And now for part 2 of our 3 part interview with EiR NYC Friend and Artist Velia De IuliisEir NYC: Do you ever get painter's block and not know what to work on? How do you get out of that slump?
Velia: Absolutely! I think no matter what your medium is, all creatives have different forms of creative painter's block. The way I get out of it, honestly, is just to remove myself from my environment. So, if I feel that I can’t paint, that I’m not in it, then I change the work that I’m doing; whether it’s in my studio, or simply taking myself into nature. Honestly, going to reset, camping, or surfing in the ocean, or hiking, anything away from my studio, not going to museums necessarily, but just kind of immersing myself in nature where I can truly relax has been a very vital part of my painting practice. Travel has played a huge part in that too; different smells, sights, seeing art. Just truly feeling different, stepping into other people’s walks of life, has been a very deep inspiring part of my creative practice, and I always feel so revitalized once I come back from a trip and desperate to get back in the studio. I think a lot of folks feel like you have to push through the painter’s block to get there, and yeah, sometimes you do kind of have to sit a little bit longer. Sometimes you have to be a little bit patient with yourself, you’ve got to kind of push through cause you’ve got deadlines. But I often find your best use of time in those moments is just to remove yourself from the situation that you’re feeling you’ve running up against. And whether exercise is for you, or cooking something, go out, leave, change the scene, don’t think about it. Coming back with a fresh perspective is a much better use of your time and energy versus just kind of banging your head against a wall and not getting through.
Do you listen to music or podcasts while you paint?
I do both, and I listen to audiobooks. I always start my day, almost religiously, with The Daily. I’m obsessed with Michael Barbaro and what he covers on The Daily. I also listen to BBC World, Global World Service podcast because I love listening to European news.I feel that they cover a lot more of what’s happening globally in the world as opposed to just what’s happening in the US. So I start my day with those two podcasts, and then I generally move on to an audiobook. I “read" a lot that way, through audiobooks. I think the choice between music and podcasts often depends on where I am in the painting process. If I’m sorting out what the composition will be, or what the subject matter is - I’m going to need to engage with the painting, so I will listen to music; it’s kind of a soft background noise. If I am executing, and I already have a plan and I know what visually my goals are, then I can dive into a podcast or an audiobook. So it really just depends what stage I’m in.If there was one artist, living or dead, that you could have dinner with, who would that be?
Gosh. This is super difficult to answer. Caravaggio would be up there for sure, and Vermeer. But also a gentleman called Ernst Haeckel, who was an artist in his own right, but also an explorer, zoologist, philosopher, teacher, and his work is phenomenal. So I think, honestly, I would choose him because he was someone that incorporated both art and science together and that truly speaks to me.
Do you have a painting routine – like every morning at 10:00 you’re in the studio? Or do you just work when the spirit moves you?
I like to have a ritual. So I start my day with The Daily, and I usually go on a walk. I also swim a mile twice a week in the ocean. But I generally walk my neighborhood and listen to the news with my coffee, and that gets me in the rhythm of the workflow. I leave the house, go see other sights, get kind of mentally prepared, and then, by nine I’m generally at the easel painting or doing other kinds of work. I think it’s important as a self-employed individual, and because my studio is in my house, that I have a level of structure and ritual that allows me to have a healthy working practice. I mean, of course, sometimes I get very inspired at eleven or twelve at night and I paint until two in the morning, but then I’m so tired the next day, and that’s not really feasible. So, yeah, structure is crucial for me.
What's your favorite place on earth and why?
I think this planet that we live on is extraordinary and there are so many phenomenal places that are stunning. I don’t think I can choose a favorite place because I’m inspired equally by all land and sea, so that makes for a tricky choice.