Conversations with our Muses 1.1 - Victoria Lamas

Conversations with our Muses 1.1 - Victoria Lamas

Arc and Bow: What's your name?  

Victoria Lamas: My name is Victoria Lamas. 

AB:  Where are you from?  

VL: I'm originally from Malibu, but I moved to Beverly Hills when I was nine. 

AB:  So you went to school in Malibu for a little bit? 

VL: Yeah. I would say Malibu is where I feel like my home is. 

AB: What do you do?  

VL: I kind of do a little bit of everything. I model. That's really fun. That's how I can afford to live in L.A. My parents are gone. They moved a while ago. So, it’s really just me and my sisters. I model, I paint, and I act as well.

AB: That’s a good trio to be as an L.A. girl.


(inside Victoria's LA studio)

 VL: They all inform each other. When I was growing up, I always thought I was just going to be a painter. I had this very strong sense of self from a very young age. You know, you would write those questionnaires when you're in kindergarten like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would always say artist. Always. 

Even as I was writing, it very vague in my mind. I just knew that that's what I wanted to do, but I didn't know what avenue. I think that all three of the things that I'm pursuing right now all live in the same world, and they all inform each other. 

My painting will inform my acting work, and my acting work will inform my painting. Modeling is just so expressive and so fun, and collaborative, and teaches me how to work with people. Because painting is so lonely and such a lonely experience — and it should be, I think. I couldn't live without the other. I went through a period of time where I really was just doing acting. I was going to four classes a week. Painting wasn't a part of my life, and I felt like a shell of a human. I feel like if I don't have all these other things that I love to do, i'm like less of myself because of it. You know? 

 AB: Yeah, definitely. When did you start? What did you start first?

 VL: Painting. Since I was, a little kid. We all paint when we are little. We all draw when we're little. I think that I really liked doing it because it was really the only thing I was good at, and I never stopped because it made me feel good. 

AB: Do you feel like you've always had a specific style? 

VL: Yeah. I've always been fascinated with people. Even when I was a little kid, I was drawing made up faces in my work. Doodling on my notebook. I would always get in trouble in class for doodling, daydreaming, and it's always been faces. I think that in a weird way it's so linear to acting. I’m very fascinated by people, people's behavior, and why we do the things that we do. It is so full circle when I think back to being a little kid and painting faces or eyes or expression, it's very human.


AB: You're very observant and analytical. 

 VL: Yeah. 

 AB: Are you that way about yourself? You overthink?

 VL: Very much. Very much an over-thinker and an analytical brain. I think that's why I find so much freedom in expressing myself. I'm very hard on myself, and when I get to be free, that's when I thrive the most.

 AB: Where do you want to see your art take you? What's your vision? 

 VL: Honestly, I would love to I have my own show this year. I'm working on this series right now. When it comes to specifics, I don’t know. I never think about specifics. I believe in manifestation and feeling into existence, but that is kind of a day by day thing. I don't have a five year plan or anything like that because it's so ever changing. I just see it as always being in my life. It's a way to share my actual self with myself and whoever wants to enjoy it. 

 AB: I could think of filmmakers who are painters, and it seems like maybe the painting is the truer form of self for them.

 VL: I definitely have noticed that as well. A lot of directors are actually really talented painters. Like I said, it's just informative. It's literally a straight through line to your subconscious. 

Tapping into that energy helps me tap in in the other places that I like to create. It's just very pure. You don't have to work with anyone else. It's very independent. You just get to have that creative freedom you don't really get anywhere else. On set I have some creative freedom, but it's so collaborative, and it has to be that way because it's like a well oiled machine. You have to be malleable. If the director wants a different way, they want a different way. But you also have to learn to trust yourself as an artist. I feel like I get that sense of self a lot when I'm painting.

 AB: Speaking of the subconscious, do you get inspiration from your dreams? 

 VL: Never. No. My dreams are so fucked. But I mean, maybe. It's never a conscious decision. Ever. 

 AB: Are you someone who remembers your dreams? 

 VL: Yeah. I remember my dreams. They fuck with me throughout the day. 

 AB: I used to have very vivid dreams. More so than I do now. I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm just less anxious. I used to definitely get informed by little snippets of my dream that I could kind of mold into a story. I've always been fascinated by dreams. 

