If you read Monday Magazine at all you probably saw Jason Youmans’ article Making New Media a week or so ago, and you’ll know that the hottest new trend in local news, is just that, local. The recent economic crises along with the ever ascendant internet culture is leaving big news in the dust. It wasn’t long ago that CBC radio layed off hundreds of staff and severely cut programming. Now, the lastest casualty, Chek-TV, is begging for donations at the local Home Hardware. I kid you not. Even old finger pointing, holier than thou, Monday Mag is hittin’ it hard with full page cigarette ads.
The point? Well, it’s up to us. You want news? You want news about your community, your interests, your politics, your art? Then write it! film it! report it!
Think Vancouver circa 1895. Opportunity like salmon. Lots of it.
And that brings me to Efren Quiroz. Just one of many taking up the guantlet. Efren is the maestro behind one of Victoria’s newest art networks, exhibit-v. He’s blogging, he’s on Facebook and Utube and he’s bringing us art straight from the proverbial horse, the artist, that is. Read on for our email interview and then, check him out at exhibit-v.
ARt in Victoria: are you an artist?
Efren Quiroz: I am not, I took some lessons when I was younger, watercolour and pastel but I did not continue working on them. But I guess I can say I have a very strong artistic inclination!
AiV: so what is it that interests you so about the arts?
EQ: Well how the person, in this case the artist, can express his/her feelings through lines,colour,forms,figures,symbols etc.
AiV: were your parents artists?
EQ: Well not my parents but some of my uncles and aunts: Mostly performing artists (actors or dancers) one he was a painter. So I grew up around artists and their friends, more artists.
AiV: perhaps friends?
EQ: Friends artists yes many ! back in my native Mexico and here…my significant other is a visual artist.
AiV: what form of art do you find most interesting?
EQ: Well I don’t have one in particular that I really like.I find interesting acting,painting,dancing and cinematography !
AiV: what is your professional training?
EQ: Business administration, thou I don’t work in that field.
AiV: do you have an interest in journalism? in writing?
EQ: I guess I do, when I was a teen I always was writing in my personal diary short stories.I don’t write a diary anymore and I destroyed the old one!
AiV: do you think that your blog work is an art form?
EQ: Not really, well I never had that thought. I created the blog and everything attached to it because I thought there was the need to put all the pieces together in the visual art scene in Victoria.I wanted to let the world know how rich and eclectic our visual arts community in Victoria is– using the internet for this purpose !
AiV: you are something of a neophyte documentary maker?
EQ: How did you guess that? Yes I am . I started using my video camera in April when I created the exhibit-v and I’m learning along the way and I am loving more and more the whole process.
AiV: have you collected videos and interviews previous to this project?
EQ: I do have a small collection of videos and interviews from all over the world, most of them on-line sources. I am always looking for more and more interviews, documentaries and videos.People recommend videos for me to watch, it is so much fun, like I said this project its so much fun!
AiV: if so were they also focused on arts?
EQ: yes all the videos I watch are somehow focused on the arts in general!
AiV: when filming interviews, are they interviews?
EQ: I don’t consider them interviews, I think of them as conversations with the artists. Yes there are questions but the artists can elaborate as much as they want and also change the meaning of the question if they want. I want my ” conversations: with the artist be different from the regular formats of interviews.What I want to achieve is to make the viewer connect with the artist right away, see their soft side, their creative side, follow them through their creative process when they are describing a painting. All the conversations are made keeping in mind that the viewer is a person who does not know anything about the artist.So the language and the format are very simple to understand.
AiV: do you have a list of question prepared?
EQ: When the “interview” is scheduled yes I have some ideas of the questions ( there are like 10 or so questions that I have in mind always) But what happens very often is that in the first answer opens up to a different set of ideas .
AiV: it seems from what I’ve seen that you do prepare the speakers somewhat.
EQ: Yes I do, before we start filming we have a short chat about what it is that I want to achieve with the conversation, let them know what is that I want to know about them as an artist, and I let them think about it for couple minutes. Once we start filming the artists are free to say want they want to say, I usually don’t edit the conversations, I leave them “raw”, I like to leave the natural expressions of the artists intact.
AiV: is there a gallery in Victoria that you find extra inspiring?
EQ: mmm you are putting me on the spot here girl.. ;-) …but I will say that there are many galleries in the city that interest me because they focus on different types of art and taking as a whole they give you a fuller idea of what is going on in the art scene — and that suits me because my taste in art is very broad.
AiV: how about a specific artist or curator?
EQ: Another of those tricky questions……. :-) Well I am just going to say this: I have a list of like, close to a hundred artists who’s work I admired and would like to own — am I trying to garner the artist vote here or what ???? Curator? Well I haven’t followed the career of many of them so I can’t say much about this topic !
AiV: i noticed you recently included a books section on your blog. will you ever include the arts beyond visual? dance or theatre for instance.
EQ: I don’t really think so, You see there are not many websites dedicated entirely to the visual arts here in Victoria,so that’s why I created exhibit-v ! The performing arts are very well covered out there.
AiV: you choose to blog in order to inform the greater world about Victoria art scene. are you pleased with the response to your blog so far?
EQ: I am. I think every project takes time to get to where you want it to go, so patiently I am seeing the growth in viewership in the project.But I am going to tell you something, the blog ( http://exhibit-v.blogspot.com/ ) is just one part of the exhibit-v entity which includes: the webiste: www.exhibit-v.ca, the youtube channel ( http://www.youtube.com/user/ExhibitVic ) and the facebook pages ( http://www.facebook.com/pages/exhibit-v/104673358115 ). I used all these tools to inform the greater world, like you said it, about Victoria visual art activities. Also it is important to know that exhibit-v is non commercial right now, nobody gets charged for the service.
AiV: an arts writer i know once told me that artists were easy because they really appreciate the interest, they like to talk about themselves and their work. i’m not sure this is always true. how do you feel?
EQ: In my experience, so far, many of the artists I have met are camera shy.Some of them I literally have to twist their arm, to get them talk to me! I guess even if you like to talk about yourself once you have a camera right in front of your face and this guy asking you questions, and you are thinking oh my I am going to be on youtube ! – everything changes !!
AiV: i think Mexico is a very artful place. how does Victoria hold up?
EQ: Oh yeah Victoria is a very prolific art place. There are 20 something art galleries in the city,at least 75% of these galleries handle 15 or more artists each.Now count all those artist that don’t have a gallery that represent them,and add to those numbers all the new emerging talent…you begin to realize how enriched we are.