Meet the photographer capturing the essence of Cali’s creatives

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Don’t sleep on Vavi

When looking at anything that the artist simply known as Vavi leaves her artistic fingerprint on, it is nearly impossible not to feel some sort of emotion. The California photographer is a natural with a camera in her hand, and has expanded her range into other mediums such as fashion as well. We wanted to hear more about her work which includes photos of some of the culture’s brightest stars. At the rate she’s going, she is quickly becoming one in her own right. Enjoy!


1. Your website seems like a nice mix of photography, fashion, and other forms of artistry. How did you get into the arts?

This is going to sound really corny. But i was born an artist. There isn’t a time in my life i can recall not having a camera, paint brush, crayon in my hand. Neither of my parents have any interest or knowledge of art but i know my mom saw it in me from a young age. My first camera was a barbie polaroid i got when i was 5 years old. I remember being in painting class at 7 years old while other girls were in soccer or whatever. It’s as much apart of me as being a brown queer woman is.


2. What do you feel is your style as a photographer? What type of vibes do you like to capture?

I guess my ‘style’ or ‘vibe’ is raw or pure. My portraits are intended to make you feel. To tell a story, someones story. I cant really take a good photo of someone unless they are comfortable with me. Without some sort of vulnerability and trust.

3. What is the inspiration behind “Not your baby?”

Womxn are the inspiration behind Not Ur Baby. Womxn inspire me everyday, they dont even have to be artists. I can see a pregnant woman walking down the street and i am left in awe. But Not Ur Baby the show and benefit came together after i was over dealing with male ego being in art shows around the Bay Area. I had so many talented womxn artists around me that werent being featured anywhere. So i took what i wanted to see into my own hands. Womxn (especially women of color and lgbtq community) being featured and respected in a show without having to deal with any male ego from venues, curators or other artists.

4. Any other projects in the works you’d like to speak on?

I have some video ideas built up in my head. Video is kind of my new learning medium im in right now. But i dont have anything too exciting coming up. Hopefully a solo show, i am manifesting.

5. What are your long term hopes and dreams as an artist?

I hope that i can eventually live off of art i like making. Maybe thats producing, directing, curating, maybe all of it. I hope i get up to where the ‘big dogs’ are and take up space in the white male dominant narrative i got fed growing up. Add the perspective of a native american/mexican queer woman. Thats the goal.

IG: @VAVIMAMI


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