 VL: Well sometimes I have these dreams and I'm like, “Damn, I should be a writer.” Or “I should make a movie.”  My dreams are so much more creative than I am when I'm awake. I'm sure that there is a level of inspiration, but I'm not conscious to it.

 AB:  So what are your inspirations? Daily life. For your art. People you admire? 

 VL: I admire, a lot of people. They're mostly actors. I love the sense of purpose to telling stories. I think that is what painting is too. I also love the ability to make people feel the things that we can't explain. I think that's what movies do, and that's what art does. When it comes to inspiration, I don't know. I think it's always changing, but i'm inspired by people who live their life very truthfully. I think that's why I love stories so much, because they are almost more real than life. In life we're always wearing a mask. It's getting better over the years. People are finding that it's more interesting to know what's actually going on. Whereas in the 50s, it was all about “How do I create a perfect image for myself and my family?” And now it's like, “How do we be honest about what's what's going on in all aspects of our world and our human experience?”

AB: What's your favorite film? 

 VL: I would probably say Silver Linings Playbook. 

 AB: That's fitting with being very unapologetically yourself. Even if it's not in your control. 

VL: I love that movie. That movie made me want to act. I think I saw it when I was 16. Everyone was so good. I love watching a movie where you just don't feel like the camera's there at any point in time. The writing was so sharp and so human. It's not about big grand effects and it's not a grand movie, but there's so much there. You leave that movie feeling like you've learned something about yourself.

 AB: Who would be your dream director to work with? 

 VL: Probably. Luca [Guadagnino]

AB: Oh my God. Same. Yeah. 

VL:  I just saw Bones and All. I can't stop thinking about that movie. I love a crazy neurotic. I love the bravery that that takes to be like, “This is so unsettling.” And he goes there. I feel like if you're going to go there, you have to go all the way, and he goes all the way, all the time. 

 AB: Yeah. There's very few current filmmakers that I can think of that I feel like anything they do, I absolutely want to see. It's Darren Aronofsky, David Lynch, and then Luca. His soundtracks. Even down to that, it’s perfection.

 VL: He films terrifying and heartbreaking stories in a soft way. It's crazy. Also Sofia Coppola, obviously. I love female directors. The female gaze is so beautiful to me, because it's our experience. I would love to work with any female director too. 

 AB: What about books? Do you have any favorite books? 

VL: Honestly, I'm not a big reader. I'm trying to get better at that. But, I love psychological thrillers. I wanted to break into picking up a book as a habit. So I, picked up this book, Verity, because I saw one of my friends on Instagram said it was a ten out of ten. I read that and I'm like, “Oh, this is the kind of book that I like to read.” I have a million self-help books and very esoteric things, and it's just hard to want to pick that up. 

AB: Right. 

VL: Sometimes I want to disappear into a story. I like those kinds of books, like Verity, psychological thrillers where you don't know who the good guy is.

AB: When you're thinking about a character for acting, do you ever paint them? 

VL: No. But, I have to know their zodiac sign. I have to know the signs of everyone in the story. That’s very important to me, understanding the energy of someone. But no, never painting them.

 AB: When you're modeling, do you have a character in mind that you're portraying? 

 VL: Yeah. For sure. I've actually been on set, and the photographer asked me  

“Are you an actor? 

And I said “Yeah.” 

And they said,  “Yeah, I can tell. The person that walked in, is not the person that I'm photographing right now.”

I think it's after the hair, and the makeup, and outfit. And also asking “What's the vibe?” Asking the photographer “What's the energy?” When they tell me, it just kind of happens. It’s a character thing too. That's why I enjoy it so much, because it feels like a relationship with the camera that I find so, comforting.

 AB: Yeah. Modeling definitely requires more subtleties than acting can sometimes, because you don't have the opportunity to speak, it just has to be conveyed through your expressions. What's your favorite shoot that you’ve ever worked on?

VL: It's never been a job. It's more the creative stuff I do with my friends. I feel like I have a say, whereas, when I modeling, i’m just a hanger.

AB: Yeah. That that totally makes sense. I mean, from what I know about photography, it's seldom the work that's commissioned by a magazine or a brand that really becomes valuable. It's always like the photographer's vision and his collaboration—

VL: I love how you said “his.”

 AB: Oh my god. That’s so funny. It's because I was having someone specifically in mind…

VL: Who are you talking about?

