ART THROUGH THE EYES OF GIOVANA CAVAlCANTE
In 2015, Giovana Cavalcante found herself in a dark place. Battling depression and enduring an abusive marriage, she turned to what she knew best---creating beautiful works of art. After watching her mother create throughout her childhood, Giovana knew she wanted to make a similar life for herself--- one that was full of beauty, inspiration, and creativity.
Being an immigrant from Brazil, Giovana quickly learned the power of adapting to change--something she continues to carry with her today in her artwork. From watercolor to acrylic and digital, Giovana's style varies, serving as a testament to her ability to ride the ebbs and flows of life. Through these experiences, she's learned to welcome discomfort and change, and continues to channel this sense of adaptation throughout her artwork. Her ability to bring a piece to life is uncanny, and her sense of self through the hardships that come along with being an immigrant is unmatched--one that is evident through the vibrancy and feeling she so effortlessly evokes in each of her paintings.
Here, we chat with Giovana about her creative process, the meaning of art, and channeling culture through creativity.
INTERVIEW BY KIANA MORIDI
COVER PHOTO BY KAREEM PRAAG
When did you begin your career as an artist?
I decided to pick up watercolor painting in 2015 when I was in the darkest, lowest point of my life due to being in an abusive marriage. I thought that painting would maybe help with my depression. I remembered how much I loved to draw when I was younger, so I decided to give art another chance and I’m so happy that I did. It became my escape and I quickly fell in love with it. Within a couple of months, I was selling custom watercolor family portraits via Instagram and word of mouth. My art career started to quickly grow, and I decided to try more mediums. Six years later, I paint four mediums, am doing it full-time, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!
What originally drew you to art?
My mother originally drew me to art. Growing up, I always saw her creating. I have so many memories of her drawing, painting, scrapbooking and sewing. She would have craft day with us often, and through those days and experiences with her, I realized I was happiest when I was creating.
How has your culture and upbringing played a role into who you are as an artist and woman today?
My upbringing and culture play a tremendous role in my life. Leaving my huge extended family in Brazil and starting a completely new life with my parents and two sisters in a foreign place, not knowing a soul, having to learn a new language and culture, was really challenging. But watching my parents have so much hope and positivity towards a better future even though we had so many odds stacked against us, taught me at a very young age that believing in yourself and taking a leap of faith is very powerful.
It taught me that doing hard things is good, that discomfort is good. It taught me to not be complacent and always try new things, and I see myself applying that in my art all of the time. I think my upbringing made me a resilient person who understands that change is very a good thing. And most importantly, my upbringing gives me a sense of perspective that seems to always stay with me during my day-to-day life. My life now is very different than how it used to be when I was a child with very humble beginnings and it always helps me keep a grateful mindset.
From concept to painting, what is your creative process?
My creative process REALLY depends on what I’m doing that day. Because I paint custom portraits, landscapes, still life, and abstract pieces, it can really vary. If it’s still-life and landscapes it either starts with me having a concept, which write down, followed by a rough sketch, then later I find a color palette for it. Or it starts with me feeling inspired by a photograph which I save for when I’m ready to sit down and create, or I will randomly see something that inspires me when I’m out and about then i take a photo and create ideas off of that.
If it’s an abstract piece, it starts with me finding pictures of beautiful interior designs and architecture, or visiting beautiful interiors then taking a picture. I will look at a perfectly designed room and start to turn everything in that room into abstract shapes and pull inspiration from the color scheme or create a totally new one. You know when you’re staring at something for too long and your vision blurs? Well that’s how that started for me. But truly the process really depends on what I might be painting that day.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I love an interior that makes me feel welcome, inspired, happy, peaceful, and engaged. My eyes wander the room and I notice that for this to all come together there was so much that went behind it, like the right amount of dimension variation, the perfect combination textures and colors, and more details that all have come together to make it pleasing to look at. For my other pieces, I’m wildly inspired by humans, especially women! And vintage photographs or European aesthetics.
What's the most satisfying part about being an artist? Most challenging?
The most satisfying part of being an artist is that I get to do what I am absolutely most passionate about. The most challenging part is having to create on demand. I go through periods where I am in a really big creative block, but I still have to work and create. Majority of my work is custom paintings and it’s really hard to get it done when I’m going through one of those creative blocks.
How would you describe your style of art?
To be honest that question used to make me feel uncomfortable. I used to feel down for not having a certain style. My answer is still the same as before—I don’t have one, and I am completely happy with that. Just as my life doesn’t stay the same, neither does my art and the medium I choose to do at the time. I switch from watercolor, to acrylic, to oil, to digital. I always just paint from the heart and the inspiration that comes from that period of my life. And that’s constantly evolving.
How do you want people to feel when they receive/see a painting you've created?
I think ultimately, I just want people to feel happy and pleased. I really love when I can make someone’s vision come to life through an art piece. And when people buy my personal projects, I hope they feel inspired, and once again, happy!
As artists, it's easy to get in our heads and second guess what we're creating. How do you/have you combat that feeling?
That’s a really hard one! I wish I could say I had it figured out and know how to combat the feeling of second guessing myself, but I still feel that way very often. The only way to filter those thoughts and feelings is to just ask myself, “Is this authentic? Is it coming from the heart? Or is it coming from a place of worrying about what you think people want to see?” I have to completely erase everyone else from the equation and ask if I have done my very best and if I truly love it. I often get insecure with my work when I start thinking about what people want from me, instead of what I want from me. I should be creating what feels true and right to ME and the right people will like it. I can’t please everyone, and I always have to remind myself of that.
How would you describe the OKC art community?
The creative community here is really inspiring. For a small city, it’s really robust and it feels like everyone is supporting each other.
What does art mean to you? How does it feel, and what does that look like?
Art is everything to me. It’s all around us! Art is the greatest form of self-expression. When I was little, I used to think that art was only painting and drawing, but as I got older, I realize that art is truly everywhere! Cooking is art, music is art, writing is art, dancing is art, fashion is art—the list goes on! When you see the world noticing how much art is involved, it’s easier to feel inspired by it. Art heals.
Follow Giovana on Instagram @imakeartnotsense to stay up to date with her art.