We had the good fortune of connecting with Veronica Gaona and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Veronica, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
What makes me happy is being in control of my happiness. I realized that my happiness is not dependent on external things, but a choice I consciously make. Which is putting a lot of work into conceptualizing and creating art pieces for my practice.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My artistic practice is based in the Texas-Mexico border landscapes. I gather material down there and I conceptualize and put it together here in Houston, where I live in work, in my studio. By examining my transnational identity and the sociopolitical climate at the border, the art works are an ongoing dialogue between my own body and the land investigating ideas of architecture, migration and death through conducting location-driven research. Being a first-generation Mexican American from a family of migrants who has frequently re-located to search for employment, I examine my physical and psychological situation in the bodies of work. My practice exists at the intersection of performance, installation and digital media, and it brings to the foreground labor and spatial issues at play in my migrant family experience. Working from the border, I use my position, of insider and outsider, as a tool to bring migrant spaces to life and center them within the larger debates on migration. Currently, I’m working on two pieces, an installation out of sheets of paper and a humidifier that uses the Rio Grande water to draw attention to the deaths there and examine the fate of the bodies in the riverscape and the connections between their lives before and their lives after death.
Also, in Summer of 2021, I will show in an exhibition curated by Javier Dragustinovis at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Tamaulipas in Mexico. In March I will be having my MFA Thesis exhibition show at the Blaffer Art Museum where I will be showing the body of work I have produced over the course of three years at the University of Houston School of Art.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them to Doshi House to pick up a coffee and then take them for a stroll to Herman Park or Buffalo Bayou Park. I think visiting a city’s parks is a great insight of the shape and feel of a city and its neighborhoods. Later, I would take them to a local museum, grab lunch at Gen or Jinya and finally grab an after-dinner drink like a carajillo.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to my family, especially my mom who has always supported and encouraged me to pursue my dreams of becoming a practicing artist and educator. Everything that I am and who I will become is because of the strength and growth that my mom has shown through continuous effort and struggle in life. My family’s decision to move to the north to find employment because we were not financially stable has caused me to stop doubting myself, work hard, and make it happen.