 AB: Patrick Demarchelier or Herb Ritts. It's just so true throughout so many different art forms. The first people that come to your mind —out of a list of ten —there’s probably going to be eight men and maybe two women, if that. Oh my god, it's funny that you caught that. 

VL: Oh it's so true. And I would say the same. I relate to that too. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's just the English language. 

I would say that every time I want to shoot, or I get that itch, i'm always reaching out to females. It's not a conscious thing. I just feel, I think, safer expressing that it’s a collaboration. I find that there's less ego. 

 AB: So far every shoot that we've done has been an all female set. Just kind of coincidentally, maybe subconsciously, I'm not sure. It definitely has a flow. Whether it's because it's all women or not, I don't know, but every shoot we've done so far has just felt like very everybody's comfortable. The models are comfortable. We’re playing around. I'm comfortable directing everybody. And I think it's probably something that we're going to continue to do. Our photographer that we typically work with, is my sister in law (@kalousdianpix) .

 VL: She’s really good.

 AB: We just flow together. Naturally, women work well together, but it's almost portrayed as the opposite. 

 VL: By men. 

 AB: Yeah.

VL: Maybe it’s only because the man entered the room.

AB: Right. It's such a different dynamic. When everybody is relaxed and collaborating. There's not that cattiness, that’s been part of the theme of what women's relationships are supposed to be for so long. 

 VL: I grew up with sisters. A single mom. Women are always a priority for me. I’m just a girls girl. I mean girls say that all the time, but it's true. I've just never really prioritized a man or a guy. I think that it's really important to me, being a strong feminine and owning that. It's definitely an energy that I carry with me on set, because it's very easy for me to stop trusting my gut or what I think would serve the story. 

I was shooting something a month ago, and it was predominantly a male set. I just remember feeling like it was such a lovely experience, but I had a lot of ideas, and I only felt comfortable sharing if I was asked to. I think it's very important to know your voice. I don't think any voice is more important, or better than someone else's. We all have, a filter system that’s based on what we've gone through, or what we've seen, or what we've felt. That is something that is so special and you can't buy it, and it comes with time, you know? I think it's important to find your voice and and own it, because the right people will appreciate that about you. 

 AB: What’s your process of painting? 

 VL: It's always different. For example, that one. The face with the blue. I did that in an hour at a little sip and paint with my friends. Actually, both of those.



There was no idea at all. I think it's a fun exercise to just put your hand on the page and see what happens. Like what we were talking about. When I'm doing bigger pieces, I will overthink it. Especially, if it's for someone else. 

When I do commissions, I'm always thinking “What does this person feel like or represent?” If they've given me a general idea, I’ll probably have to intuitively understand what that means.

I do feel like I'm leaning away from people centric and people focus. A lot of my work when I was younger was people. It's kind of dark and it's very Egon Schiele. It's kind of changing now. I know it's so important to have a very strong voice as an artist. I feel like my voice is changing, and my style is changing, so I don't fucking know what's happening. It's just different every time. 

When I'm painting for myself. It's almost like —“What am I feeling right now?” Being present. I also work really fast, because once the feeling leaves me, I don't want to work on it anymore. If I'm in the studio for eight hours, I will finish that thing in eight hours, and never touch it again. It’s like I released it, and it’s gone. Like this one I've been working on for months and I can't seem to finish it, because every time I come back and work on it, it's almost like a new painting.  

There are probably ten layers under this fucking painting because every time I come back to it, it's turned into something else. I think I'm going to burn it and start over. 

 AB: Oh my God, no. The layers create such a nice softness. 

 VL: It's definitely the most different thing I've ever done. It's a commission. I'm thinking too much about what the other person would want. I might take sandpaper to it, and reveal all the layers.

 AB: That would be so cool. How does it work when somebody commissions something from you? 

 VL: It's kind of a conversation. For this specific guy, I told him “I don't care about your opinion because I want to paint what I think.” It's for a friend of mine, and we went through an experience together. He basically wanted a memory of that. I'm kind of painting what I think that experience represents for him. 

AB: So people never come to you with very specific requests, like, “Paint my Dad.” 

 VL: No, no. I'm not a full time artist enough to even have that. 

