As many readers know, Artist Silvia Poloto last year purchased the building on Innes, the gateway to The San Francisco Shipyard in Hunters Point. We had the pleasure of touching base with our new neighbor and hearing her amazingly beautiful journey, filled will dreams, pain and love – all leading to self discovery and creative expression. It’s no wonder she lives surrounded by her art. She is a work of art herself.
Thank you for sharing with us, Silvia! We are thrilled to have you as part of our community.
Q: The pairing of juxtaposed colors, materials, textures and symbolism is prevalent in many of your works. In many ways your abstracts are relatable to everyday life, and the human story. Where do you find your inspiration?
SP: My art is about transforming pain and pleasure into something tangible, so I can say my inspiration comes from within. However, working in the studio every day is what makes this inspiration take form. So for me, inspiration is discipline!
Q: Your personal journey and affinity for the art world is one which many local youth may relate. What advice would you give the youth of Bayview-Hunters Point who are drawn to express themselves creatively, yet struggle with the notion that art can be part of their career path?
SP: In my opinion, the most important thing is to be exposed to art in as many forms as possible from an early age. And more important than becoming an artist is being open to creativity as a way of life, it’s finding your own inner sense of creative satisfaction. If you tap the creative self, you will live an expressive fulfilling life it doesn’t matter if you become an accountant or a musician.
Q: What prompted your studio move from the Mission to the new space on Innes in 94124?
SP: When I moved to San Francisco from Brazil, I used to visit the Hunters Point Shipyard studios often, and eventually I got a welding studio there. I have been in awe of the beautiful surroundings at the shipyard for a long time and always took it as a source of inspiration. At the same time, I have dreamed of a large warehouse space of my own, where I could live and create beyond space limitations and without having to move away from San Francisco. So my dream has come true! This area offers a unique blend of nature and urban lifestyle with inspiring contrasts against the view of the Bay and all under the best weather in San Francisco!!!
Q: Everyone is buzzing with excitement about your new studio in Bayview. We are hearing whispers that you may be hosting salons, dinners and open studios at the location. Are you able to share any future plans?
SP: The space is evolving along with my ideas about it. I will definitely have a gallery space where I can host open studio and perhaps other artists’ work. Hosting dinners have always been part of my life, so now I have the opportunity of doing this in a bigger scale. Among yoga classes and a few other creative workshops, I am seriously considering having a music academy for kids, and also a space for performance. I think all the ideas will evolve as the space gets ready for the move. I see an active creative bubble, an artwork in progress, a space for creativity and for healing.
Q: Do you have a local hero, someone that has been of particular support to your dreams and career?
SP: I have countless friends, art dealers and collectors who have been very supportive throughout my art career, however there is one person that comes to mind when I think of a specially deep kind of support, my late husband Billy. He was from Ireland, we met and got married in Brazil and moved together to the Bay Area. Very soon after the move, I decided to change careers from Electrical Engineering to welding steel sculptures. Reassured by my enthusiasm and unbounded passion, he was completely supportive never doubting I would become successful in whatever I chose to do. For many years we actively looked for a warehouse like this one on Innes Ave, and were never able to find it. I am convinced somehow he helped me find this space. The day I won the contract for the property was Valentines Day, the anniversary of his death. This is only one of the many serendipitous coincidences related to this place and I take it as a very good sign. So, every time I feel panic, I think of Billy and his loving support. Since he was a musician, if the music academy ever happens in the new space, it will be dedicated to his memory.
Q: Any new artwork or upcoming local exhibitions? Can you share with us a piece or 2 and a description?
SP: Being completely obsessed with my work, I am constantly producing new pieces, whether I have a deadline or not. I recently had a show at McLoughlin Gallery at 49 Geary, where I will be showed some of the work I exhibited earlier last year at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara. In March of 2013 I had another big show at the SFMOMA Artist’s Gallery at Fort Mason. It’s hard to choose a piece or 2 to share, since I work in so many different series and they can be so diverse. Here is “Optical Delusions”, it’s a grid of 9 pieces, 30 x 30″ fiberglass and resin. I am fascinated by the translucency of the fiberglass, the pieces are casted in a mold, as sculptures.
The other 2 pieces are monumental, 96 x 60″ each, they were the center pieces of the exhibition at the Triton Museum, hanging from the center of the room. They are mixed media, a combination of photographic imagery, paint and resin. All still available, hopefully not for long. For more on Silivia’s work and upcoming exhibits please visit: www.poloto.com