14 November 2014

Interview with Clarice Lopez, founder of Roost in Green

This month's interview is all about a busy artistic mum who's just started her own business. I started off asking Clarice about her art work then found out there was a lot more going on... Read on to find out more about this lady's approach to making art and how she has gone from studying Architecture in Brazil and Visual Arts in Venice to launching her first web-based company, Roost in Green! All this while being a military spouse and being the mother of a happy little girl! 

Artist and founder of Roost in Green, Clarice Lopez

You studied Architecture in Brazil and Visual Arts in Venice, Italy. How did your course of studies help shape your approach to the arts. Architects are tailored to think in a structured, organized way. There is a consequence to every line you put on paper. It could be something as uninteresting as the position of a toilet, to the actual impact of a building in a community. The complete opposite of abstract art. Architecture, when thought beyond the scope of profitability, is an art in itself. One that goes beyond the individual. It is the portrait of a civilization - the built form of how a society thinks and interacts with its own environment. 
My observations when transformed into artistic work are undeniably structured. However, you will always see some sort of confined movement to it. It’s like I am trying to break away from the confinement of the 90 degree angle. It’s a real struggle. I think it says a lot about me, really!

inspired by an Architectural mindset
You have lived in many different countries and speak many languages fluently. How does this affect your craft. I remember how much my head hurt through the first month at the Accademia. I knew very little Italian. Close to none. All of a sudden I am immersed in college level Italian, deliberating on philosophy and other things. That was extremely hard! But the ability to speak different languages is really liberating to me. I like to play with words a lot, and that was actually part of my first piece at school. Capolavoro in Portuguese is translated to Opera Prima. So it made a lot of sense to play with those words in my very first piece of art. It developed into deconstruction of painting and the importance of labeling things. It was fun. I took a lot of heat for that but that was expected!
How has becoming a mother changed your approach to art? Oh, my. Becoming a mother has changed my approach to life. Funny thing is that I was still finishing up my Laurea at the Accademia when I got pregnant. So, clearly, my work Untitled, 2011 was influenced by it. While pregnant, I struggled so much to write cohesive paragraphs, but everything else was on an optimized level. 
I truly think that after my daughter was born, my mind went a bit numb. There was so much to learn and deal with that art was placed on the back burner for a few months. Later on I started dabbling with paint. My daughter has always been such a hyperactive, curious, and demanding kid, I have to say I never invested as much time into it as I wanted. Plus, I decided to start a business related to Interior Design, so I was mostly focused on learning things about business.

'Untitled', inspired by pregnancy
Do you have any tips for time management for other young artist-mothers? I think the biggest struggle we all face as mothers is accepting that our happiness is just as important, if not more, than our kid’s. A happy mother will raise a happy child. An unhappy mother will have the most unhealthy relationship one can have with their child. Such as screaming, blaming, and all kinds of hurting. So time management to me, lies in understanding that you are not a better mom if you spend 24 hours of your day with your child. It is about quality time.

In your website you show your photography work 'le mogli dei militari'. What inspired this series of photos? Being a military spouse myself I wanted to try and capture everyday moments of these amazing women’s lives. During that time our husbands were gone, and would be gone for a whole year with the possibility of never returning or returning with a disability. I wanted to capture a bit of sadness that we all sort of had hidden in ourselves. We sure had a blast in Europe, and made friendships for a lifetime, but when we go to bed at night and say our prayers, or think about tomorrow, there is always a bit of a sinking feeling. We have all gotten used to it, but I wanted to try to capture a little bit of that. I am not sure if I did.

A photo from series 'Le mogli dei militari'
And the series 'verde e giallo’? Verde e giallo was actually the subject of a competition. We had to snap pictures with green and yellow as main subject. I never submitted my photos. I used them for evaluation of my photography course. The professor never understood why I didn’t submit them.

A photo from the series 'Verde e giallo'
What camera do you use? I use a beat up Canon DSLR EOS Rebel Xs. I am not a fan. The automatic focus managed to break and I only use manual. I curse at it every now and then. Especially if someone is snapping a photo for me. It always comes out blurred. Maybe I will make a piece in that line of thought. haha

Your art work and installations are characterised by mixed media. What inspired you to use thread in your 'self portrait'? 
Self-portrait says so much about me. "Once upon a time there was a girl....” It is the start of a story that never ends and keeps on restarting. Thread is beautiful. It is the line of thought that gets interrupted. I keep losing the thread literally. The life that keeps starting over and over and over again. I have this feeling that I initiate things but never take them to my fullest potential because i have this anxiety inside of me. Plus, I think moving every so often makes you think in terms of a certain amount of time and not look for longevity.