 AB: You definitely do have a specific style when it comes to how you depict people It’s somewhat surreal, but also you can clearly recognize it's it's a person, and their features are distinct. So, going into more superficial questions, how would you describe your personal style? 

 VL: Comfortable. Edgy. A little sexy, but not in a way that I ever want people to see. I like when things are hidden, so there's more left to the imagination. I never wear dresses. I feel very, very uncomfortable wearing dresses. I think it's because I don't like to be sexualized. I already am, and I know I am. Even as an artist, when people ask me what I do, when I say I'm an artist, it's almost like they don't believe me. I don't dress for anyone else. It's whatever is comfortable and whatever I feel like that day. I love layering. I love colors. I love pops of colors. I love accessorizing. I love jewelry. 

 AB: Do you mix metals? 

 VL: Sometimes I do, but it's never like “I'm gonna mix these things together.”

 AB: It’s a controversial topic. 

 VL: It is. I think if you have a silver belt, whatever, you can wear a little bit of gold. But, it also depends on what I'm wearing. If I'm wearing all black, I like the way silver looks with that. But, if I'm wearing jeans, I'm going to go for gold. 

 AB: Yeah I get you. Sometimes black and gold is a little too contrasty. There's something warm about mixing gold with a denim or a more casual look. And silver's cool. I’m a cool toned person.

 VL: Yeah. 

 AB: Is there an era of style that you are particularly attracted to? 

 VL: Yeah. I love Victorian era corsets. The fabric, everything was so intentional, and special, and we've lost that. Most of my clothes are secondhand or thrifted because they're just made better. And they have a sense of life in them.

 AB: If you could steal a character’s wardrobe, from TV or film, who would it be? 

 VL: I don't think I have one. 

 AB: I was trying to think of my answer too. Most obviously as a young girl, I was impacted by Blair Waldorf. But more recently, I've been really inspired when I see a film from the 60s, maybe a French film like La Piscine. The style of the women in that era is so feminine and chic. 

 VL: I would say Brigitte Bardot. I would say even, Almost Famous, Kate Hudson’s character. There’s a strong sense of character, that's portrayed in her wardrobe. Wardrobe stylists are so cool. They really make the character.

 AB: Absolutely. Okay. More superficial. We're getting really to the surface. What's your coffee order? 

 VL: So it's just, iced latte with whole milk. I don't do oat or almond anymore. Whole milk. Agave. Cinnamon on top. 

 AB: Cinnamon is such a good touch. I always ask for the cinnamon. What's your ideal day? 

 VL: Early morning, waking up on the right side of the bed. Probably a work out. It sets the tone and wakes your body up. A Pilates class at like, 8/930, coffee, studio time…at least for a couple hours somewhere in there. I love errands. I'm an errand girl. I feel like because my lifestyle is free, I find that I'm always running around. I'm an earth sign. I need stability. I don't like feeling like I'm not seizing the day. Maybe I'll go to a museum. I'll see a movie. I love seeing movies in theaters, but that would be an afternoon thing. Going into stores. Special stores or an antique shop. 

 My ideal day is most of the time spent alone. I feel like when I'm with my friends, I'm such an empath. I often end up doing what they want to do. I like being alone because I can just do what I want to do. 

 AB: What's a sacred ritual that you have?

 VL: Showering. I love a long, long shower. I'm writing, or drawing things on the glass when it fogs up. I've always done that. I think it's like disassociation. I could be in the shower for ages. Love the shower. 

 AB: All black or color? 

 VL: Probably color. A month ago, I would say all black. Something's happening. 

 AB: Yeah. It sounds like there's a theme of emerging from the darkness of some kind, which can be kind of scary. Especially as a creative, when you feel like maybe your creative well exists in that darkness. I definitely feel I've stepped into a lighter space. It's been nice. So I hope it's nice for you too. 

 VL: It is nice. I think as artists we are so drawn to our pain because it feels the most truthful. I think when we're happy, we have no reason to escape that. So we're not creating our best work when we're happy, because we’re living in that joy. I think when the good times come, let it roll. Because that other time is just around the corner. 

 AB: It's nice to create things that have a lightness to it. I've always been someone that really appreciates darkness in creativity, but I think as I've gotten older, I appreciate a little breath of fresh air. Looking at something that just is beautiful. 

