Interview with Valerie Imparato as told to Tori Weston.
Please tell us about your background and how you came to Somerville.
I am originally from Haiti, and have lived all over the world- Maryland, South Africa, Kenya, New York, Spain, and eventually Somerville! I first came to the Cambridge/Somerville area for law school at Harvard in 2011. I graduated in 2014 and left Massachusetts but moved back here after marrying my husband in 2016.
At what age did your creative journey begin?
I think I’ve always been creative. I remember painting and crafting with my mom as a young girl. It was not until law school that I started painting prolifically and showing my work. Law school exacerbated preexisting insomnia, and so I would paint at night. My little apartment eventually got so filled with work that I decided to start sharing my work with others.
Who or what inspires your work?
My work is usually a reflection of systemic issues that I am trying to process, or personal tragedy/transition I am working through. I often paint about black womanhood in America. Lately my work has been about my complicated journey to motherhood. I also have a collection about my own mother’s degenerative illness.
What is your favorite medium to work in?
That’s a really hard question! I love the ease of acrylic painting. I feel like I can really express myself and start working even if I’m not sure where I will end up. That being said, I’ve been very into embroidery lately and have been enjoying the methodical nature of that work.
How do you determine which medium a piece will be in?
The medium is not as important to me as the style of the work. Sometimes I feel like taking my time and meditating on my work, so I choose to embroider. Other times I feel fast and furious and go the acrylic and canvas route. I am more deliberate in deciding whether to make my work more abstract and conceptual or realistic and literal.
How does one find your work?
You can see my portfolio at www.valeriepimparato.com or follow me on Instagram @vp_visualart
I’m also having a show at Washington Street Art Center’s Gallery at 321 Washington St. Opening reception is July 9 at 5:00 p.m. Come visit!