The next DCA graduate in our Where are they now? series is Gemma Fenol Banus, who has been very busy indeed! Below is an interview with Gemma and a gallery of her recent work:
Where has your career taken you since leaving the DCA program?
Since leaving the program, my work has transformed into a new direction. My intention when I decided to enroll in the DCA program was to be able to complement my interior architecture bachelor’s degree. I felt that both together were great tools for me to achieve my interest in Installation art. After finishing the program, my work changed considerably. I was able to transform spaces into immersive experiences while also introducing 3D graphic elements. All together this brought me a platform to start building sculptures of considerable scale, the largest being up to 60ft. Additionally, I started to work with digital images and 2D images that would evolve into 3D projects. This has allowed me to create my personal language that is accompanied by unique colors, patterns and light. These works are a visual representation of my artistic flavor profile.
What’s one thing you’ve learned the hard way since leaving the DCA program?
At a young age, I was always very independent. I wanted to build everything myself and you could say, I had more power tools than most of my guy friends. Being a woman in this industry is never easy and there is always a stigma that we can’t do the same job physically that a man can. So learning to let go a little and allow some mentorship and having people around to learn from has been something I have learned to accept more openly. I always wanted to do it on my own and perhaps I should have been more open to mentorship, so someone could have helped me to network and make my path a bit easier. I learned real quick that it is very difficult nowadays to get your work out into the public eye of the world where it needs to be seen without knowing the right people. People may have brilliant ideas and designs but if you don’t know how to get them out there, then you won’t have the platform to express yourself.
What’s one thing that’s been easier than you expected?
The ability to make things happen, not to just talk about it. I was fortunate enough to be able to learn how to build and to have friends that were carpenters. Also coming from architecture, I knew a lot about construction. This really aided me in figuring out ways to do what I wanted without the logistical stresses that come with making a design a functional reality. It was refreshing to be able to create things on my own and be self sustaining with the little resources that I had. The hustle and hunger really helped drive me forward.
Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
The ability to feel oneself instead of seeing oneself has always appealed to me. I want to feel that my works are encapsulating not only myself and my vision but also creating an open narrative for any viewer. I would love to be creating and installing large scale installations and concept design pieces all throughout the globe. I am intrigued with the idea of combining technology and engineering with art and lighting. This is really the direction I intend to pursue in the immediate future. I hope to meet other creatives with a similar vision that are interested in taking collaborative works to new heights. It’s always really interesting when you get to work with like-minded peers as it helps to drive and challenge not only myself but as well to inspire the next generation of forward thinkers and creatives.
Check out this gallery of Gemma’s work: