Berry Sad


Berry Sad

Ann Venezia

“I say I didn’t like them, but by the end of it, we became friends.”

Interview by L. Valena

Can you first describe what you responded to?

I responded to chocolates in a box that were nicely wrapped. It was, like, fancy. I think there was a raspberry filling in the middle- some type of fruity thickness. And that's all I remember.

What was your first reaction to that?

My first reaction was that I didn't like them, because I don't like chocolate that much, and I really don't like fruit-filled things. It was dark chocolate, it was like raspberry, or something like that- and there were a lot of them too. I ended up dropping some of them on the floor, and I was like "thank god", but I ended up eating them later. I put them all back in the box, and put them in the freezer, and I don't know. I ate them. I ate them all actually.

So you didn't like them, but you liked them enough to eat them?

They weren't bad, it's just that I don't really like sweet things. But I ate them all.

How did you go from there to this drawing? How did you start to think about drawing?

I did my signature character thing with the line work, but I wanted to add a sense of red to it, but I'm not very good at color. Red for the raspberries that I was tasting, but I also wanted to do these little dots. And also these little things to represent the chocolates to me because there were a lot of them. The red color represented the flavoring inside, and then I just did my own thing with the lines and things like that.

Do you see these forms as two chocolates?

Yeah, I do. I kind of thought of it as all these friends together, so instead of drawing a bunch of these dudes, I needed something to represent all those chocolates I ate. So I did the red dots.

Tell me more about the colors.

I didn't want to do it all in black and white, because that's what I do all the time. But I'm also not a good painter, or know how to mix things together, so a lot of that color inside is me messing up and going over it. So I kind of really like what happened there, I like it a lot. You can see me getting really frustrated when I didn't know what to do- that's where all these lines on the outside are coming from. That's all frustration that I had, and I almost threw it away. And then this part with the lines on both of them, I just always do that around faces. I don't know why I didn't do any faces- I think if I did faces (and you can see that I did draw one underneath and then covered it up), it would have distracted from what I was trying to do.

Because you were thinking of a collection of friends?

Yeah. And I could have made a bunch of regular characters and put them together to be friends, but I felt like that would have been too literal for me. I wanted to do a hint of everything.

I see a lot of movement in this piece. Is that something you put into your work often?

Definitely. I focus everything as being more organic shapes, but I don't even think of them as shapes. When I think of shapes in art, I get stressed out because I think of more abstract art with really bold colors. People nowadays are doing these crazy shapes and everything looks really good together, but I actually am doing that without even thinking about it. I do a lot of movement with line work, and always want it to go around and like swish around.

There is definitely a tension between these forms that speaks to the flavor of those chocolates- there's definitely something there. Tell me more about your experience eating the chocolate.

We were chill- we were hanging out. We were fine. I left them in the fridge at work for two days and I felt really bad about that. Then I was eating them, and I couldn't tell- there were layers of them with paper in between, and I couldn't tell if all the chocolates were the same, or if there were different ones. So I'd try to eat one, cleanse my palate, eat another. It was just really weird. I had a really weird time with them. But I just couldn't tell what I was eating. So I'd wait a couple days, and eat more. I think I spent more time thinking about what I was eating than I actually spent on my artwork.

I love that there were multiple experiences within that.

There was one point when I wanted to get rid of them, but I didn't want to throw them away, cause that would have been rude. So I was trying to give them to my landlord, but she told me she doesn't eat chocolate. And then I tripped on the stairs at that moment, and then she was like "Oh no!" and I was like "Thank god!"- I was so happy they fell on the floor! And then I put them back in the box and ate them a few days later.

There were definitely a lot of them in that box.

So many! And I couldn't get rid of them- they were around for so long! Okay, it wasn't that long- maybe like a week and a half. I'm a bored eater, I nip at things. They were the perfect nipping size- bite sized little guys. They were cool, I liked them. I said I didn't like them, but at the end of this experience, I liked them. I look in the freezer now, and I expect them there.

There's this vacuum where that box was!

Yeah. I say I didn't like them, but by the end of it, we became friends.

And that's what you made! A drawing of friends!

Oh my god, you're so right! The two people could represent me and my internal thinking about chocolate, and then the flavors of the chocolate represented around them. So the flavors are represented, but the innards of us are like fighting but also getting along.

What else do you have to say about this experience?

It was so fun! I try to tell everyone about it.

Call Number: C10FD | C14VA.veBe



Ann Venezia is a visual artist based in Jamaica Plain, MA. Follow her @ann_venezia.