We had the good fortune of connecting with Alyssa Vallecorsa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alyssa, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I am an art teacher who has been in the field for 17 years. I started off thinking that I was an artist first, and a teacher second. What has changed over time is that I have realized I am both of these things, all the time. My work life balance is blurred because I like to experiment and have my nose in the art world on both levels, as an educator and as a creator. I rarely think about it as a balance any longer because art encompasses pretty much everything in which I am involved.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My micrography drawings address the influence of society and aesthetics on the audience and especially their reaction to that work. The reception and feedback elicited from the viewer are of particular importance to me, and continue to influence the work I produce. I take into consideration the influence of my interaction with strangers and casual acquaintances, as how they overlap with recordings of those interactions. For example, in my most recent piece, The Painter, I take a look at an artist colleague of mine and depict him as his social self, instead of his artistic self. But through the marriage of the words I use to create the image and the image of the man himself, the piece transforms into an allegory.
I often allow the personality of the individuals in the drawings to come through in my work through the use of words and phrases that are used to create the work. Creating large scale works that interact with what the viewer’s perception of “good art” is and can be is a subject that I find challenging and amusing at the same time. The reactions of the viewers when they realize the work is drawn using only letters always brings a smile to my face. Ideally, I would like for each viewer to bring his or her life experience to each piece of my art and get as much, or as little, from it as their artistic experiences dictate.
I began working in this style when I began teaching high school. One of the first lessons was using micrography to create an image. Because I have been teaching it for so long, I have mastered the steps and techniques to create a realistic micrography, through doing the lesson with my students over all these years. I have tweaked, changed, improved, and gutted many parts of this type of drawing, and have ultimately created an interesting outlet for my own creation. The best lesson I have learned along the way is that patience and practice go hand in hand when learning who you are as an artist – and what is it that your art is trying to say? In this case, it is literally spelled out in the work itself.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I agreed to move to Fort Worth after my first whirlwind visit here 5 years ago. During that trip, I visited the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Kimbell and the Amon Carter. All world-class museums that I visit frequently, and always suggest for locals and out of town visitors alike. The Dallas Museum of Art also has a wonderful collection of work, and frequently has their own world-class traveling exhibitions to visit. On top of the area museums, DFW has a plethora of street art and murals to discover around all of the city’s neighborhoods. One of my favorite things to do is go on street art hunts in the early morning before the streets are busy with traffic. And let’s not forget the Texas cuisine! There are many hidden gems in the Magnolia and Cultural District areas of Fort Worth.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have always been supported in my artistic endeavors by my family. From an early age, they gave me tools needed to create, and I am thankful for that. They also encouraged me to continue creating when it seemed as if being an artist was something to set to the side. Becoming an art educator has been one of the greatest decisions I have ever made, and this is thanks to my dad. He was exactly right – I could continue to learn and create art, but have all the benefits of the educator schedule! Not only the excellent schedule, but an outlet to keep experimenting and sharing my knowledge of the arts with others. My family have always played cheerleader in my artistic life.
All images courtesy of the Artist