Vicki DaSilva interview continued.
DaSilva: So all of these photographs that I made since like 1987 have been with Antonio and so it’s also a way for me to kind of be with him alone somewhere at night. It’s kind of very romantic for me. I don’t know if he thinks it that way but I sure do. So there’s all those kind of elements that go along with it. So I make two separate types of work. I make text based work and I make abstract based work. Both important to me for very different reasons.
Carey: So when you got out of school and you’re working, what was the beginning of you working with galleries or maybe we should move forward to the point where I was talking to you a while ago and I think it was, and correct me if I’m wrong, about when both your daughters were going into college that suddenly you began ramping up your efforts to get your work out there. Is that the case or what happened?
DaSilva: Okay, it’s a little earlier but the short story is that when I landed in New York in an internship in 1991 with Joan Jonas and was exposed to these very intense amazing artists I knew that I had a lot of work to do. I didn’t graduate till 1983 so I went back to Kutztown, and I really just started to focus on my own work.
When I got back to New York in ’83, I was also exposed to Richard Serra who I started dog-sitting for. I became Richard Serra’s main dog-sitter for about ten years in the 80’s. So I was around all – and the Keith Haring phenomena, I was around so many great, great artists that I knew I had a lot of work to do.
So I didn’t really feel comfortable trying to get my work out to a gallery. I was very insecure at that point. I was intimidated and I just didn’t think my work was worthy of it. And when I did try to attempt to talk to any galleries, I was rejected as most artists are when they start but I was just very intimidated by that. So I went the full time job route, I was printing black and white photography for Gary Schneider, who is a great artist in his own right. That went from there to Time, Life and People magazines and then I went to HBO and worked in their photo department.
So I went the corporate route and I was doing my light painting and my light graffiti on the weekends. And I was so busy just trying to maintain my lifestyle with my 9 to 5 and then with my own work – that as much as I was involved in the New York art scene I was removed too, and Antonio moved to New York in 1987 with me and a couple of years later we wanted to try to start a family. And so we moved to Europe and for the next 8 years I was having children. I had two children, we lived in Portugal and then we lived in Paris. We had a daughter in Portugal, a daughter in Paris and I knew that I couldn’t be the mom that I wanted to be and the artist that I wanted to be at the same time. I didn’t want to resent either and I didn’t want to fail at either.
I’m kind of an over achiever in my own mind so I decided that I would work, started doing night photography. It just wasn’t going to happen so I was always thinking about work and I always wanted to continue doing it but I did more like collage-type things that I’ve never even shown but I had this practice, but I was focused on being a parent. So about when the kids started school, elementary school, I started to get into it a little bit. The first time I went out on a photo shoot, I think I did my last night photo shoot in Portugal in 1989 before I got pregnant and then in 1990 and I didn’t really do any until 1999. It’s about ten years and I went back at it. The kids at that point where 9 and 7 and I was goofing around with stuff inside but I really got back into it about 1999 but at that point I had another full time job.
We had moved back in the states in ‘93 and I was freelancing shooting corporate parties and things like that as a commercial photographer but really on a low end scale. Like okay, I thought, I do parties and second weddings, that’s about it. Nothing you can really hold me accountable for because I know there’s a lot of drinking involved. I did that and then I got another full time job as the creative photo editor at Rodale which publishes healthy lifestyle magazines such as Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Prevention, and a slew of books and bicycling magazines, sports magazines. So I was the creative director, the creative photo editor for a year and a half and then I went on to be the photo editor for Runner’s World magazine for 3 years.