I met Valerie online first - then saw her fabulous booth at Surtex this year!
I was one of those kids that was always drawing and writing. I remember my Mom telling me “a lot” to get my head out of the clouds. I had the title of class artist during grade school. I dreamed of going to art school, but, unfortunately being an artist was not something my parents could wrap their heads around. So I studied business in college. I took a couple of art courses as electives and it was in my graphic design course that the teacher said to me one day, "Valerie, I don't know why you're going into business — you're an artist!" The validation from that teacher changed the direction of my life. After college I got a job at a small publishing company and went onto a 30 year career in advertising and marketing. I worked my way up from a graphic designer, to art director and then creative director. I got to be creative every day and get paid for it. It's only been over the past four years that I started painting, illustrating and developing my style.
What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
Everything seems to inspire me. I love cats, dogs and all animals. I’ve always been a very conceptual person. And being a creative director in advertising, it was my job to come up with ideas. I also love looking at other artists work, being out in nature, shopping, store displays, interior design, surfing the internet, Design Seeds, Pinterest, blogs, and driving around. I never seem to be lacking for ideas or projects to do.
Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I started painting in acrylics about four years ago and I've used watercolors over the years. About a year ago I started to work on my “digital style” because I’m targeting the art licensing market. Even though I had worked on the computer for years it was more of a design tool for me. Using it to create art was a different approach. I thought that my style wouldn't translate but it has and I'm building up a good portfolio of images. I first started drawing and scanning in my images but now I can create right in Illustrator and Photoshop. I still do a lot of drawing and painting too. And I’m working on my hand lettering.
What are you working on now?
I’m still working on my art licensing portfolio and reaching out to manufacturers after my Surtex debut this past May. I dreamed of doing Surtex for years and I decided to finally make it happen. And it was an amazing experience! The commitment to do Surtex was certainly a motivator to create art. I’m also adding items to my Etsy shop for the upcoming holiday season. I recently moved across the country to Abiquiu, New Mexico from NH. It was a little magical the way it happened. I’m new to the art licensing world, so I’m still following up and reaching out to potential manufacturers with my work. So many people have told me my art would be perfect for art licensing, so, here I go!
Anything else you want to tell everyone?
It takes a lot of courage to be an artist. If you are interested in doing creative work, you need to start where you are. If you're not currently self-motivated, take a class! I kept taking art classes at night all during my advertising career. You have to make time for yourself and for your art. Your style will emerge and your technique gets better. And I sincerely appreciate everyone who supports my art and has followed my journey.
Are you an early riser?, or night owl?
Definitely a night owl. Woot woot!
What is your favorite food?
I kind of go through food trends. Right now I’m into oranges, egg strata, animal crackers and this fabulous banana nut bread recipe I recently found!
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