been experimenting with silk dye paint on the jersey material, and then adding intuitive beading.
Do you find your work as a drummer and a seamstress influence your visual artwork? How? Playing drums is kind of like beading because its adding accent and embellishment to songs in patterns. I feel like art making can be reclusive, and challenging myself to perform in front of others is empowering. Being a seamstress definitely influences my work. I love sewing garments but being able to use sewing techniques in my artwork means that the things can be a little more fragile and less functional.
Favorite musican or band? Favorite lyric from a song? I’m really into this band called Purity Ring right now. I really like female singers and heavy, bass-y beats. A lot of her lyrics reference our human biology, “Cut into my sternum and wrap my little ribs around you”.
When you are not making art what are doing? During the day I am usually at home sewing. I work for Heather Koonse of the Charleston Garment Manufactory sewing samples for local designers, or creating custom garments. I also enjoy cooking with my boyfriend, David.
How long have you been at Redux and what do you love about being apart of it’s community? I started renting the print studio after I graduated from CofC in 2010. At that time in my life, I found it very helpful to be included in a community of artists and to show artwork in the old print studio’s Shelf Gallery. Last August, I started sharing a studio with Xin Lu in the new annex. I love Redux for encouraging me to continue making artwork after college, as well as the exhibition opportunities it has offered me in the Conolly Studio Gallery and more.
Who inspires you? Today we saw Cindy Sherman‘s retrospective at the SFMOMA. I am inspired by her commitment to her work. It’s little weird and off-beat, but relatable and brave. She makes such a witty statement on how women are represented in meda. The exhibition showed her work from 1975 to the present. I loved seeing so much of it in sequential order. I am inspired by people who are compelled to continually pursue the things that are important to them, regardless of whether or not people like it, or if it fits conventional models of art-making.
Future goals? I hope to work on a larger scale, and generally get more legit as an artist (I’m working on it). I also want to design and make backpacks. I made a prototype that I am really happy with.