Sketch: Artist and Ceramicist Genavee Lazaro
“Sketch” is The Art Report’s quick look at specific artworks, pieces of history, artists, spaces, and more. In this Sketch, we engage with artist Genavee Lazaro to discuss her paintings, her ceramics, and the succulents that inhabit them.
Can you please describe your art background and how you came to be interested in art and ceramics?
I have been interested in art ever since I was a kid. My father bought me art materials and enrolled me in art classes. Then, I went to Philippine High School for the Arts as a Visual Arts major from 2006-2010. After high school, I studied at the University of the Philippines’ College of Fine Arts as a Studio Arts & Sculpture major from 2010-2015.
The only ceramic classes I took when I was still studying was in high school. I didn’t really like it then, so I didn’t take ceramic classes in college. I just got interested in ceramics after I graduated from college, so I enrolled in UP CFA’s ceramic workshop class. After the workshop, I became an assistant at UP CFA’s ceramic studio from 2016-2017.
When you set out to work, do you find it difficult to divide your time between creating paintings and creating pottery, or do you take a break from one to focus on the other?
After painting for a few weeks, I usually will get bored and shift to ceramics. Then I’ll miss painting after a few weeks and start painting again. I can’t multi-task, but I’m the type of person who needs to do a lot of things. Before I got into pottery, I had a plant business, so back then I’d shift from painting to my plant business.
Speaking of plants—which came first, the succulents or the paintings with the succulents?
Why do succulents provide a point of interest for you?
I find them very interesting because of their different shapes and markings. And when I’m painting, I have fun imagining them with personalities and traits, depending on their shape and size.
A lot of the subjects in your paintings and the pottery you make are very home-related: the paintings show scenes from the interior of a house, depicting home life, etc., and your pottery pieces also hearken to that and to useful items found usually in a home. Is there a specific reason behind that?
I get inspiration from what is closest to me. When I was in college, I painted portraits of my family and friends. Now, I spend almost all of my time in my apartment, so it became my subject and inspiration. I also collect succulents; that’s why they’re in my paintings.
Who is a painter you look up to?
Van Gogh. I did not know how to use colors before, so I avoided colors for a very long time. I used a lot of browns. Then when I wanted to paint in color, I would look for his paintings to draw inspiration.
Tessy Pettyjohn. I really admire her use of organic shapes, especially her colorful works that look like succulents.
Genavee Lazaro’s paintings are currently on exhibition at Artery Art Space until Saturday, 28 July 2018. She is currently working on ceramic succulent sculptures in preparation for a show, slated for November, as part of Eskinita Gallery’s Tuklas program.