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Artist Interview: Derrick Velasquez

A few weeks ago I was at Dynamo, BMoCA’s annual fundraiser because I donated a piece to their auction. At the end of the evening I stood around waiting to meet the person who won the bid on my piece but to my chagrin they picked it up during the few minutes I was away. When I got home I received an email from Derrick Velasquez, he let me know he had purchased my piece at the auction. Not only was it so nice to know who owned one of my pieces but I “met” a really interesting new artist. Derrick’s work feels like it is floating and makes you wonder if one shift in the piece could send everything toppling. His work is complex and simple while heavy and light, an exercise in balance. See for yourself, here is my interview with Derrick Velaquez:

Derrick Velasquez, Untitled 1, Marine Vinyl, PoplarDerrick Velasquez, Untitled 1, Marine Vinyl, Poplar

Tell me about your art?

My art comes from a multi-disciplinary practice. I hope to remain mobile throughout my career so I don’t get bored – but more importantly so I am able to execute any idea I please when the right opportunity comes up. I enjoy a range of mediums but have most recently been attracted to industrially designed and produced material that is either maleable or can be manipulated in new processual ways. I tend to look a these materials as mostly “blank” but keep in mind that they have a purpose and try investigate their physical qualities. Material lists might include: 2X4s, masonite, acrylic, bar clamps, marine vinyl, various hard woods, found materials, etc. I like to take these materials and use forces that are natural like gravity, or wind, and more forced pressures like bending something until it breaks. For me this exploration of specific materials comes from a position of our physical and psychological relation to said materials. How are we subconsciously relating to the 2X4s in a wall or the drywall covering them?

Derrick Velasquez, Untitled 3, Vinyl, PineDerrick Velasquez, Untitled 3, Vinyl, Pine

How did you discover marine vinyl as a medium in your art?

When I first moved to Denver, I couldn’t find a job so went head first into the DIY craft scene just as it was gaining a lot of steam. I chose bookbinding because it was this precise, almost completely handmade process that produced something that I could actually use myself (journals and sketchbooks). I wanted to make some vegan options for soft covered journals that would approximate leather and I found a wonderful selection of marine vinyl at a great Denver fabric store. I was precutting all of these strips that were enclosures for my soft covered journals and started storing them on a single screw. So my wall vinyl pieces are more formalized versions of that initial bookbinding studio crossover. It’s a great material that comes in almost limitless colors and has some interesting qualities to it.

Derrick Velasquez, Untitled 31, Vinyl, CherryDerrick Velasquez, Untitled 31, Vinyl, Cherry

What inspires you?

Honestly, most of my ideas come from conversations I’ll be having with friends (usually but not always inebriated) late at night when we come up with the dumbest, biggest, or most absurd plan and then I try to execute that – especially when it comes to my larger installations and sculptures. In addition to that, happy accidents in the studio, jokes, or happenstance encounters with structures, people, or materials are always inspiring for me. I definitely feel like I have the potential to run out of ideas – so sometimes I force inspiration and fail but hopefully it magically comes to me.

Derrick Velasquez, Untitled 15, Bicycle, VinylDerrick Velasquez, Untitled 15, Bicycle, Vinyl

Have you always made art? Do you remember when or where you first found the artist in yourself?

I don’t know if I’ve always created art necessarily – I would say I have always been generally creative and not always in artistic ways. I actually tried to avoid art as much as possible most of the way through high school. My brother always drew and I didn’t want to be in his shadow. He got me into black and white photography junior year of high school and when I was a freshman at UC Santa Barbara, he was a senior with honors in art, so I really tried to avoid the art department at that point…Eventually I caved in and took a time based/performance class in addition to some photography classes and just fell full force into art by my Junior year where I was taking independent sculpture classes and art history classes. I probably didn’t really make art until my last undergrad project where I created a working skeletal cannery. But I really didn’t start calling myself an artist until about two years after grad school.

Derrick Velasquez, Untitled 26, Vinyl, WalnutDerrick Velasquez, Untitled 26, Vinyl, Walnut

What is next for you?

I have quite a few shows all over next six months – a couple in Denver at non profit spaces in October – my work wil be at the Texas Contemporary Art Fair in Houston in October as well. My work will also be in Miami Project for Art Basel through Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia and then a museum biennial in Santa Fe in early January. Crossing my fingers for Volta NY in March of next year and then a solo show at Pentimenti gallery in Philadelphia in late April.

Practice wise, it’s time to expand my practice a bit to include new structures and new materials. Gots to be mobile.

Derrick Velasquez, Untitled 12, Vinyl, AshDerrick Velasquez, Untitled 12, Vinyl, Ash

For more information visit:

www.DerrickVelasquez.com
Robichon Gallery



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