Genesis Florentino: Cuteness overload and Power of Kitsch
採訪編輯 Interview and Edited by｜謝蕎安 Joanne Hsieh
圖文 Image courtesy｜Genesis Florentino
翻譯 Translated by Joanne Hsieh
邁阿密, USA. Miami, FL
Ｑ： 嗨 Genesis！請問你來自哪裡？你有推薦的當地美術館和最喜歡的去處嗎？
Hi Genesis, can you tell us where you’re from, what are some of your favorite things and favorite places?
Genesis：「我來自芝加哥附近的一個小城，（在邁阿密住過，離開了五年）但最近又搬回邁阿密了。在此之前我住在芝加哥，還有羅德島的Providence市，所以我覺得自己部分分別來自這些地方。芝加哥很棒，我在那裡讀大學，有很多藝術、很棒的二手衣物店，非常多美食（Boiler Room Pizza&墨西哥玉蜀黍，我住的街上有一個街車小販），還有很多很棒的古董店。Providence是一個很小的城市，我剛搬去時覺得那裡死氣沈沈，但久而久之就愛上這個城市，一樣有很棒的古董市場，很多藝術學生，以及小酒吧。邁阿密則完全不同，這裡很熱、色彩繽紛，很拉丁，隨處都有音樂表演。人們非常多采多姿，每個區域都有不同的氛圍。邁阿密的藝術圈不斷在擴張，但是我很想念北部那些城市特殊的小店。邁阿密的古著店跟古董市場比較不出色，但我有一些自己的口袋名單。」
I’m originally from a small town near Chicago, but recently moved back to Miami in June after being away for almost 5 years. I was living in Chicago and then Providence, RI so I feel like I have parts of those places as part of where I’m from. They were both really cool cities. Chicago was super cool, I went to school there so there was a lot of art stuff, such great thrift stores, amazing food (Boiler Room Pizza & Mexican Street Corn (there was a guy on my block with an Elote cart) and amazing antique shops too. Providence was a small city, when I first moved there it seemed so dead and boring but as you get to know the city you fall in love, there is a really cool vintage scene, a lot of art students and the small bars. Miami is completely different, it’s hot, colorful, super Latin, there is usually music playing wherever you go. The people here are very vibrant, there are a lot of different vibes depending on what area you’re in. The Art scene here seems to be growing here which is cool but I do miss all of the unique/quirky shops cities have up north. The thrift/antique scene here isn’t the best either but I find my spots.
What are some of your favorite things to do there and suggestions for
museums or galleries?
Some of my favorite things to do in Miami and anywhere is antiquing, thrifting, and going to Estate sales, I also love going to the beach. Some museums & Art Galleries that I like are Mindy Solomon Gallery, Nina Johnson, Rubell Museum, Dimensions Variable, David Castillo Gallery, and the ICA.
How would you describe your art to someone who’s never seen your
Cute, colorful, vintage, lots of patterns, innocent and nostalgic.
Can you tell us about your educational background/art related
I went to community college my first two years and transferred to School of the Art Institute of Chicago to complete my BFA. While living in Providence I took a few Digital Textile Design courses at RISD. They were really great at expanding my knowledge because I was only a little bit familiar with photoshop and digital art, but now I use it to map out most of my paintings so I go in with a plan. The painting I’m currently working on, I drew on paper and brought it into photoshop where I digitally painted it. It really helps me choose colors and play around with compositions so I can see the final outcome before I’ve even started to paint.
容許自己創作對 ”我“ 個人而言重要且有興趣的事物。現在的我有自信而且開心許多
What inspires your aesthetic choices and what is the significance of “cute”
and “kitsch” in your work?
My upbringing was filled with antiques from my dad working in antique furniture restoration and my aunts were obsessed with thrifting and garage sales. They were hoarders and would fill their homes with kitschy knick knacks. It’s definitely a nostalgic feeling and a sense of innocence of simpler times for me that I’m trying to recreate and hold onto.
到藝術學校就讀，接觸學習”當代藝術“之後，我感到似乎我有興趣的事物對大家來說不夠 "崇高" 所以不值得討論。最終我不再抗拒，容許自己創作對 ”我“ 個人而言重要且有興趣的事物。現在的我對自己和自己的創作有自信而且開心許多。」
I think after going to art school and learning about contemporary art, I felt as if the things I was into weren’t prestigious enough for people to take seriously. Eventually I came to terms with that and allowed myself to create and pursue the things that I care about and what I find important. I’m much happier and confident in myself and in my work now.
What is the current theme of your work and why?
Right now I’m in the midst of a shift personally and with my work. This past October I visited Providence (about 4 months after moving away to Miami) and I had some sort of an epiphany. I went back to find a Vintage wedding dress and to visit my fiancé during his art residency and it just so happened that everyday we were there, we went to all my favorite antique stores and there was even an unexpected vintage festival happening that weekend. I felt the happiest and the most excited that I had felt in a really long time.
