Being a part of the Etsy community, not only as a seller but as a customer, I have come across many talented individuals. With this series, I hope to introduce you to some of these creative people, finding out where they find their creativity, and a little bit more about them.
My name is Vanessa Valencia and I am an artist living in Southern Arizona.
I started making art when I was about 11 years old, and then more regularly when I was 17 years old.
At that time I also started a jewelry business, where I made all sorts of jewelry, which I still make today.
While attending the University of Arizona, where I majored in International Retailing and Consumer Studies, I continued making art during my free time.
It was the most important life line to my heart, which became a way for me to stay sane, and added a great amount of balance to my life.
During those years I sold my art at a gallery and shop in downtown Tucson.
I was about 19 years old and was meeting artists and having so many wonderful and memorable experiences in the art realm.
I graduated from the U of A in 1999 and went into interior design, all the while having art and jewelry shows like mad.
In 2001 I went into real estate, but still continued to do art and jewelry shows.
In 2006 I heard about Etsy and blogging, and I was instantly hooked.
I was stressed out and run down from my real world job, and I needed a change.
I decided to pursue a dream, just plunge, and make art full time.
It was really scary but ever so fun.
The blogosphere was hopping and there was so much excitement in the air.
So, I fully plunged and became a full time artist.
Etsy was an easy and open venue for an artist like me.
It allowed me to share my work all over the world.
Sending art to places close to home, or as far away as Paris and Australia.
It's been a miraculous tool really.
I always had a vast well of inspiration and creativity.
I honestly have no idea where it comes from?
But it proves to be invaluable to running such a business.
I love to garden, and being in the garden also refuels my inspiration.
I love making things and trying new things.
This I think is part of the motor that keeps you creating regularly.
I love painting and playing in clay.
I have sculpted in every clay medium I could find, from low fire to high fire, and now polymer clay.
My mood reflects what I make.
Sometimes it's ballerinas and old papers with glitter stars.
Other times it's bright candy colors and little hand sculpted cake heads and elves.
I love making so many different things, but as I said, it depends on my mood as to which direction I will go in.
I don't set boundaries for myself, I just go with the flow.
Never really knowing what I shall make.
It's not easy, being a full time artist, but it is very rewarding.
I run my entire business myself, from making the art to photographing to blogging to packaging and shipping, to every single little detail in between and beyond.
So, sometimes it can be daunting, but it's worth the freedom it affords me.
Although, it gets harder and harder to not just lollygag my day away in the garden.
So, I may need to start implementing some sound rules.
Making art is the only "place" I know that is truly me.
I love it with my whole being.
It's a happy place, a safe place, a healing place and much more.
Everyday is a changing evolution, and I am always excited for the journey.
In fact, I can't wait to see what tomorrow shall bring...
Stunning artwork and such an interesting journey! Thank you so much for sharing your story and your artistic talents with us here today, Vanessa!
As if that wasn’t enough, Vanessa is very generously and graciously offering a giveaway* to a print from her shop! To be entered to win, just leave a comment below. You do not need to have a blog to enter, but must leave an email address in your comment so that I can contact you. This giveaway will be open until June 5, 2014, at 12 midnight EST. A winner will be selected via random.org and announced on June 6, 2014.
*Open to U.S. residents.