Vicki DaSilva interview continued.
DaSilva: And in 2000 – I was really also back into my photography. Antonio and I, we’d get babysitters and we would go out every weekend and we would shoot. So I was full steam ahead on that, in 2003 I decided that I was, with Antonio’s support, going to leave my job and try to do the art full time and give it a shot. So I was 43 at that time and I started really pounding the pavement, trying to get into shows, trying to get shows. I got my first solo show in New York in 2006 with a gallery called Art Gotham. They’re no longer there. A woman named Kimberly, she was wonderful, she give me a show. It was at 27th street in Chelsea, I was ecstatic. So that was kind of my big “okay, I can do this.” There’s some way, somehow, I can do this. And I was hustling. I’ve always been a hustler. I sold airport advertising, too before I have my job at Rodale’s so I was comfortable on the sales, and I would just start pounding the pavement, with people in my town, whether it was the hospital or corporations or whatever to buy my work, to try and sell something.
Carey: The hospitals in your town, and pounding the pavement is an interesting process. You would just walk into the hospital and in other places and say what?
DaSilva: I would find the facilities person. The facilities person is the person you’ve got to find, they buy the furniture. Whoever’s buying the furniture might be putting work on the wall, probably posters and probably not art but they will consider artwork but where there’s a will, there’s a way and because my work was being made locally and not with the intention to sell local landscapes but it just so happened that I was making these light paintings in around my area in various parts, and on bridges and things like that and so they were images that local people could relate to.
So knowing that art has a positive effect on patients and there’s studies that prove that, I used that as well to go to local hospitals and say, “Light is an element that heals. You’re using it in medicine and artists are using it, and these are beautiful images. May I please sell you one?” It kind of starts like that. If you work hard enough and don’t take no for an answer, eventually they’ll buy something just to get rid of you. But I’ve always wanted to be and maintain my practice as a New York artist because I know that you can be a local artist or you can be a New York artist and if you live close enough, I live two hours away and I knew the city from living there for 10 years, and I thought I can put as much energy into being a New York artist and I would probably reap the rewards much better than trying to just be a local artist. So although I was just trying to sell work just to get some money and fund my practice I continued to pound the pavement and try to show my work in New York.
Carey: And you weren’t living in New York at the time, right?
DaSilva: No, I haven’t lived in New York since 1989. I’ve been living in Allentown since 1993 and I’ve been commuting on a weekly basis for my art and for any potential interaction of my art and to see artists, to haunt galleries and such since 2003 on a full time basis. So then in 2012, I got incredibly lucky and I applied for – and I always was applying for competitions, having some luck here and then in there.
Carey: In the competitions, wait because I’m excited to hear about that. Where did you find out about applying for competitions? I know you’re going around and going to different galleries and places…
DaSilva: Mostly online, online through things like New York Foundation for the Arts and others. Lists like all these different internet sites that list all the different competitions. Mostly with photography, I started out looking for photography competitions because there’s more of those seemingly than there are for painting or sculpture. I mean, there’s tons of everything out there. Now there’s café, it’s a site (https://www.callforentry.org/).