Today we’d like to introduce you to Patricia Villafañe.
Patricia, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
My love of photography started simply: with the clouds. I was a high school student living in Decatur, and almost every day around sunset, I would go out into the neighborhood with my sister’s camera to capture the beams of light shining through them. I loved the contrast between the blue sky, the fluffy white balls, and bright beams poking in and around them.
At an earlier age, I had developed a love for fashion. I was around 12 when I started collecting Elle and Vogue magazines. I always flipped to the very back where the editorial shoots were. I had never seen anything cooler than those gorgeous models in funky clothes relaxing in unique locations. My mind was blown. When I learned how to photograph in high school, I realized that in addition to photographing clouds, I loved photographing people. I took pictures of my friends and my sister Paola regularly. Naturally, I started to move in a fashion photography direction. By the end of high school, I had put together my first self-published “fashion magazine.”
In college, I had the privilege of being in an incredible BFA photography program at Georgia State. The program had a focus on creating conceptual art photography. We weren’t just making photographs to make photographs. We were asking questions. Why do I want to photograph that particular subject? What does this mean? What does this make me feel? In a lot of ways, being in that BFA program felt like therapy. I started to confront my identity as a woman, as Latinx, as a Puerto Rican, as an American. I learned to make pictures that were more than just beautiful — pictures that come from my inner self.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I create fashion photographs. For me, fashion photography is a way to express the vibes of the time. The clothes and the people wearing them can potentially tell a story of the culture and society we are living in. Growing up as a second-generation Latina in the South, I learned what it means to identify with multiple cultures. In my work, I make it a priority to represent marginalized groups in a positive light. I am beginning to see a push in the media to show the perspectives of different kinds of people such as people of color, LGBQT people, and immigrants. I want my work to contribute to that conversation.
Because of my background in conceptual art, I am fascinated by the artists I have seen who seamlessly blend conceptual ideas into fashion work. A new favorite is Nadine Ijewere – there is a surreal dream-like quality to her fashion work. Photography like hers challenges fashion photography while also embodying it. I love that kind of duality. I also want to encourage an appreciation for local creators. Atlanta is full of fashion designers, make-up artists, jewelers, stylists, etc. Last year, I enjoyed creating a zine called ATL LOOKBOOK, a collection of my collaborations with local fashion professionals.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
The biggest challenge facing artists is making a living off their work. Artists dedicate hours to their craft but aren’t usually compensated fairly. Many are balancing jobs to make ends meet. There is support from grants and other programs but not enough. The issue of making a living is not unique to artists, but I think every artist struggle with the balance of creating their work and making money.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
You can check out my portfolio here: www.pvillaphoto.com and Instagram here: @pvillaphoto. You can e-mail me at email@example.com for bookings. I am also open to collaborations with other artists.
I am currently having a few photographs up at the Atlanta History Center from a collaboration called Fresca Linda with fellow artists Jess Silva and Lia Guzman. The show is called ‘Nuevolutuion: Latinos and the New South’ and it is up until the end of the year.
- Website: pvillaphoto.com
- Phone: 706-817-2513
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @pvillaphoto
- Facebook: facebook.com/pvillaphoto
P.Villa Photo (my work)
Brandon Mishawn (photo of me)