Today we’d like to introduce you to Giovana Aviles.
Giovana, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in Mexico City and moved to the U.S when I was six years old. I knew I wanted to be in the arts since I was in middle school; knowing I would get to create and be creative for the rest of my life was something I aspired to achieve. Because of barriers (some by me and others by politics around me) I decided to teach myself my art practice which involves fashion, as well as how to stay creative and creating. I began creating my art, participating in shows, and meeting new people. I was undocumented for 25 years before I obtained my residency permit and for that time, I was active in community organizations that worked and are working towards human rights.
All of that involvement allowed me to reach creative spaces I don’t think I would have reached otherwise and played a big part in the person/artist I am today. For the past two years I have been involved in art organizations in Phoenix, such as CALA Alliance, Arizona Commission on the Arts and Scottsdale Public art creating, producing and learning. I currently work in the education department at The Phoenix Art Museum, where I stay creative most of the time. I have also had art shows where I have displayed my work, the most recent one being at Sagrado Galeria.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not been a smooth road, but it’s not for most people. I wanted to obtain an education early on, I chose my school and I was ready, but because I was undocumented, I wasn’t able to do things as many of my peers around me were doing. Especially when I would think things were great and I was at a community college obtaining an education, there were laws that kept passing that made it difficult for me to attend school. I decided to do it my way. That decision took courage but it has been one of the best decisions I have made; to follow my dreams and break barriers along the way.
My advice for young women is if doors are shutting you out, sometimes it is for the best but sometimes there is an alternative way to “get in”. I always say, if the plan does not work, change the plan but not the goal. Do not let anyone tell you, you cannot do it. If you have a specific plan but doors are shutting you out, find other “windows” to get yourself in. Also, it really is all in the journey, as long as you are learning, you are not failing. Keep going.
what should we know about your business? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I call myself a creative adventurer. I love to create and travel. The type of work I do is a mixture of things but it is visual art. I choose to create pieces that are fashion related but that tell a story. When I show my work, I choose to use live models to display my work, specifically women who are involved in the community. I believe women are incredible and we can do many things, and it is an always a privilege to work with those strong women. What I do is merge fashion and art, it’s not quite a fashion show and not quite and art show. It is both.
Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
Networking is key as well as having a mentor, in my case, multiple mentors. Networking is what has opened a lot of the doors for me. It can be difficult and sometimes I don’t want to do it. I call myself an introvert with extrovert tendencies so it can be intimidating sometimes, but one mentor gave me this advice: ”
If you find yourself feeling uncertain about doing something and you feel nervous, but you know this will make you step outside of your comfort zone, then do it, because something amazing is about to happen.” I always think about that advice when I think about going to a networking event, or just in general to step outside my comfort zone.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @giovanaaviles