TRIBEZA's 10 to Watch 2015 | VM Fisk

Raised in the state for which she is named, Virginia Madison Fisk ended up in Austin after a stint in Los Angeles. Tired of LA, the artist/production designer decided on a whim to pack her bags and move to Austin. Though she knew no one in town, Fisk quickly became one to watch in Austin’s art world. In 2014, she won the top prize during the Tequila Herradura’s “Barrel Art Collection,” netting a $10,000 prize and a exhibit at the Mexic-Arte Museum. In addition to crafting beautiful abstract paintings, Fisk is also a jewelry designer and sculptor.

Catch us up on your past year:

I have spent most of this year working insatiably in my studio. Along with continuing my series of meditation paintings, I ventured into the realm of jewelry making, something I had always been interested in, and loved finding that it helped ease the creative blocks and stagnation that can arise when working too much in one medium. I was part of the Art + Tequila group show at Mexic-Arte (a reprise of the Tequila Herradura Barrel Art show from October 2014) and now have a piece in Mexic-Arte’s permanent collection.

Why Austin?

Five years ago I was working on a film in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and I was dreading going back to Los Angeles when it ended. My friends on the film were moving to Austin and I blindly agreed to go along with them. I packed all my things into trash bags, threw those and my dog into my car and made the drive from LA to Austin. I moved into a house with three of my best girlfriends, got a job a week after being here, and never looked back. Best decision of my life. The people here are kind and warm and it reminds me of where I grew up in Virginia. Austin is definitely home now and I couldn’t be happier.

Is there anything that frustrates you about living / working in Austin?

There are a lot of distractions (albeit fun ones) and it’s easy to find an excuse to slack off.

What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle this past year?

This year was filled with a lot of self-discovery for me. Learning how to not let personal life devour and destroy my work, but instead inspire and inform it. Turning heartache or self doubt from an all-consuming feeling into a controllable, creative fuel can be difficult but it’s necessary to my art making practice — and the understanding of myself.

Who is your style icon?

Definitely my mother (a native Texan). She knows what she likes and rocks it. Classic, clean and casual, nothing too frilly. Denim is key. You can dress it up with heels or throw on your boots and tromp through the fields to feed the horses.

Who is your creative icon?

My father. He has become a creative mentor to me (and my boss a handful of times). That dude never stops working. He becomes obsessed with the process and puts his whole being into his work. I admire his drive and endless thirst for knowledge.

How do you get it all done?

Still working on that. But I love what I do so it isn’t a chore. Working fulfills me. I feel very lucky.

What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you 5 years ago?

Well, there are definitely a few haircuts I wish I could have avoided. And to buy more apple stock.

What inspires or drives you?

My weirdly close and supportive family and my insanely talented and kind friends. Being in and around nature. I have an endless, unquenchable thirst for making stuff.

How do you relax?

Nothing beats watching Netflix while in the tub, but a good book, dog snuggles and a glass (or three) of wine doesn’t hurt either.

What are you proudest of professionally?

Winning the Herradura Barrel Art show was a very proud moment. It was some outside validation of my work that comes so rarely when you are alone in your studio.

What makes you laugh?

My dog, Maude. Steve Martin.

What helps you get through creative blocks?

A change of scenery and a little meditation always helps, but stepping away from a piece is key — that way you can come back to it with fresh eyes.

Tell us what to expect from you in 2016:

More shows, more art! I’ve got some new exciting work brewing in my brain that is a bit of a change from the large abstract geometric pieces I have been focused on, and a little more autobiographical. I’m also planning on getting my jewelry into a few shops around town, keep your ears and eyes open.


Portraits by Bill Sallans | Styling by Ashley Horsley | Hair by Gabrielle van Der Meer | Make up by Bethany Renfro of Lip Service


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