Interview: Nicole Gervacio – Artist

Introducing the very creative, Nicole Gervacio!

Tell us about yourself: who are you, where are you from, and what do you make?
“My name is Nicole Gervacio. I was born and raised in Salinas and currently live and work in Oakland, California. As an artist I make a lot of portraits and assemblages. I have experimented with large-scale installation and hope to have more opportunities to develop this craft. I also love to dance and am currently exploring the possibility of performance art and considering how I can use my body as a medium.”

How did you get started making the type of art you make?
“I grew up drawing, from a very early age, and I remember experimenting with collage throughout my life. I like to use a combination of methods that I’ve learned, printmaking, assemblage, and woodburning…as I explore a concept or idea all types of methods, materials, and mediums are considered. Whatever resonates with me can influence the creation and intention of a piece and vice versa. I can start with a feeling or idea in mind and end up creating something completely different by the end.

I began to develop my style of art at the end of my education at California College of the Arts. I was studying illustration but for some reason the practice was unfulfilling to me. I took a collage class with Jovie Schnell and was immediately consumed with ideas. While illustration gave me strength in narrative and storytelling, the collage class really motivated me to experiment and find new ways of to create work.”

Nicole Gervacio
What’s your inspiration?
“I am inspired by genealogy and memory, destruction and deterioration, permanence verses impermanence. I am driven by the fear of forgetting, I am inspired by accidental and serendipitous moments, especially things so subtle if you aren’t looking at the right moment it can go unnoticed.”

What does your typical day look like?
“It’s hard to say, I have a very inconsistent schedule. I work at a dance studio so some days are designated for for that purpose. A day at the dance studio includes creating graphics, meetings, updating media, or can it can be completely consumed with music, dance, and choreography, and I spend the day living out of a bag with all my necessary materials. Some days are spent in my art studio. I’m lucky to have it set up in my living room. It’s nice to be there during the day, but I especially love being there late at night. I am nocturnal, I don’t sleep that much. I think sometimes I spend more time organizing, collecting, and rearranging materials than actually making work, it’s important to know what I have in the studio for when I work on a project. If I leave my studio stagnant too long I forget what is there and lose the motivation and drive to be in the space.”

How have others responded to your work?
“From my experience, the most common response to my work is an emotional connection or reaction. People often open up about what they experience or interpret from my artwork, and that is something I find most interesting: the viewers experience. I can talk all day about what my art means (or the fact that I don’t know what it means) but what is most intriguing is what transfers into the viewer’s mind, to know what messages or feelings were received.”

Nicole Gervacio
How do you keep motivated? What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
“Anyone can decide: I will make art about THIS. I can do that, I can choose to make art about something specific, but a majority of the work I make is based on intuition, an inner desire, and need to make art. That need is what motivates me. I always have that need, even when I am experiencing a creative block. I can still feel inspired and I constantly have ideas about what I want to make, but a block physically paralyzes me from creating the ideas. The blocks I’ve experienced are often caused by insecurity and a fear of making something “bad”. Speaking of making “bad” art…the best advice I’ve been given was from my cousin Liza. I literally just graduated from CCA and was suffering from a seriously long block. I called this time in my life the art school detox” phase, I was very insecure about my work. School had trained me to not only look at art critically, but caused me to be very critical every move I made creatively. I was too self conscious to make anything. I told Liza about the block and she told me: “…then make bad art, let this be your bad art phase”. It felt a little bit of relief at the thought of receiving approval to make bad art, but the part that stuck with me was her basically saying: fuck it, there’s nothing wrong with bad art, just make it.”

Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
“Be limitless, be open to experiences and advice but don’t forget to follow your inner voice, your intuition, there is no right way or wrong way to do things, be awkward, don’t be afraid to make eye contact, be loud, make up your own words, touch your body.”

Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
“I want to dance ALL OVER THE WORLD.”

Nicole Gervacio
What’s your dream project?
“Dancing all over the world and experiencing it with people I love.”

What art supplies do you use?
“Anything and everything that resonates with me or with the idea I have in mind. Dirt, resin, charcoal, hair, paper, flowers, wood, fire, flour, eyeshadow, tea, staplers, spray paint, bodies, photography…”

How could the art industry become better in your opinion?
“Be more supportive of the artist whose focus is to share experiences. In my opinion there is a specific light to how people view art and the way it is shared with the public. I feel like there is more focus on the act of selling, and that focus toward profit creates exclusivity that shuts the doors of innovation and development. I think this is more aimed at the way galleries function. So many artists have unconventional ways of creating art and they are limited in their abilities to share it with others. I see a lot of artists that don’t know how to show their creations. The traditional way of running a gallery has it’s values but the methods should adapt and grow as art itself continues to evolve.”

Any other artists that you would like to recommend for others to check out as well?
Jane | video, painting & drawing
Jack Cram | sculpture & installation
Yina Kim | illustration
Cianna Valley | printmaking, sculpture & installation
Oliver Dillion | printmaking, painting & drawing
Wei Lah Poh | jewelry & metal arts
Kate Klingbeil | printmaking, painting & drawing
Grace Lannon | printmaking, painting & drawing
Alan Chin | sculpture, installation, painting & drawing
Kindah Khalidy | fashion design, painting & drawing
Bex | painter

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