Today we’d like to introduce you to Virginia Mahoney.
Virginia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been a maker ever since I was very small. Whether it was sewing with my mom, or constructing elaborate holiday scenes out of strange materials, I wanted to create. I’ve always needed to keep my hands and mind busy. After majoring in ceramics as an undergraduate at the University of Florida, I spent time as a Core Fellow at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, then earned my MFA in ceramics at Cranbrook Academy of Art near Detroit, Michigan. Moving to the Boston area to continue my art practice, I worked with functional, wood-fired ceramics for a few years. When I began teaching (public) high school art, my work evolved into large sculptural ceramic and mixed-media vessels. From there, it developed through several stages to the present. You can see much of that evolution, going back to the sculptural vessel forms, on my website: www.virginiamahoneyart.com . My instagram, @artisteach, is devoted to current works in progress.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Making art is a bumpy road, filled with potholes, speed bumps and blockades. There’s always that little voice in the back of your mind that pops up with questions when you least expect it. I’ve learned to try and go with the flow as much as possible, and to realize that the pitfalls are great learning experiences that often actually inspire. When my husband (an artist) and I were teaching full time and raising two kids, it was even harder, because studio time was so precious. However, that also meant that there wasn’t much time to really get into the rabbit hole of doubt very often. Now my approach is to try my best to view the difficulties as an expected part of the creative process, because, as they say, “this, too, shall pass”. And it’s true. While it may be hard being in that tough space, you always come through the other side of a problem with a new take on life and work.
Virginia Mahoney Art – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’m a visual artist working with a variety of materials, making work that doesn’t easily fall into a neat category. My ideas are often inspired or expanded through interaction with materials and process. Right now I’m continuing to work on a series of (non-wearable) vest forms, objects inspired by work uniforms that address obstacles and challenges. They embody self-doubt, uncertainty, or thoughts that hang in the background and weigh us down with questions, thwarted progress, and second-guessing. A vest might suggest protection, flotation, uniform, identification, accessory, warmth, or utility, but these vests are about struggle.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Artists define success in many different ways. For me at the moment, success is continuing to have the space, time, and motivation to be a working artist. It is making connections with other artists whose work I admire and learn from. Success is building a community that appreciates my work, and having opportunities to share it with others through exhibitions, online platforms, and other avenues I’ve yet to imagine. And success is learning new ways for all of those things to occur.
- Website: www.virginiamahoneyart.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @artisteach
- Twitter: @artisteach