{seven questions}


Artist and Illustrator Armando Veve, photo by Greg Cartelli

Edo Rosenblith (intro as aside): I first got to know Armando in the winter of 2010 when he lived next door to me in Rome, during our time studying abroad. I had not known Armando that well previously, but I had seen him around campus at the Rhode Island School of Design where he was studying Illustration. That winter we traveled up and down the boot of Italy, crashed a rental car on a strange desert island, ate incredible food, became overwhelmed by all the art and architecture of Rome (mostly me on that one) and drank way too much Peroni and Grappa together. In-between these events I discovered that Armando grew up in Vermont although his family originally emigrated from Puerto Rico. After graduating from RISD, Armando moved to Philadelphia with his partner Sean Gerstley, a ceramicist. Armando has exhibited his drawings in New York City, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Delaware, Rome, Providence and Utah. His drawings have been published in Vice Magazine and the New York Times Sunday Review.

The format of this interview is based on curator Mathew Higg’s 20 Question format, which he describes thus:

{The Standard format of an interview invariably reveals as much about the subjectivity of the interviewer as it does about its subject. In an attempt to both democratize the role of the interrogator and to hopefully broaden the scope of the interview’s actual remit, 20 individuals – all of whom have either a professional or personal relationship with the artist – were each invited to pose him a single question. [1] Matthew Higgs, “Martin Creed 20 Questions, “ Untitled 18, (Spring, 1999).}

For the purpose of time and brevity I narrowed down the questions to seven. Here they are:


Q: Stephen Truax (painter): I would like to ask you the traditional Andy Warhol Interview magazine question, “What did you have for breakfast”?

A: Armando Veve: Egg, cheese and hummus on toast and a cup of coffee.


Q: Andrew Forsthoefel: Is your work more planned or more spontaneous? How are you feeling when you’re deep into a piece?

A: Armando Veve: Each piece begins with some kind of impulse. Sometimes the impulse to make a new piece is in response to something I have made a photo or drawing, or something I have found. I am continuously collecting images. These images become connective fragments for new works. When I pull from this imagery bank I am looking for unusual relationships between images. I also look back to past drawings to see if there is anything else I can build on. There is definitely a visual vocabulary that is evolving which is starting to generate new directions for subsequent works. The way images come together on a page is a really organic process. A work arrives at a finished state when I find the connective tissue that allows for all the elements to coexist. I want it to be able to stand on its own.

It’s really hard to describe what I am feeling when I am deep into a piece. If it’s going well I am present with the work, its almost as if the space between my body and the work disappears.


Crown Vic & the Atlantic Flyway. graphite on paper 35.5″ × 72″. {2013} Armando Veve.


Q: Katie Stout (furniture designer): I feel like I could pluck the subjects right out of you’re drawings because of the detail with which you render gives them such convincing dimensionality. I was wondering if you envision the worlds you create in a 3-D realm and if so, can you describe how those worlds or subjects would be executed or presented?

A: Armando Veve: I am definitely interested in seeing these images activated in a sculptural realm. The way I compose some drawings is very similar to how a sculptor arranges physical objects. I love to think of the drawings as blueprints for physical things.  It would be fun to work with sand. I love its ephemeral qualities; how it is always in a state of coming together and falling apart. It reminds me of the stippled marks of some recent drawings.


#5. colored pencil on paper, 30″ × 22″. {2013} Armando Veve.


Q: Lila Ash (cartoonist): How does your musical abilities inform your artistic practice (Armando plays the Flute and Piccolo).

A: Armando Veve: I don’t think music directly informs my practice. When I am drawing I am thinking about it on a completely visual level. I am looking towards and responding to found and made images. On the other hand, when I listen to and play music it is a very visual experience - I find myself associating particular colors or images to certain frequencies of sound. I am interested in the possible dynamics between sound and image, but for now making a work doesn’t start or end there. It would be fun to collaborate with an animator to explore that relationship.


Q: Katie Bell (painter): Can you describe your studio space and how that set-up affects your work in any way? Do you listen to anything specific? What do you surround yourself with?

A: Armando Veve: I currently work in a small studio about one hundred square feet and 15 feet in height. I have no windows except a single skylight, which casts a shaft of light over my worktable. I love how dramatic it can be.

Since the space is small, I don’t like to have many things on the walls. The works themselves take up a lot of visual space. I have a shelving unit and a whiteboard where I have my to do list. I reorient my studio depending on the series of projects I am working on. All my stuff is in my apartment, which is next door. I am always looking for a bigger studio with more windows, but for now this one is convenient and works well.

I am always listening to something when I am working. I shift between podcasts, music and NPR. If I’m working on something that requires a lot of attention, I prefer to listen to something nonverbal.


Q: Sean Robert FizGerald (painter): Armando, hypothetically, if you were forced to spend the next ten years only drawing one object, what object would you choose?

A: Armando Veve: I have been looking at a lot of spider webs recently, so maybe a spider web.


Q: Edo Rosenblith (painter): How has living in Philly for the last three years affected your art practice and do you see yourself staying there for awhile? Do you have an ideal place you would want to work and live?

A: Armando Veve: Living in Philadelphia has been really good for me. It affords me the time and space to make my work. I think it’s too soon to describe its effects on my work. A recent drawing, “Crown Vic & the Atlantic Flyway” pulls directly from the built and natural environment. The landscape is so wild here. If I change location I can see myself returning to Philadelphia. It really is a good place to make art. An ideal place to work and live is one with a lot of light, good food and with positive people.


#2. pen on paper, 30″ × 22″. {2013} Armando Veve.


Drawing of A Bulbous Man. pen on paper, 30″ × 22″. {2012} Armando Veve.


ARMANDO VEVE: Born in 1989 in Lawrence, MA , Veve now lives and works in Philadelphia, PA. His latest show, at So What Space in NYC was a two person exhibition with fellow contributor Edo Rosenblith.

EDO ROSENBLITH: was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and spent his early years bouncing around America, first in New York, then Arizona, Missouri and Rhode Island, earning his BFA in painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. He currently lives and works in St. Louis, MO, USA.

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