Updated: Jun 16, 2021
My given name is Valentina. I'm a revolutionary with a cause- the cause of the liberation of the world working class from capitalist exploitation. Born in Colombia, I've lived in Panama, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, and currently find myself creating from Montréal. My artwork concerns both inner and outer revolutions. I explore these themes through different means; Portraits, in particular, allow me to explore more deeply the interconnections between the individual and the collective; the one and the many.
When did you first become inspired to start creating? I started making art when I was 3 years old and I've never stopped since.
What is art to you personally? Art is the purest expression of the creative force that exists within all of us; art can be anywhere between 'beautiful' and 'grotesque' but it must always evoke strong feelings in the people experiencing it. I also think that this 'creative force' is the same force of Life and Love.
How have your life experiences influenced your art style? I would define my style as eclectic. I’m a painter by training, but I also make drawings, collages, prints, ceramics, and glow-in-the-dark 'neo-fossil' jewelry and accessories. This definitely reflects my life, as I have lived all over the world and seen, tasted, and heard all kinds of different styles and cultures. A moment that truly marked me was when I visited Italy; I must’ve been about 15 years old when I entered the colosseum, when I gazed upon Michelangelo’s work covering the Sistine chapel, when I felt the presence of his gigantic statue of David. There was a sense of absolute awe at these works of art which connected me in the present with Italian masters hundreds of years ago. We die, but our art(ifacts) remain; we are mortal, our creations are immortal- they transcend spatial and temporal bounds to teach us that we are one humanity regardless of place or time.
If you had all the resources in the world (time, money, etc) would you still make the kind of art you make? Yes, definitely. I work in order to keep creating, not the other way around. I would probably make bigger paintings and start woodworking and frame-making.
What does success mean to you? Being happy with what you do and who you do it with, all while remaining truthful to yourself.
Were you born an artist or made an artist? I think being an artist for me was preordained. I was a quiet baby who never cried, just observed. My curiosity has been my most loyal companion through this very unstable and unpredictable 24 year long trip. Art is how I turn survival into living.
What is your favorite tool to work with? Not to be cheesy (although who doesn't like cheese??), but my favourite tool is my brain/ hands. About half of my work happens in my head before even starting a piece and I’m never happier than when my hands are getting dirty, be it with charcoal, paint, pastels, food, or simply good old dirt.
Name a material that you refuse to work with Digital painting. I admire people who do it but I just can't get the kinaesthetic satisfaction and therapeutic benefits that making physical art gives me when everything happens on a screen.
How would you describe your aesthetic? Eclectic. What's not to like?
What is your favorite genre of art? I love Dadaism, Fauvism and Impressionism the most. I love the political, dirty, satirical approach to very serious socio-political problems of the Dadaists; the use of ultra-saturated colours of the Fauvists and their minimalism of form really fire me up from the deepest inside; and the pastel colour palette and brushstrokes of the Impressionists make me feel like reality is not truly what it seems at first (perhaps the most truthful rendition of a moment can only be expressed in impressions of an afternoon).
What are your hobbies outside of creating? When I’m not painting or experimenting with a new medium, you’ll find me cooking, preserving or pickling food, taking care of all of my baby plants, reading Marxist theory, history, and fiction, free-style writing or dabbling my toes in the fountain of poetry, or just enjoying the sun (or snow) outside.
What keeps you up at night? The bourgeoisie is killing people by the millions for its own selfish, greedy interest, and the working class which is taking its sweet time to react to events, organize, and fight back!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? I hope that within the next 5 years I’ll have completed my BFA in Studio Arts and a Master’s in Art Therapies. In 10 years I hope to start my dream project where I would use my knowledge and abilities as a creative therapist to heal people in connection with our natural environment. I think there’s a sacred link between people and nature that has been broken by the Capitalist system which seeks to commodify everything and break our links to each other, and I think it is our duty as guardians of this planet to reconnect the connections that have been severed.
What advice would your current self give your beginner self? Don’t take life too seriously - All is experiment.
If you weren’t creating, what would you be doing? I would be travelling and cooking. Although again, the culinary arts are a very creative field. Without creating, I am and would be nothing.
You have 100$ to spend at the art supply store. What's in your basket? 3 really good oil painting brushes. That's about as many as I could afford with $100.
Who is your target audience? All workers, young and old alike.
What are your go to snacks while creating? I love a mix of stove-popped popcorn and nacho cheese Doritos. Doritos are my weakness.
What do you love most about being an artist? The fact that I can do and be anyone. The label ‘artist’ is such an all-encompassing term that it leaves very little room for people to have preconceived ideas of who you are and what you do. I find it liberating.
Have you taken classes or are you self taught? I’ve taken a number of classes and courses in painting and drawing, the rest of the things I do take from that. I am currently pursuing a BFA in Studio Arts with a minor in Sustainability studies at Concordia University, so yes, I have some professional training. My goal is to obtain an MA in Art Therapies so I can share my art and the healing powers of art with everyone, specially marginalized communities.
Where do you find inspiration? I find a lot of inspiration in my friends who dare to create and share it with the world.
What is your favorite material to work with? It’s hard to choose just one material, honestly. Charcoal has a special place in my heart. I love how easily you can convey form with charcoal. I love charcoal at its darkest and at its lightest, and the simplicity provided by the lack of colour.