This interview features Studio Arts Major Paige Guerra, Southwestern University ’15.
Annie Evans: Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Paige Guerra: I’m Paige Guerra, originally from Victoria, Texas. I go to Southwestern University in a small town near Austin and will be graduating this May with a degree in Studio Arts. My paintings are an exploration of feminist critique, self-identity, and aesthetics through a humorous lens. Using large, colorful abstraction and representation, I create playful paintings that examine gender roles, female agency, and self expression.
AE: How did you get started in painting?
PG: I got started in art from a young age, because I grew up in the country as an only child and had to entertain myself for the most part. Once I realized I was good at it, I started selling my work and taking the other kids’ lunch money.
AE: What brought you to the New York Arts Program?
PG: During summer 2014, I took a drawing/painting intensive class at The New School for a month and fell in love with the city. I knew my time in NYC wasn’t going to be satisfied that soon, so I cancelled my study abroad plans and applied here in order to take my career as an artist seriously and immerse myself in the art world.
AE: What is your internship here with the program?
PG: I’m currently interning for two abstract artists in the city, Bruce Pearson and Melissa Meyer. Bruce’s studio is in Williamsburg and Melissa’s is in Manhattan. They’ve been an incredible source of knowledge for me as a young artist, from helping me with my independent projects to immersing me in the contemporary art lexicon.
AE: What’s one of the most valuable things you’ve learned in your time with NYAP?
PG: The most valuable thing I’ve learned so far in the city has been to accept opportunities often, and graciously. Saying yes is important in order to get the full experience of a few short months in New York.
AE: What is something that has surprised you while being here?
PG: I’ve been most surprised at how densely interconnected the art world is. Everyone knows each other. It’s really important to remember people’s names, faces, and work.
AE: What advice would you give to students interested in NYAP?
PG: To any students interested in this program, please just do it. NYC is an amazing and vital place to be if you want to be an artist of any sort — you will literally be surrounded by the people you studied and admired in your college classes, and you will be able to ask them questions and share ideas. Being around all of these great minds really reminds you that if you want to be successful, you have to get to their level and then surpass them. It’s both very terrifying and very exciting.
To learn more about Paige’s work, check out her website at paigeguerra.com!