Grace Villamil, Artist

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Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 12.49.49 PM
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Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 12.49.59 PM
Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 12.49.38 PM
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If you've had the chance to visit the Glossier Summer Fridays Showroom (if not, it's still open every Friday for the rest of the summer!), you've seen the immersive art installation that's taken over what used to be our conference room. It's called The Escape Room, and it's a multi-sensory experience, combining light, sound, smell, and feel into something that can only be described as complete Zen. The walls are covered in textured, silver Mylar, the floor is a mattress...we love having it. And we'd like to introduce you to the artist behind it, Grace Villamil. In her own words:

'I studied photography—I’ve always been a very visual person. Even in my earliest classes, when we’d be asked to present one photo, I would build some little thing instead. I’ve always been creating spaces. This one in particular was inspired by hiking in the desert in Venezuela, which happens to be one of the oldest geological structures in the world—so it’s like where the world began. We climbed this structure over a week or five days. It’s 16 miles up, and when you get to the top, it’s like black rocks. I really liked that kind of environment of it being completely black. Everywhere you walked there were these dark rocks. Other than that, there were these dark crystal coves. I was really inspired by all of it to recreate that feeling somewhere else.

I did that hike with one of my best friends named Fabiana, who owns the boutique Coming Soon. I built an installation of this kind in her store, and it lives there permanently. There’s also a permanent wall at Mission Chinese Food, and I did another installation at AThinPlace Gallery in Berlin, Germany—but the one at Glossier is very interesting to me. It’s very site-specific, and because this office is so female-centric, I took a bit more care in creating it. Instead of it being a massive public space, it’s more intimate, and it felt like we were making it a bit more beautiful, to be honest.

My studio is in Greenpoint—separate from my apartment. I use to keep the studio inside my apartment, but it’s helpful to have a space outside of it. Honestly, being a woman inside of your own apartment can be difficult if you’re trying to create stuff in the same space you rest, cook, clean, take a bath…I need a departure between it otherwise I get totally distracted. My home is very sweet and comfortable, and my studio has literally like no windows and feels very masculine, if anything. There are these high ceilings so that my brain can get very empty, and I can just work on stuff.

In the mornings, I like to swim. I’ll go to a pool in Williamsburg and do laps, or I'll go to the beach and swim out just past where the waves start. It’s so nice to get past the exercise and just float. I also like to take baths at home with just warm water and lavender salts.

Lately, I’ve been using a lot of Living Libations' Seabuckthorn Best Skin Ever. I have really intense energy sometimes and get reddish and irritated, so it just calms my skin down a bit. I’ll still break out like a teenager, so the combination of Seabuckthorn Best Skin Ever and Glossier's Perfecting Skin Tint reduces redness and covers just enough so that I don't feel like ugh. I don’t really wear makeup, but the Skin Tint in Medium is very, very light—it’s the kind of makeup I’ve always wanted. Before that, I was using Yves Saint Laurent's Top Secrets All-In-One BB Cream Skintone Perfector, which is good, but it's a little too thick for New York City summers.

You always have to have a different approach for each season. My hair used to be this amazing shade of light blue, but it was too much upkeep for the summertime. I did it in November because I wanted something that was more vibrant—a pick me up! I went to Lucille Javier at Sally Hershberger. She does an amazing job and made my hair so healthy instead of it being totally stripped. Sally Hershberger has these amazing shampoo and conditioners, and I discovered Shu Uemura's Essence Absolue there when they used it on me. That keeps your hair really healthy and shiny. I’ll probably dye it again, but pastels are just too much for me when it's hot out.

Beyond that, I really love wearing this Hermès perfume called Voyage d'Hermès. It smells delicious! I’ve been wearing it for like two months. I use to always wear Hermès Un Jardin En Méditerranée. I went back to the store to get that one in particular, but I was like, 'I don’t know, maybe I should switch it up.' It’s just a little lighter than Voyage, I think. It's also good for summer.”

—as told to ITG

Grace Villamil photographed by Tom Newton July 16, 2015. For more artists, check out ITG's interviews with Ana Kraš, Petra Collins, and Ariana Papademetropoulos.

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