Meet Vanessa Rivera, Los Angeles based artist and fellow Outsider! I recently found her on Instagram through a mutual friend and fell in love with her work. But even beyond the work, I fell in love with her story and how her experience has influenced her latest collection - The Hueman Experience.
• The Hueman Experience •
As an artist, it’s always hard to decide whether to give your audience a story, or allow them to create their own ideas about the work. What I’ve realized is that what attracts me to an art piece, or artist, is their journey, the process that brought them to the final product. As huemans, it is difficult for us to be vulnerable.
“I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit.”
So I question, how vulnerable am I willing to be for my art?
At the opening reception of my solo show, a lot of people asked where the inspiration for The Hueman Experience came from. I gave vague answers for the sake of time and as a defense mechanism, but today I am giving you the real story.
It started last year after coming back from an amazing study abroad experience in Italy. I got back just in time for my college graduation. As most college grads, I was excited but also very scared. I didn't know what was next for my career, my love life, or finances. The thought of a 9-5 scared me. I gave up my apartment when I left for Italy. When I got back I stayed at a friends for a few weeks. Then, at my mom’s small apartment. We'd switch off sleeping on the floor. I was the most broken I had been in years. I was also heartbroken. Right before leaving for Italy I lost one of my best friends. The person I had been spending all my time with was no longer a part of my life. I came back to a whole new world. One that I was not excited about.
My first goal was to give my mom her space back. I got a job as a graphic designer, got a second job, & started doing freelance design work. Within 2 months I was moving into my new apartment. I was making money but I was miserable! I hated my 9-5 so much. All I wanted to do was sit in my studio and paint!!! I missed art. Those moments showed me that I could never live without it. I set a goal to save every penny I made until October, and then I'd quit. So I did. In mid-November, I started creating the Hueman Collection. Not realizing that what I was creating was what I was going through.
The Transformation was the first piece. It came to me in a meditation right after I quit my job. I felt like I had just broken out of my cocoon and it was time for me to learn to be free in every aspect of life. I made a commitment to shed everything that no longer served me. That included ideologies, people, jobs, etc.
Wholeness was next. I was now learning to deal with the heartbreak. To no longer suppress it. I was forced to look inside of myself and figure out why I didn't feel whole, why I didn't feel worthy, why I felt like I needed someone else. I forced myself to finally cry about it. I found out that the whole time I was reaching for God. Forced to deal with my demons...My experiences...To be alone...I learned to love myself.
Then came Evolution. It's a daily intention. Once you learn to harness self-love you can love everything around you. Every day is not perfect and some days I may feel a little down because maybe I lack a little bit of sleep, but every day I love. I feel peace in the chaos. I feel love everywhere. Every person, every tree, every flower. I feel it!!
Well, it's been 10 months since I quit my job. I promised myself I would never do anything that doesn't serve my purpose in some way. And I don't. I thank God for the freedom I live in every single day. Next month I’ll be taking my mom to Costa Rica for her birthday. Something I’ve wanted to do my whole life. Isn’t it interesting how the dark moments are where we find our light?
Art gave me courage, purpose, freedom.
To learn more about The Hueman Experience and stay updated on Vanessa's work, visit vjrivera.com