'Self portrait'
And what about 'Requiem'? This piece is mostly about death. We were working with this old book about mosaics that was written in latin. Mozart’s Requiem is about death. Latin is a dead language. Why death? I think at the time we had lost a few people at war and it just made it that much real for me. The notes are not the actual notes, but they are falling through the lines because the thread is cut. 

Mixed media work 'Requiem'
What inspired your work 'attesa' made with matches? Attesa was born from my religious act of lighting up a candle at night, saying a prayer, and blowing it out. In Brazil, 7-day candles are very popular and are usually lit after someone dies. I wanted to create a 365-day candle - the amount of days my husband spent away in Afghanistan. I embedded the 365 used matches in gel and calculated the size of the wick to last those days. On the glass there are marks for the days, something resembling a tube for a chemistry experiment. Which was very appropriate I must say. Instead of writing all of this as an “explanation” of the work I used a mathematical formula. I really enjoyed making that candle. 

'Attesa' (wait, in Italian) is a 'candle' made with 365 matches
What do you enjoy making the most? Art work, photography? Photography is not my medium. I think I suck at it actually, but I try. I take pictures like everyone. I even created an Instagram account. But, mixed media and installations are truly great. The cool thing about art, is that it starts with observation, development in thought and then the process of translating all of this into something interesting, captivating and somewhat beautiful. It can’t be always immediate. It needs to be observed and interpreted. Observing someone’s thought is just too cool.

What are you working on at the moment? I have started to play with oil painting. Some things just can’t be skipped, in my opinion. The hundreds of years of knowledge developing and transforming a technique cannot be overlooked. I think I have done that for way too long for a lot of reasons. I have a canvas on my easel painted in ultramarine blue. If you know a bit about oils, that is not the right color for a background, but i am rolling with it. I have a sky/ocean in mind. It will be, obviously, a self-portrait of some kind.

Tell us more about your new business. My new business is called Roost in Green. I started thinking about it, doing research and networking for it 2 years ago. The idea was born right before I had my daughter, so I never spent the necessary time, focused, to make it a reality. I would work a little bit here, a little bit there, but now I am ready for the dream to become a reality!

How did you come up with the idea? It all started with the idea of creating an interior design event along the lines of Casa Cor (an annual interior design event that started in Brazil in the 80’s). I wanted to promote sustainable practices and provide the participants with an amazing experience in design. I hate trade shows. The idea of little vending booths makes my skin itch. I wanted the general public to see, touch and feel amazing design. I wanted companies to partner up with designers. I thought of events within the event. 

How did you get started? What were the challenges? The idea of putting a design scheme together with products from different companies is a fantastic way to turn an average showroom into something worthwhile. Then I ran into a bunch of issues. Not knowing people, not having a resume in the US, not having a background in business, being afraid and thinking I was way in over my head. So i decided to test the waters, become a member of SFC, partnering with them and slowly creating credibility by providing a service along the lines of the event, but online. So I created Roost In Green’s website on my own. Designed a logo, wrote the copy envisioned the whole thing. How can Roost in Green online be useful? Well I took the idea of creating design schemes and developed it into creating interactive mood boards that would help people find styled solutions within a set budget or not. It was a way to mimic the physical event idea into an online event. So I expanded on that and decided that two heads think better than one. So I opened a door for young designers to create mood boards, create a profile and start building a presence in the marketplace before they graduate. While doing that I was hired by an interior design shop to do their business development online. I accepted it because it was a good way to make money to invest in Roost In Green, gain experience, test things and network. 

What stage is Roost in Green at? The app that makes Roost In Green online interesting for businesses and customers is being developed and should be finished in 9 weeks time. I will make sure to let you know when we go live!

Where do you see yourself in five years time? Living the military lifestyle I struggle making plans for longer than 6 months given all the variables I'm constantly dealing with. I would love to see this business venture I started thrive. I have thought so much about it, battled through the night to make sense of things that were so foreign to me, it would be very rewarding to see it succeed. And it is important as an artist to know a bit about business too. Maybe I will move to California, NY, London, I don’t know. But it sure would be nice to be in a larger city with more access to high art.

There. now you know all about Clarice, her artistic endevours and her entreprising skills!

Find out more about Clarice Lopez and 'Roost in Green':



All photos in this post are courtesy of Clarice Lopez. All photos represent Clarice Lopez's original work. If you would like to use any of the material in this post please ask, and quote the source and the author.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting and well written. I enjoyed reading it very much.