CONCORD, CA (July 19, 2023) — Accomplished artist Pat Viera’s stunning paper-portrait collages have depth, texture and vibrant colors. Especially impressive are torn paper edges that resemble painted borders, and the incredible details of faces and animal portraits using folds and tears.
Beyond her talent in collage and other media, she is also the owner of VieraArt, an art gallery, artist co-op and gift shop in Concord.
From creating classroom bulletin boards in elementary school, her love of art bloomed in high school – where she took many art and art-related classes, including mechanical drawing.
Even with a career as a hairdresser, she never stopped creating art. When Viera opened her own beauty salon, she filled the empty 20-foot-high walls with her own artwork, including pencil drawings of faces with different hairdos. Her salon clients often bought her art right off the walls.
She continued being a hairdresser/artist until she retired and now devotes all her time to artwork.
A curious person
Viera’s prolific art journey includes mixed media. “I am a very curious person,” she says. “I call myself more of a dabbler.”
She’s drawn commissioned colored pencil portraits of pets. With a pile of used jeans, she sewed denim handbags. After following a hatmaker on Pinterest, she figured out how to make similar flower petals by experimenting with different materials. She was able to replicate the hat decorations she liked. Viera holds a raffle at her gift shop each month, and that first hat was the prize in a recent raffle.
Whether it’s repurposing used items or being engaged by something on Pinterest, she says she goes with whatever intrigues her at the time.
Her love of paper art began when Viera learned about gel plates – a flexible, paintable, reusable art surface to make reverse prints on paper. With a gel plate as a “canvas,” she paints designed paper, which she uses for all her paper art, from paper bowls and jewelry to origami and collage.
Viera can design 50 sheets of one-of-a-kind paper in a couple hours, often using kitchen tools, homemade tools and her own stencils to make unique design effects on the gel plate. “I figure, the more you make yourself, the more it is your art.”
Viera doesn’t just make art, she teaches art. When people see her jewelry, bracelets, beads and bowls, all made out of paper, they are amazed and can’t imagine doing anything like that. She tells them: “Come to a class, and I can teach you how to do that.”
Viera and other teaching artists often hold classes at her studio. She will also be teaching a class at Studio 55 Martinez in October.
Unique studio space
VieraArt, open since April 2023, is a unique studio space. As a co-op, Viera offers wall space and cubbies that artists can rent. It’s also a space for Viera and other teaching artists to hold classes.
The gallery gift shop is a treasure trove of unique original art and craftwork. Paintings and other fine art by the co-op artists fill the walls; cubby spaces offer gift items from dish towels, plants and jewelry, to crocheted items, T-shirts, handbags and hats.
The public is welcome to visit VieraArt 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 4180 Treat Blvd., Suite G3, Concord.
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John Nakanishi is treasurer of The Concord Art Association. He is an acrylic painter and a ceramic artist. When John isn’t creating art, he coaches soccer for East Bay Eclipse, a competitive soccer club based in Moraga. He is also an avid trail runner, enjoying runs from 5 miles to 50K.