Wk9 – Artist Conversation – Vanessa Olivarez

Artist: Vanessa Olivarez
Exhibition: Don’t Be Careful, Be Gentle
Media: Film, Sculpture, Acrylic
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery
Website: tokioni.com
Instagram: @tokioni

About the Artist

Vanessa Olivarez, 23 years old, is a local artist and undergraduate student at California State University, Long Beach. She is working towards her BFA degree in the School of Art’s Sculpture Program. However, she also enjoys other forms of art such as painting, drawing and sewing. Vanessa says she was exposed to many different forms of art growing up, which is what inspired her passion for art.

Formal Analysis

The exhibition, Don’t Be Careful, Be Gentle, features video installation and acrylic structures. The video shows clips of animation. For example, there is one scene where a girl is staring at a mirror but her face is not shown. The acrylic sculptures include a seesaw moving up and down by specific coding and a box with a television inside.

Content Analysis

The artist, Vanessa Olivarez, reflects strong emotion and focuses on her struggle of being torn between several things. She explains how she is conflicted with the fear of being alone and the contentment of being lonely, wanting to be seen and invisible and wanting to be held but also untouched. The seesaw portrays this strong message and expresses how she feels being stuck going up and down and back and forth.
My Experience

The way I was able to relate to the concept of this exhibition was bringing my own experience of wanting two things but knowing I can’t have both. It is difficult wanting two things so bad and not being able to decide on one or the other. I could understand the struggle of being afraid of being alone and being content with being alone. I have lost a lot of people throughout my life, friends and relatives. Friends who I thought would last a life time walked out of my life and some family members were taken from me. Losing friends bring me to be content with being alone because I don’t need anyone in my life who is going to bring me down. Losing family brings a tremendous amount of fear of being alone because they are all I have left. At the end of the day, I know that there is no worse feeling than feeling alone.


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