Silvi Naci has a hand in just about everything art related. She is an illustrator, printmaker, graphic designer, curator, and poet. More recently she’s claimed the title of art director at Liquid Art House, a new art-gallery/restaurant fusion located in the Back Bay. Originally from Albania, she moved to Boston and attended NESAD (New England School of Art and Design) at Suffolk. Since then, she’s been using art and collaborative projects as a means to creating a greater sense of community within the city. (Notably, Naci started The Joining Project in the aftermath of the Marathon bombing, a collaborative yarn installation that spans the Mass Ave bridge). Recently, Naci graciously took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few of our questions!
1. You were immersed in art from an early age. Did you always know you wanted to work in the arts? Do you remember what clued you into this?
Ever since I was very young in Albania, I always attended art schools and took private art classes. My earliest memories are drawing in my front porch in my house and writing stories inspired by my dreams. I knew I was an artist before I ever knew I was a human, or a lady, or a sister, or a friend. Being an artist was everything to me and all I wanted to be for a very long time.
2. What was your experience like growing up in Albania and attending art school there, and how did you eventually make your way to Boston, MA?
I felt very fortunate to be attending art school in Albania. My mom always worked as a chef in the coolest spaces in town, and she saved money for my private courses. Many kids my age didn’t know what they wanted to do in life, being so young, so I was very happy to be immersed in art from an early age. My cousin there is a well-known painter (Viktor Bullgari), and he taught me how to paint with oil from the age of 12. It was pretty cool.
3. At this point, you’ve worn many hats in the art world: graphic designer, printmaker, illustrator, curator, art director, etc. Would it be possible for you to choose just one as your favorite role?
I love all those roles, as well as switching back and forth to make amazing things happen. I do very much enjoy being an art director; building from the ground up and overseeing the project is what I strive for. My mission in life is to connect community through art making. Being an art director allows me to work with the entire process from start to finish, and seeing something come to life is very satisfying.
4. How are you liking your current position as art director for Liquid Art House? What’s the most exciting aspect of the work? And the most challenging?
As artists we always looks for some sort of feedback and reaction from the world—that’s why we display our art—to see how it lives in the world. As the art director at L.A.H., that’s always happening. Everyone has a reaction to how we transform the house every few months, and it’s very exciting to see how this affects people.
Every time the show rotates it is a challenge to make it just as amazing as the previous one, but that is exactly what I strive for.
5. Do you have any advice for local students and aspiring artists looking to get involved with the Boston art scene?
Don’t take “no” or “it’s not possible” for an answer. If you want to make something happen, start creating and talking with people who have similar passions. Build something with them and make amazing things happen. I did not wait around for things to happen. I created opportunities for myself and made things happen.
Figure out what it is that you are passionate about and dedicate your life to building that and working on making the life you want for yourself.
Anything I’ve missed that you’d want readers to know? Especially any exciting projects on the horizon . . .
Aside from L.A.H.’s new exhibit next month, Berlin Walled, I’m also working on some exciting public art projects for the next year which will connect communities through art making, bring some joy to Boston, and create some fun collaborations with other creative minds.
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Berlin Walled will be on view at L.A.H. from 2/23–4/30. Thanks again to Silvi Naci for her time! Credit for the above featured image goes to Heather McGrath.