Woman Crush Wednesday: Sinziana Velicescu
Interview by Neil Camposuelo
On The Periphery explores the aesthetic and utilitarian effect of architecture in and around the greater Los Angeles area. Minimalistic in nature and inspired by abstract expressionism and graphic design, the images represent a departure from the day-to-day realities of Los Angeles’ cluttered landscape. The moments captured are fragments of a cityscape’s lifetime that are most often overlooked by an entire population concerned solely with reaching a destination. The result, is an homage to ‘The City’, combined with a hidden desire to escape to another place or perhaps another time.
When I was going through this work on your website, I was struck by the clean rhythmic quality in all the images. What do you think set you differently from other photographers who also have a minimalistic approach to their work?
I see a lot of minimal work that is extremely clean, and I would say I’m halfway there because I shoot on film which is not as precise, but there is also an element of the story to my work – especially when looking at the whole series – and sometimes even a little humor.
I usually photograph a specific location and I keep going back to it throughout the years. It’s not evident to the viewer, but its more for me like a log of a particular facade at a specific time. So the work is not completely pure minimalism in terms of caring predominantly about form (though I do care a lot about form too!).
In your own opinion, as you defined your series in your artist statement - "The result is an homage to 'The City.' combined with a hidden desire to escape to another place, or perhaps another time." Does the gentrification in Los Angeles somehow unconsciously change the way people view their day-to-day lives and move into a new idea of their home/environment?
What I’m referring to with that statement is that my photographs of LA are a “cropped” alternate reality of the city that most people would not necessarily get from living here - LA is a city of smog, traffic, Hollywood, advertising, and what not - I’m looking for a clean and quiet escape. Of course gentrification plays a huge role in all of that crowding and while I’m not really documenting the results of gentrification currently, I guarantee that similarly to how the Americans settled the west, the speed of this gentrification of Los Angeles will have its own rebounds, and maybe that’s when I’ll come in with a camera.
With a background education in Comparative Literature, how do you translate the connection between the architecture and literary history that are present in your series that defines Los Angeles as a whole?
My background in literature as it relates to Los Angeles is almost purely formed from reading mystery novels and books about the history of jazz. It’s really incredible to wander through all the neighborhoods and surrounding areas of Los Angeles, remembering specific locations from books I’ve read, exploring buildings that once served different purposes - old clubs, ballrooms, theaters, and restaurants. There are so many layers to the architecture, and that’s one of my favorite things about my hometown.
1. Describe your creative process in one word.
2. If you could teach one, one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
I’d make an awful teacher. Manual photography 101 with a hands-on walkabout, I suppose? How to see beauty in parking lots 101?
3. What is the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?
Book: Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Movie: Isle of Dogs !!!
Seems like the dystopian future is becoming more and more relevant each day.
4. What song do you play the most in your music library?
I’m a sucker for tragic love songs, right now it’s Patsy Cline - Strange.
5. How do you take coffee?
I drink tea. I like matcha and silver needle.