PHABRIK Magazine

Valentim Quaresma

By Fransico Basconsela

September 2013

When I’m in the middle of a project I feel like I’m totally inside my dreams, but when a project ends I can never help but feel like I still have a long way to go.

How did you start?

I started working when I was 16 years old in a store where I made fashion accessories. I worked there for two years and then took a contemporary jewelry course at an art school.

Fashion Designer Ana Salazar invited me to create fashion accessories while I was still studying. Because I began my career working with Ana, my creative process has always been very connected to the parameters of fashion.

What was your original mission with your work?

To be able to live of my creativity and to share my visions with others.

Do you ever create things that no one sees?

Sometimes I develop work that does not get presented but it is part of my creative process. I call these works “Work in Progress” because that’s literally what it is. They’re four very distinct elements inside a machine that continue to give me ideas for other projects and exploration.

How do you like to work?

I have to admit that my creative universe works best in chaos; I don’t like to have every thing very organized because it affects the creative flow. I like to look around and see what’s available. I need to experiment with materials.

Is experimentation crucial for you?

Without a doubt. I’ve tried many different techniques and inspirations, from baroque to tribal, inserting them in different creative processes to see how it would work. I like to turn an ordinary material into something exquisite. At first glance a press-stud seems to only serve the function for which it was created, there’s nothing beautiful about it, but by applying them to a piece, I’m creating a beautiful and luxurious dimension, caused by the texture and achieved by the use of repetition of the same element. I now feel the need to get a little more experimental, even with materials. I don’t have as much time as I’d like to explore them.

How do you choose the materials you’re going to work?

In the beginning I would have an idea and then look for the appropriate materials to execute it. There came a time when I realized I could do the reverse as there are materials that give me ideas and bring relevant concepts. Now, the creative process happens both ways. It’s an enormous challenge to pick up an object and try to imagine how else it could work. It brings me great joy, when the original object becomes unrecognizable.

During the creative process, do you make the distinction between your fashion pieces and art pieces?

I know that many people look at my work and wonder if it’s wearable as some pieces can go from a fashion collection and can then be displayed in a gallery. The work process is the same but it makes sense to separate these two aspects of creation.

Do you always keep in mind the commercial and marketable aspect of a piece?

I don’t allow myself to be dictated by that. When I create a piece that’s not as commercial, I try to refine it in order to make it more wearable, which doesn’t make it any easier or less creative. It doesn’t lose its worth, but I know my customer and know what works. In my case I can’t oversimplify, otherwise it doesn’t capture the attention of those who like my work.

You’ve always collaborated with other artists from different fields. Do you enjoy the creative exchange?

I really enjoy it. I’m always touched when I conceive a piece that is then transported to the universe of a photographer. Its exciting and working this way can learn a lot. All my life I’ve worked in open studios shared with other artists and I find it far more constructive than working in isolation.

Does the fact that every six months you have to present a new collection keep the creative juices flowing?

Absolutely. And many ideas not fully explored in one collection can be put to use in another, it’s an ongoing process. There are techniques I discovered 2 years ago that are still to be applied, and I will return to them, the process is never just six months.

Your 20 year career was celebrated with a retrospective exhibition in 2010. How did it feel looking back at your work?

It was complex when it came to collecting all the pieces. Much has happened in 20 years and it was good to look back… The pieces enabled me to visualize who I once was; it’s interesting to see the evolution of my work. At the end, the pieces had to interact with each other and I must admit it was an interesting dialogue.

What are hardships you experienced being an artist?

The biggest difficulty is to work without financial support. Particularly at the beginning of a career You really do have to learn from your mistakes. In school, you learn to draw, work with materials, and develop a project, but no one teaches you how to sustain a creativity-based business. It’s very hard to focus on your work when you have to do all the equally crucial things like contacting clients and collectors, promote your work, etc. All without which success is rather impossible.

What is you ultimate mission?

To show people my creative world within.

Are you closer to realizing your dream?

When I’m in the middle of a project I feel like I’m totally inside my dreams, but when a project ends I can never help but feel like I still have a long way to go.


From Lisboa to Milano J’Adore Couture
From Lisboa to Milano
J’Adore Couture


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©2013 PHABRIK Magazine