Art, Self Expression & Bringing The Showman Vision To Life
If you have visited the Showman Restaurant lately (or driven past it when heading north along Mackey Street), you may have seen a vibrant, new mural. The piece, which includes a bright yellow backdrop, was created by artist Kara Victoria of VictoriArt Studios.
Below we caught up with Kara, and found out what’s next for this talented artist.
Kara Victoria of VictoriArt Studios
1. Tell me a bit about yourself and VictoriArt?
I am an artist who is trying to prove to herself that she’s worthy of that title. Over the past decade, I’ve worked as a graphic designer, but the 9 to 5 hustle and self-doubt resulted in the neglect of all other forms of art. Pandemic lockdowns gave me a lot of time to explore and execute some of my artistic ideas, and last year, through either courage or stupidity (it’s too soon to tell), I quit my job. The idea was to give myself the freedom, space and time for art. Four months in, and I currently offer freelance graphic design services, and make art whenever I want. The name VictoriArt comes from my middle name, Victoria, whose beauty I don’t think I truly recognized or appreciated until recently. Similarly, VictoriArt Studios is me recognizing a part of myself that’s always been there, but has never been truly embraced.
2. Overall, what inspires you as an artist?
Music, people, nature, feelings, thoughts, moments… It’s hard to point to one thing and say, ‘that inspires me,’ because I think the creative mind can be inspired by anything, really. Ultimately though, it’s seeing other artists do their thing, and seeing them encourage others to do theirs.
3. Tell me a bit about the Showman mural, how it came to be, and what inspired it?
I worked with the Showman team for about a year, during a time that was particularly difficult for me. They became a support system, a family, and that was more than I could ever ask for. At the same time, I watched a parking lot become a restaurant, and watched artists grace the walls (and ceiling!) with their work. One of those artists was Allan Pachino Wallace. He’d come in to paint and I’d talk about how much I admired artists like himself, Angelika Wallace-Whitfield and Candi Thompson, because they were doing what I wanted to be doing. It was his encouraging words that led me to think, “maybe I can do this.”
A few months later, I told the Showman team that I was leaving, and the outpouring of love and support was phenomenal. One piece of advice given to me was to “be relentless”. That phrase really stuck, and I decided it was a message that I needed to share with others. This mural was kind of a tribute to all the people who showed me compassion and helped me find my confidence. I want my art to inspire others in a similar way. I am eternally grateful that I was allowed to paint my first public mural at the place where I first believed that I could.
4. What’s next for you and VictoriArt?
What’s next for me is to continue finding balance. What’s next for VictoriArt is to continue
spreading messages of encouragement, and putting “paint where it ain’t” (quote shamelessly stolen from an artist who’s IG name I shamefully don’t remember).
I’m really interested in exploring art therapy. I have had therapy sessions, which were helpful, but health care (including mental health care) isn’t as affordable as one would wish. I think in this country, it’s a feat to even admit to yourself that you need therapy, because there’s such a stigma.
Then, for a lot of people, it’s not financially accessible, and that’s incredibly discouraging. Thankfully, I have had art to lean on. Sometimes, the only thing that truly makes me feel happy and hopeful is making art, so I really want to explore ways in which I can potentially help others through art therapy. The next step would be to make it affordable, and the pipe dream is to remove the stigma around mental health.