How to transmit the dynamic world of Latin dance on a canvas? How to paint a world full of movement, emotions, expressions?
American painter Valeri Vescovi tells us why she chose Latin dance as one of her central themes in her painting career, and how she uses her art to convey the dynamism of that dance. “I want the viewer to hear and feel my painting, not just see it”, she explains.
Leaning on her own interactions with Latin culture, as well as her memories and personal experiences of dancing, she gives us a unique, beautiful and colourful image of the Latin dance world.
Why do you paint about dance and music, and where do you get your inspiration from?
Growing up in Miami I was influenced by the Cuban culture. I loved the salsa bands and music – it is so high in energy. Miami is very Hispanic, I think it’s more Hispanic than Anglo. Many Cubans left their country and made Miami their home. You can get excellent Cuban food & coffee on just about every street corner. The markets are fabulous with their own crazy looking fruits and veggies. Talk about music, Pitbull is from Miami, his parents are from Cuba, talk about high energy.
Miami’s Cuban culture has definitely been a source of inspiration for my dance artwork. Next to that though, my daughter Angie also took dance classes several days a week in the 80’s, so I hung out at the studio watching the dance lessons. She later went to a dance school for many years and I took many photos and did countless paintings from them, like “Angie”, and “The Dancers”.
I used to dance myself when I was young, the discos and the salsa clubs, but now I just prefer to paint dancers. Their beauty, agility and control of their bodies & how they can express so much with their movements makes them perfect subjects for beautiful artwork.
How would you describe your style?
My style has evolved from a surrealistic style to a loose kind of impressionism which I use when painting from life. I will paint a subject, for instance dancers from life or photos that I’ve taken. After a couple of paintings and many sketches, I will create a version in what has been called my “Rhythmic Cubist” style. It’s like life with some of the layers of reality removed to expose the energy, movement and sound, I want the viewer to hear and feel my painting, not just see it.
How did you come to develop that particular style for your dance/music themes?
My style developed over many years of painting, especially when I was an artist at Café Tu Tu Tango in Florida – a restaurant/bar where there was a lot of live entertainment with many dancers and entertainers, and where artists could ‘paint as you eat’. I loved painting the dancers, flamenco, tango, tap, belly. Dancers are one of my favorite things to paint. I painted the bar a lot, I painted the night life of Coconut Grove, Miami in the 90’s. So, painting on site helped develop my cubist style which is a slight deconstruction of reality, it’s somewhere in between real & total abstraction.
What is the main feeling you want to give/transmit to your viewers through your dance/music artwork?
To feel the rhythm, the energy, the positivity, and the movement.
By Farah Hesdin.
To view more of Valerie’s dance artwork, please visit Valerie Vescovi. To purchase Valerie’s artwork, contact us on email@example.com.