Berkeley artist Victoria Velozo is still in shock after visiting China last month where she left empty-handed.
There were a lot of paper signing and tea ceremonies, then we left in the afternoon and it was like ‘oh my God, what just happened?’Victoria Velozo
Velozo was the only Australian to be invited to exhibit at the Shenzhen International Art Fair, taking months to create 18 large artworks.
By the end of the exhibition all pieces had been taken off her hands after being head-hunted by several prestigious galleries.
In one of the galleries she was taken to, consumin the entire penthouse of a skycraper, Velozo said she was surprised to learn one of the paintings she was standing in front of had a price tag of AU$900,000.
“It’s a bit overhwhelming,” she said. “I’m wigged out I suppose … I was the only Australian to get an invite. It all gets a bit daunting. They had people from Russia, Scandinavia, Mongolia.”
Velozo has been painting since a teenager and previously has exhibited overseas but is still humble regarding her talent.
“I’m sure I can do it … I used to think [like] that when I went to uni. I thought ‘I wonder if they’re going to tap me on the shoulder and say we didn’t mean you’,” she said.
Velozo’s signature style is using mixed media by blending paintings or watercolours with collage.
For this exhibition she researched Chinese animals and incorporated them into her works, obvsiously hitting the right notes with art critics.
“I got there and galleries were approaching me asking me to put work in their galleries, and it’s like ‘oh ok, that would be nice’ then they turned around and said come and sign the contracts,” Velozo said.
“There were a lot of paper signing and tea ceremonies, then we left in the afternoon and it was like ‘oh my God, what just happened?’
“I would have been happy to sell one, just to cover costs.”
Velozo’s manager (and also her mum), Cita Seymour, did the “wheeling and dealing” over contracts and discovered these galleries would be marketing the works around the globe.
“I guess i’ll keep working and wait for a phone call asking for more work, hopefully,” Velozo said.
Ironically Velozo held a solo exhibition at Wollongong Art Gallery during February though no sales there.
Later this year she will also exhibit at the Florence Biennale in Italy.