 VL:  I love work that has both, a sense of play and softness, but also rigidity. I love the texture of something being really rigid and masculine, but then having elements of softness. I think it's like when you add salt to a chocolate chip cookie, it makes it taste better. 

 AB: Oh, my God, that's the perfect analogy. Red lip or neutral? 

 VL: Neutral. I did a red lip for New Year’s and I hated myself that night. In theory, it looks really great. I see it on other people and I'm like, “Oh, that looks so good.” But I just don't feel like myself. 

 AB: Silk or Fur?

 VL: Fur right now. Fur’s making a weird comeback, but in a secondhand way. 

 AB: LA or New York?

 VL: Younger me would say New York, but me now says LA.

 AB: What do you think is the most creative neighborhood in LA. Where gives you the best energy?

 VL: Echo Park. Silverlake. Over there. Everyone's just kind of young and blooming.

 AB: Yeah it’s become so cliche to say Silverlake or Echo Park, but it’s true. 

 VL: I was actually born there. My parents, before they separated, had a house in Los Feliz.

 AB: It almost feels like there's a revival happening of LA’s creative energy. I think for a while it felt very played out, and there wasn't that spark or magic anymore. I think it's starting to come back, especially in certain areas. 

 VL: Yeah, I agree, I think it has a lot to do with, movies that are coming out. I feel like there was a lull in movies a couple years ago. I watched Barbie. I should have watched it in theaters, because I watched it at home, and it's just not the same. I was watching and thinking “This is a movie that my kids are gonna look at the way that when I grew up I was watching Sound of Music”. My dad always put on the classics for us. 

 AB: I feel an excitement about fashion and film.

 VL: I think women probably have a role in that. I've never seen so many female directors pop up  as in just this year alone. If you look at movies from the 90’s, early 2000’s. If you weren't a beautiful woman, you weren't in a movie. Now it's almost like nobody wants that. People want to see real. It’s very exciting. 

 AB: Do you think of yourself as a female artist? Is that something that feels like very much part of your identity? 

 VL: Yeah. Very much. I don't know how to do anything else. There is no plan B. I think I have to be or else I would lose my mind. 

 AB: Well, you're doing all the things. 

 VL: Thanks. I think growing up where we grew up, it just seems like everyone gets ahead really fast. So watching it all happen and feeling like people are light years ahead of me, used to get to me a lot. I felt like I was behind. For some reason now, I feel like I'm actually exactly where I need to be.

 AB: I’m trying to learn that things take time. People can say it to you a million times and it never feels good enough. You want that instant gratification. Especially, how we perceive things on social media. You’ll see something pop up and you're like, “Whoa where did they come from? They're so huge.” But you then realize, “Oh, they've been around for ten years,” and you're just witnessing all those years of work come to fruition. I think for the first time, I also feel in less of a rush.

 VL: I grew up really fast. It was almost like I wanted to be an adult, because being a kid didn't feel safe. If I could get all my ducks in a row and be a grown up I’d be fine. It was a defense mechanism. Now that I'm actually there, I don't want to grow up at all. I want to be a kid forever.

AB: What advice would you give to somebody who wanted to do what you do? 

 VL: Do it because it feels right. I think that that is the only way it's ever going to work out for you. 

 I've been blessed with growing up in LA, and growing up with parents that were in the industry, and grandparents that were in it. My grandparents were MGM actors. My grandma has a star on the walk. It’s so weird, but being around it, you come to realize that there's more bad than good in a world like that. In the entertainment industry or any creative field, there's so much politics. So, if you don't know why you're doing it, you're going to get lost very fast. If you want a long career like anyone does, you have to really love what you do. You have to start from inside first. 

 AB: Okay. Last and absolutely most insignificant question. What's your favorite piece from Arc and Bow? 

VL: I love your little bows. I also love your headbands, because I wear headbands from Rite Aid—the little cotton ones. Your fabric looks so special. Those are timeless pieces. You know you want quality because you want to be able to live in it forever. I love that sense of “it isn’t fast fashion with Arc and Bow.” And you could tell that right away. It feels very purposeful. There aren't 100 items. There are special, thought out, well-made items, and it feels like you're buying yourself an investment in a way. 


The Waffle Headband Arc and Bow
Model in the Waffle Headband Arc and Bow
(Victoria in The Waffle Headband)


AB:  Thank you so much. What a wonderful conversation. 

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