That trip helped me recognize my need to make work about the things that make me happy and excited. That’s when my love for vintage and kitschy aesthetics began showing up more prominently in my work. That weekend I also told myself that from then on, all of the clothes I would buy would be either vintage or used. It’s good for our planet, and makes me happy and inspires my work. That brought the shift in my work from being about “trends & fashion” to focusing solely on vintage patterns, colors and motifs. I want my paintings to bring feelings of happiness, nostalgia and innocence.
What is your favorite medium to work with?
Definitely oil paint, I also love colored pencils and Micron pens for quirky drawings. Oil paint is simple, I love the finished look of it and the texture it allows you to create. There are so many mediums and materials that artists use today which are all really great, but I like to keep my materials simple and straightforward. In the past I’ve tried using all the materials and mediums you can think of and I felt that it ended up getting in the way, or maybe I just never figured out how to successfully illustrate my ideas in other mediums.
「另一個用油畫的原因是可以讓觀眾反思 “為什麼2020年還在畫油畫？" 我也喜歡這個問題，”為何油畫還具有重要性？“ 這是一個很古老的創作方法，特別是現在有那麼多先進的創作科技，但油畫還是很棒。充滿浪漫而且經得住時間考驗。」
One more thing I like about using oil paint in this day in age, it poses the question to the viewer “why the hell are you still using oil paint in 2020?” I like the question “Why is it still so relevant?!” It’s such an old way of creating something, especially now with all of the advances but it just works. There's something timeless and romantic about it.
Who are your art heroes and/ Non-art heroes?
Genesis：「我爸爸和我的未婚夫帶給我很多靈感。我崇拜的藝術家有Allison Schulnik、Alake Shilling、 Devan Shimoyama、Hein Koh、Ariana Papademetropoulos、Jamian Juliano-Villani、Katherine Bernhard、Agnes Martin還有 Faye Wei Wei。」
My dad and fiance inspire me. My art heros are Allison Schulnik, Alake Shilling, Devan Shimoyama, Hein Koh, Ariana Papademetropoulos, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Katherine Bernhardt, Agnes Martin and Faye Wei Wei.
「除了藝術家之外，我崇拜的對象大部分是時尚設計師：Alessandro Michele、Hannah Weiland、Richard Quinn、Jeremy Scott、Yuhan Wang、Rodarte的Kate&Laura Mulleavy、還有新銳設計師 Mila Sullivan，他用舊桌巾、床單等古董布料設計美麗的衣服。還有一個叫Soko的歌手、以及Growlers的主唱，他的造型很棒，而且他也只穿古著！」
My non art heros are mostly fashion designers; Alessandro Michele, Hannah Weiland, Richard Quinn, Jeremy scott, Yuhan Wang, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, and a new fashion designer named Mila Sullivan that uses vintage fabric from table clothes, bed sheets etc and creates beautiful clothes with. Last, a singer named Soko and the lead singer of the Growlers has great style too, he only dresses in vintage!
What is your own fashion style?
Genesis：「很多古著、花樣、我喜歡六零年代後期\七零年代初期的造型。我喜歡把男裝跟非常女性化的衣物做混搭，比方運動員夾克或 ringer tee 搭配碎花洋裝。我喜歡古著常見的精細蕾絲邊、緞帶和刺繡。我常在尋找有這類獨一無二的設計的單品。我喜歡的洋裝類型包括 prairie (維多利亞和西部洋裝的一種混合造型洋裝）、娃娃洋裝、或是彼得潘領子的洋裝。我也有一些古董的珠珠刺繡手提包，他們很甜美！至於鞋子，我最喜歡瑪莉珍！」
My style is lots of vintage, florals, and inspired by the late 60s/early 70s. I love mixing men’s clothes with really girly pieces like a lettermans jacket or a ringer tee with a delicate floral dress. I love the intricacy of older clothes like lace trims, ribbons and embroidery, so I try to find pieces with special one of a kind touches. The style dresses that I’m into are prairie, babydoll, or peter pan collar dresses. I also have a small vintage beaded purse collection because I find them so sweet and beautiful! As for shoes, Mary Janes are my favorite:).
What are some obstacles you’ve encountered so far as a female artist?
In undergrad it was very difficult to relate to some of my teachers because most of them were old white men. They generally had nothing in common with me, or an understanding of where I came from or what I was trying to convey. I think being a female artist, especially coming from lower class, immigrant parents and going to one of the more prestigious art schools was a huge eye opener for me. It was very apparent that my educational and financial background wasn’t at the same level as my peers, but I was determined to succeed and graduate. I’ve also struggled with negative self doubt and low self esteem about my work and myself. I’m finally starting to get over that negativity and push forward thanks to a lot of bumpy roads that led me to a better place.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Best advice would be to focus on the things that make me excited and if you do something long enough, eventually you will get to where you want to be.
Special Thanks to Genesis Florentino.
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