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Images from Soft by Vania Evangelique

Artist To Watch: Vania Evangelique

Thu, May 10, 2018

Written by: Kitoko Chargois; photos by Vania Evangelique

Artists to Watch shines the spotlight on emerging local artists.

A Note From Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement Team

We were introduced to this artist by Trust production manager and Point Park alum, Autumn Abernathy. A Bethlehem, Pennsylvania native, Vania is currently studying communications at Point Park University and is a gifted photographer. We had the pleasure of working with her at the recent screening of the Lorraine Hansberry documentary, Sighted Eyes | Feeling Heart, March 2018.

Meet Vania

When she first came to Pittsburgh to attend Point Park University, Photographer Vania Evangelique had no plans of staying in the city past her graduation date, but with the long awaited day quickly approaching, she has decided Pittsburgh is the place to be.

Originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where she spent much of her time outdoors, Evangelique draws much of her inspiration from nature. Her work mainly consists of landscapes and portraits. Her subjects, whether human or architectural, are more often than not, framed by lush, vibrant greens.

Most recently, Evangelique completed Soft, her first creative project. Illustrative of her organic approach to photography, Soft is a no frills, intimate portrait series. Using a gentle, neutral background, adorned only by the leaves of a kentia plant peeking into the frame, Evangelique unobtrusively focuses in on people in quiet, contemplative moments.

Soft by Vania EvangeliqueSoft by Vania Evangelique
Soft by Vania EvangeliqueSoft by Vania Evangelique

 

Images from Soft by Vania Evangelique

 

With Soft behind her, Evangelique’s confidence has only grown. “’I’m trying to be more intentional with my artwork and with my feelings,” she said. “To be able to work with so many people and build those connections in this first project alone was eye opening for me to [realize] I have potential in this.”

As a teenager in high school, Evangelique was working towards becoming a jazz artist at a performing arts school when she suddenly realized she had lost her passion for making music. Upon transferring from her much smaller school to one of 5,000 students, she signed up for yearbook and discovered a new passion for photography.

“I’d see these really big and beautiful images and bold colors, and I never connected the fact that it was actually people who create and do those things,” she recalled.

However, a darker side of her high school experience serves as another point of inspiration; Evangelique was bullied a lot. Often, she drew strength from being on the trails at Sand Island Park. “I would just sit there, and I would be surrounded by the trees, and the lake, and those moments of peace I would get--I also feel that same way when I see certain people.”

And when she feels that connection, she knows she’s found her next model. “I don’t really ask why that is, but I know that I need them for this project,” she said. “So many of my shoots are very much inspired by where I used to live and those feelings that I used to get just being by myself.”

People are her favorite subject, but her next project, Home, will be more personal. With Home, Evangelique would like to return to her hometown to capture the sites of some of her pivotal life moments. The result will be a visual memory map. As she makes herself more at home in Pittsburgh, she plans to weave her new experiences into this project.

She’s still figuring out where her photographic journey will take her, but one thing this 21-year-old knows for sure is that she would like to share her photography far and wide. “I want people to have a piece of me and also see a piece of themselves in my [work].”

Learn more about Vania's work on her website.

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  • art