Folk artist puts 'heart and soul' into 2015 poster - Albuquerque Journal

Folk artist puts ‘heart and soul’ into 2015 poster

A New Mexico folk artist soars to new heights with the 2015 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta poster.

Victoria de Almeida faced criticism in the past for being “too regional” with her artwork, but it’s that connection to home and sense of place that make her a logical choice to represent New Mexico to an international audience.

DE ALMEIDA: "I've got to paint what I connect with."
DE ALMEIDA: “I’ve got to paint what I connect with.”

The 2015 poster reflects the cultures and artistic industries in New Mexico, de Almeida says, along with elements of a very personal nature.

“I’ve got to paint what I connect with in order for the actual message of the painting to be genuine,” she says, explaining the appearance of her grandmother’s house, and the church in which she was baptized and both she and her parents were married.

A friend suggested de Almeida look into submitting work for the Balloon Fiesta, and she started the process. Time passed as de Almeida was busy producing 17 new paintings for Contemporary Hispanic Market and a show in New York. Upon finishing the enormous task of preparing for these shows, she was lying down to take a nap when she got an email from a Balloon Fiesta representative asking for a submission within two weeks. Forsaking a well-deserved rest, she jumped up and started to work.

A painting of the size and detail of the Balloon Fiesta poster would normally take de Almeida a month to complete, but she managed to accomplish it in less than half that time.

“Every painting that I produce, I really try to put my heart and my soul into it and … I approached this the same as I would any other painting,” she says. “I’m all about the person. I’m all about the feeling in the face and the eyes, and the character. So it’s important for me to get those balloons as close to the viewer as possible so they could see the people in the balloons, so they could see their expressions, so they could see the heart – the humaneness – of what I was painting.”

De Almeida, whose grandfather and father were both artists, began painting in 2000 to honor her grandmother after she passed away, and her grandmother’s house and kitchen appear regularly in her work. “That’s why I wanted that little humble house right there in the middle, because that’s the foundation for everything for me,” she says.

De Almeida is pleased to have the recognition for not only her work, but also the very style of it. “It’s hard when you’re a folk artist, being self-taught; you don’t automatically get the instant respect that a fine artist gets … I feel to a certain extent that you kind of have to fight to get that respect,” she says. “I’m appreciative that the Balloon Fiesta has given my folk art that venue.”

Preoccupation with the day-to-day responsibilities of running her small gallery on the Plaza in Santa Fe hasn’t left Almeida with much time to consider the magnitude of the exposure the poster will bring her. “Once I’m experiencing it maybe it’ll hit me, but right now it hasn’t hit me,” she says.

Home » Balloon Fiesta » Folk artist puts ‘heart and soul’ into 2015 poster


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Balloon Fiesta at 50
ABQnews Seeker
Anniversary book now available Anniversary book now available
2
FAA clears balloonists for flight over ABQ
ABQnews Seeker
1-year waiver granted for tracking rule ... 1-year waiver granted for tracking rule that would have grounded enthusiasts
3
Mayor seeks balloon tracking device waiver
ABQnews Seeker
FAA official says a work group ... FAA official says a work group has been convened to study the issue
4
FAA rule may deflate ABQ's image as balloon capital
ABQnews Seeker
Aircraft using certain airspace now required ... Aircraft using certain airspace now required to have specific tracking technology. The problem? Balloons don't have it.
5
Canon, Balloon Fiesta settle sponsorship lawsuit
ABQnews Seeker
Canon had demanded $250,000 reimbursement, alleging ... Canon had demanded $250,000 reimbursement, alleging violation of an agreement
6
Report: Balloon Fiesta attendance down
ABQnews Seeker
Virus fears fueled reduced numbers, spokesman ... Virus fears fueled reduced numbers, spokesman says
7
Week of Balloon Fiesta liftoffs halted by Sunday grounding
ABQnews Seeker
Festival saw seven straight days of ... Festival saw seven straight days of flying weather to begin event
8
Golden anniversary
ABQnews Seeker
The pioneers of the Albuquerque International ... The pioneers of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta are there – in sp ...
9
At fiesta, balloon builder displays process
ABQnews Seeker
Michigan company brings team to Albuquerque ... Michigan company brings team to Albuquerque to sew envelope in just nine days