We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Valcik and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heather, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
Isn’t this the billion dollar question? I can only speak for myself, for obvious reasons, but I feel like if you’re still enjoying and can afford what you do, then it’s not time to give up. And if your art is too expensive to continue to make, as no one is buying it to offset costs, perhaps instead allow it to be the impetus to try another (read: cheaper) form of art. Who knows? The shift might open you up artistically into making new works that people will be completely keen to purchase. Luckily for me, I work predominately in video so I can keep creating to my heart’s content. Putting the financial aspect aside, if the very thought of sitting down to create fills you with dread, anxiety or any of the other unpleasant “feels”, it might be time to abandon ship… or at least settle on land for awhile. After all, absence can make the heart grow fonder and a break might lead to a break-through – one never knows.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a conceptual artist, I like to incorporate various elements of art together in order to most effectively communicate with and engage the viewer. I personally get the most out of looking at challenging art. Not necessarily art that is so enigmatic you would have to be Neil Degrasse Tyson to understand, but art that makes you think and have a reaction – positive or negative. Consequently, I try to make art that is challenging to the viewer. As the majority of my work is in video, there is not a huge market for it locally. After struggling to find a foothold here, I realized I might need to expand the search for likeminded galleries and competitions, I started submitting my work to festivals and magazines in New York and the U.K. with greater success. I’m still miles away from where I would like, but art is just like any other career path. It takes a lot of work on your actual pieces, as well as with networking, applications, and all the other nuts and bolts required to be a practicing artist. So while I still very much have my day job, I am steadily making progress with my art as well.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Whenever I have out of town guests, I try to pack in as many activities as possible to properly show off Dallas. Deep Ellum is always a must for a night of dinner, drinks and music. Buzzbrew’s is great for breakfast the next morning – they have proper hangover food if you’re a person that might need that while on vacation. I always include the arts district. Between the Nasher, the Dallas Museum of Art, Clyde Warren park and a ton of food trucks, you can easily spend all day in that one area. Popping over to the West End for dinner is always a good time as well. If they are here during the State Fair of Texas, that is a morning to night, must-do adventure of fried everything and pig races.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to give a huge Shoutout to John Pomara, my mentor throughout my UT Dallas Master of Fine Arts program. In the very first class I took with John, he immediately noticed the ‘Deer In Headlights Who Needs a Xanax’ look in my eyes and came over to talk to me. I told him I wasn’t an artist and thought I probably shouldn’t have signed up for his workshop. Many, many classes, shows and hours spent together later, John is still teaching me new things about art and my potential approach to it. He has been a constant source of, not only knowledge, but also support, time, enthusiasm and encouragement. He can see talent even when it isn’t ostensibly apparent and help people cultivate ways to best utilize their particular artistic skills. Even though John manages his own career as a highly regarded painter, he always makes time for his students. I would not be the artist I am today without him – In fact, I probably wouldn’t be an artist at all. My sincerest thanks, John!
Linkedin: Heather Valcik Charlet