Meet Avery Wheless, my continually breathtaking artist of a friend. I adore that Avery has never boxed herself in. She identifies as some things, sure, but never in absolutes. She's crazy curious about her environment and seeks translation of those findings and sentiments into her artistry — painting, film, writing, drawing, modeling . . . Avery is always inspiring me to push the boundaries of of my own aesthetics and understanding. I love you AW!
See here for a really ethereal (but so relatable) recent film she's made, which just got big love on Vice.
Where are you from? How has that influenced you?
"I grew up in Petaluma, California, a small town north of San Francisco. I would say the environment I was raised in (the people and the landscapes) really influenced the work I create visually and emotionally. I am beyond lucky that the people I grew up around encouraged creativity and so my outlet as an artist was never really a question, but more of a necessary way of communication and continues to be so."
What is your work?
"I identify first and foremost as a painter. But at this time, my studio practice often incorporates writing, performance, and video as essential and informative components.
In general, my work serves as a method of reference, a way to document and process points as an emotional body in a constructed landscape and articulate an incessant internal monologue. There was a time when I was completely unable to access this articulation and it resulted in self-destruction and isolation. When I realized my work could break this cycle, I never really looked back.
My work often deals with concepts of play and boundary lines when existing within an arena. By fabricating my own arenas, I construct spaces in which I possess the power to make my own rules and penalties. I can act and react as I please and justification is not needed. I am interested in the opportunity to bounce between the authentic 'real' world, and the imitation of that world when explored in my studio practice. I have found the arena’s purpose has become emotional rather than physical, as we are all merely players in the game."
What do you currently feel compelled to create?
"Lately, I have been pulling imagery from my new home in LA, which has struck me as a stimulating yet plastic paradise — always in bloom, but forever in decay. I began using resin to encapsulate, layer, and synthesize imagery in a sleek, yet fluid surface. LA has also granted me the opportunity to collaborate with several amazing musical artists on videos, so I have been producing more video work, which I love. In general, I feel compelled to create more — it’s all I ever want to do."
How do you tap into your intuition?
"Tapping into my intuition and creativity manifests itself differently based on my physical environment. I'm always in that realm internally, but I have been struggling how to externally find the "space" to do so. Sometimes, with the hustle of work coupled with my limited living conditions, financially and spatially, creating isn't really an option. When I first moved, I didn't have a set place to live, so I turned to writing, and then I rented a room, so I painted in there. Then I rented a small apartment, so I started painting in my kitchen. Now, I am at the point where I am renting a garage space from another artist as my 'studio.' Whether creating internally or in a 'kitchen studio' I’m constantly in that state. It’s just a matter of taking what I have, saying thank you, and continuing to grow."
What does "Beauty" mean to you?
"I’m not sure if I can really answer this question on an aesthetics basis but anything intriguing I find beautiful, something too obviously beautiful is boring and therefore I don't find much use for it. I suppose vulnerability is one of the most beautiful things — sharing yourself with others, disarming and exposing yourself to connect. It’s the most terrifying and exhilarating thing to do and the motivation behind a lot of my actions in life."
* all art is by Avery. images of Avery are by (respectfully first to last) Esteban Schimp, Julian Wasser, Leia Marasovich, Jordan Douglas.