V.G. Waymer is an artist living and working in Hampton, Virginia. She was born in 1960. Her A.A. in Fashion Illustration and Graphic Design was received from New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University where she studied with Frank Raneo, a noted fashion illustrator. Prior to that she attended Pratt Institute where she was enrolled as a Fashion Design major but soon realized that her passion lay with illustration rather than the actual construction of apparel. Subsequently, after raising three children, V.G. pursued a certification as a life coach focusing on helping artists to regain effective work habits and spark new avenues of exploration in their chosen medium.
As a result V.G. has spent the last ten years in experimentation and exploration of many other types of art including lampworking, mask making, visual merchandising, costuming for an Afro Cuban dancer, and lately body painting under the name of Besitos Body painting. She studied body painting in 2011 with John Vargas, a world renown body painter. As Besitos owner and chief artist V.G. has provided her services to photographers and dancers in her community. Spending time creating is an important cornerstone of V.G.’s life as an artist.
V.G. is currently preparing for a group exhibition entitled, Art Walk scheduled for later this Spring in Hampton, Virginia. She is working to reestablish her signature style as a fashion illustrator. In the coming months she will be collaborating with several blogs and online magazines, so stay tuned! In the meantime let’s take a closer look at V.G, in our exclusive interview below:
Who are you?
I have all types of labels as most women do. Three years ago I decided that I really needed to diligently pursue my art. I had to put in the time like I’ve never done before (due to family obligations). We’ve raised three beautiful people and I often didn’t have the luxury of being a “starving” artist. Instead I found jobs where I could put my creativity to work, learn about the business end of art and also gain an understanding of what I could do “instead.” It’s true that you can be very good doing something you’re not passionate about. The trick is to take those lessons and use them when you really get to do what you LOVE! I invested a lot of effort into perfecting my skills, time management, a great work ethic, attention to detail, and building relationships; I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Now I am working to find a balance between the desire to draw (every waking moment) and the need to get more sleep. I am beginning to understand more and more that self-care helps you to produce better. It’s always about balance.
Did you always know you had a gift when it came to creating art or did it take some event in your life to push you in that direction?
I’ve always known that I was an artist. My mother is a classical pianist and my dad played several instruments and loved Jazz. Their friends were musicians, artists and dancers so I grew up experiencing creativity. I used to draw the Sunday comics when I was a kid. I originally wanted to become a dancer and did so until I was 16, then I injured my knee. After surgery and months of physical therapy, dancing seemed less of an option than becoming an artist. It just felt right… better than right!
Do you take time to sketch out your illustrations first while staring at an image or is it produced on the spot through your own creative interpretation?
I mostly use photos and fashion videos for reference, generally I block out the pose with an initial sketch. From there, I lay in color quickly where everything seems to fall into place and then I have to be careful to just leave it be. It becomes very hard not to add, just one more line! Sometimes, depending on my mood, drawing can be a release but I seem to tread a thin line between letting my creativity take over and being overly critical of the finished product. As I mostly work digitally, I usually peel back the layers once I’m done. Often the best drawing occurs in the first few minutes.
Where does your inspiration to create such beautiful pieces come from?
Thank you for saying that! Inspiration is everywhere but it takes living in the moment. That can be hard to do when you’re moving through everyday life. Sometimes it’s something that you see in passing and other times it’s as a result of watching a video, flipping through a magazine or for me listening to some House music!
Name some artists that inspire you and explain why?
I am always inspired by Gustav Klimt and Aphonse Mucha. My heroes during college were and still are Antonio, Viramontes, and Stavrinos. Antonio for his use of color and stylization of great models like Pat Cleveland who I adore! Viramontes because of his spontaneity and how he would lay down a line or swath of black like nobody’s business. As a student I was awestruck by him and used to draw with graffiti markers just to keep myself from doubting my line and my style. When using graffiti markers once your commitments are made, you can’t erase them. Stavrinos’ attention to anatomy and drawing from Polaroids is something that I’m still mindful of. My professor’s mantra was, “Remember there are bones underneath that skin!” Today I am inspired by David Downtown, Donald Robertson and Stephen Stipleman. If you want to do fashion illustrations then you have to study the “masters.” What they saw in the model and the fashions are often represented in a nuance of color, a pose and a simplified brush stroke.
If you could teleport anywhere in the world where would that be?
I would like to go back in time and have an hour with Diana Vreeland. I would love to watch Antonio draw. A place … teleport me to that house where Julia Roberts lived in Eat, Pray, Love in Italy or Indonesia; as long as there is a space to draw and do the things that make me happy.
(See next question)
What makes you happy?
“What makes me happy?” Fage yogurt with blueberries and honey… An avocado in the afternoon… honestly, I think of all the things I could say in addition to my family and my dog Mojo… remembering that moment when I realized my goals are within reach is what makes me happy. I find happiness in someone being interested in my work. Ultimately, happiness is finally being at peace with who I am in this moment.
As an artist, what impression do you hope your work leaves with you audience?
That’s a hard question. I want people to feel something when they look at my work. Whether it inspires them to want to try a certain style or feel the intent of the clothing that I’m drawing… I think that would be enough for me. I think most artists draw for themselves first and then their audience. It’s a very “inside” game. It’s how you develop your own style.
Waymer’s Street Intell:
My mantra and advice to other artists is to create. Paint, draw, sketch, write, blog, dance, sew, sing, act, cook, crochet! Anything that gets at the heart of what an artist’s true forte might be. This exploration has enriched my understanding of an artist’s work process and has allowed me to utilize my experiences to guide young artists in my community.