We had the good fortune of connecting with SILVIA FELIZIA and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi SILVIA, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
My story starts in Argentina, where I was born and raised. I studied Graphic Design in Buenos Aires and worked in the industry until the mid-nineties when my husband, our infant daughter and I moved to Texas. It was a big change for all of us: a new country and new language, all faraway from our family and friends.
Our second daughter was born two years later, and I became a full-time mom who started self-educating in the visual arts.
Later, our life brought us to Asia and Europe where I continued to be a fulltime mother and wife, yet I never stopped working and studying. During this time, I also began to teach others, especially women like myself, who pursued their passion for art along all the other responsibilities in their day-to-day life. During those years sometimes I could only do a little of everything, sharing the time between my family and my studio.
A few years ago once back in Texas, I made the decision to become a full-time artist. It is the perfect time because I am able to focus all of my energy on myself. My two daughters are now grown-ups: my eldest is an anthropologist and cook, and my youngest is a writer and film director. They are both incredibly talented young women who, alongside my husband, fully support my career.
My life reflects the dynamic and imperfect balance between career and motherhood. The only secret was knowing what to do and when, and to admit that when sometimes I didn’t even know, I did what I thought was best.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a visual artist and my work is my life. I do what I love, and that is a privilege. My pieces are inspired by my memories of the past in my home country, my present as an immigrant, the experiences I have been exposed to, and everything that surrounds me.
When I paint there is a balance between travelling in time to other parts of the world and remembering stories that occurred long ago, and painting what I see and feel right now.
Each body of work I develop has a story behind it. It can be related to political issues, nostalgic feelings, or desires. Every piece has a message from the present or the past, and is always connected to the countries I have lived in, which include Thailand, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
While creating I always follow my intuition. I do not plan ahead. I like to work with color and texture, they make me feel alive, and in the end I always want to celebrate life, the life of others and my own life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I have a friend visiting, the first place we would go is The Menil Collection Campus. First I would visit the Main Building to see art ranging from ancient and medieval to modern and contemporary. From there we will go to the Cy Twombly Gallery, followed by the Drawing Institute, and we will enjoy a meal at the Bistro Menil. The next day we would go for a stroll through the Menil Park and neighborhood, browsing art books at the bookstore, passing by Richmond Hall to see the Dan Flavin Installation. After that we would spend some time meditating at Rothko Chapel, my favorite spot in town. Just a few minutes walk from the chapel is the Sicardi Ayers Bacino Gallery, one of the first galleries in the United States representing artists from Latin America, and across the street is the Houston Center for Photography. After visiting those places, we would finish the evening by going for a beer at the Saint Arnold Brewing Company.
The third day we would go to NASA Johnson Space Center, and later go for a margarita (or two) at the terrace of El Big Bad in Downtown.
On the fourth day, we will visit the Museum of Fine Arts, going around all the buildings, making sure not to miss the Kinder Building. We will cross the Rainbow Tunnel by Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz Diez and then visit the Cullen Sculpture Garden. From there we would go to eat dinner at Lucille, a Black-owned restaurant that celebrates southern cuisine.
The fifth day I would go for a bench hunt along the Waterway in The Woodlands, and specifically go see Mystical Senses by Argentinian native Gastón Carrió, and have a meal at Crú.
The sixth day we would go for a bike ride around the Buffalo Bayou Park, which would include a visit to the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens and a tour of The Cistern. We would finish the day with a meal (that must include the apple pie!) at The Blind Goat.
On their last day in Houston, I would visit James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany, and finish the trip with an unforgettable visit to the Houston Ballet.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
A shoutout to all the anonymous, brave women that decide to pursue their dreams at any age, because aging is not an impediment, but a new opportunity to see life more clearly.