Maria-Thérèse Sommar, fotograf, frilansskribent och författare.
Ej körkortsfoto! Ej fotostudio.
No ID / passport photos. No studio.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Interview with Vanessa Valencia, artist and creator of magic at A Fanciful Twist

I'm glad to present this interview with Vanessa Valencia - artist, storyteller and creator of magical worlds. Most of you are probably familiar with her work and know that she organises a fabulous tea party and a halloween party each year.
[Swedish translation / Svensk översättning, klicka här.]

Avant Garden Wonderland - A Tea Party

Have you always created art? When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I loved to draw when I was a little girl. But, it wasn’t until I was 11 years old, when my parents let me paint my furniture and my walls in my room, that I knew I had tapped into something amazing. Painting opened a door into another world for me. When I would paint, I felt like I was escaping into another place in time, and I knew from then on that painting was a part of my path….

That it was part of my being.

I am curious about how you work. Do you prefer to work on canvas, paper or something else?

I love to paint on canvas and wood, and I love to work with clay. Although, depending on my mood, I am open to any creative medium really.

Winnifred Bidelia Enchantine - Witch of the Fairytale Forest

Do you start out with a clear idea of what you want to do; do you work on one piece until it's finished or can you leave it and come back to it later?

The way I work is that, an idea comes to me, and I hold it in my thoughts for a long time. Then one day I start to paint, and it usually all pours out of me at once. I usually finish pieces within a few days. If I take a break from painting a piece for too long, I forget about it and it goes into my vault of unfinished pieces. I don’t do that very often though.

I usually finish a piece from start to end, within a week or less. Sometimes I work on 3 to 5 pieces at a time.

As an example, I had a vision in my mind for 4 years, and recently started bringing it to life. It wasn’t that I was thinking things out. It was that, the spark to that piece had to ignite itself. And when it did, it came to life quite quickly.
In the Theater of Dreams

You have created a world of your own in your art – and in your online presence. What I find interesting is that many of the subjects in your paintings seem to be in their own worlds as well – floating, dancing, not looking straight at the viewer. Words like escape, enchanted and dream are often found in the titles. What role do dreams play in your work?

Good question, I had never thought about this before…
I think that dreams, and the idea of what dreams hold, plays a big role in my artwork. In dreams, anything is possible, as is in art. If you can dream it, you can create it, or so they say?

I think that perhaps many of my characters and art pieces are created as a snapshot of a moment. It is like, for a second we get a peek into another world, where say, a girl is leaping through the sky in dance, with stars floating all around her. It is sort of like watching a performance. And we are getting a moment to watch a dancer in pure bliss…

For me it creates a very intimate feeling with my pieces.

Do you create stories around the characters or do they live in their respective paintings?

They tell me their story as they come to life. I don’t think things out too much before I paint. I might have an idea in my mind for a long time, but I let the details unravel by themselves as I paint, and with that, the characters tell me their story.

The Curious Playroom

You know how brave I think you were when you opened up your homes and your studio online. How do you find a balance between being alone and creating art and being online, updating your shop, blogging and so on? (This question is from an anonymous Swedish girl who is starting to think of her computer as a body part.)

Yes, the computer becomes part of your brain, with tentacles ;)

To begin with, the balance of time, is very very difficult. It is more difficult than I ever thought it would be. I feel like I am always busy, and I feel that I have this online world that I love being a part of. And balancing creating and updating my shop, with blogging is like a juggler who doesn’t know how to juggle ;)

I do okay, but I hope to one day find a better balance. To be a full time artist, and to create art as a career, is quite intense. I quit a successful job to follow my passion. And, not being a risk taker, I eased into it. I love what I do, and I am very happy that I followed my path. Although, I never imagined that I would be working 18 hours a day. And, almost all of that time is alone time. I love spending time alone, but it is good to have some sort of creature connection during the day. If it were not for my dogs, I might go crazy. The love they share during those long hours, spent working alone, is crucial to my well being.

The thing is that, I have to be in a really special place when I create, and so, balance is super important. The amount of work it takes to run your shop and take photos, and edit them and share on your blog, and make art so you can pay your bills, is mind-blowing. But the thing is, it is so worth it, to get to do what you love. I love the blog world. It is a super special place to me.

Vanessa at the halloween party
 Do you exhibit your work often? Do you ever exhibit in other countries?

I have not been in a show for the last 3 years. I strictly share my work online these days. That is the beauty of this virtual world. I really adore being able to share in this way.

I used to do shows several times a year, and travel with my work. I also exhibited in a couple of galleries when I was in my late teens to early twenties. Setting up to do shows is fun, but grueling. I might do it again in the future. But for now, virtual shows are what I love.

What is your advice to people who want to create art but don't know how to begin?

Oh, another difficult question. For me, it came naturally, however, I always tell my friends not to have a goal of what they want to create. But to first, put on their favorite music, put paint in their hands, and just go crazy on a huge canvas. I call that, painting emotions.

Painting for me is extremely cathartic. There is a sort of painting for release (going crazy with paint and creating abstract pieces), that I did every day of my life for 20 years, that I think changed me as a person. I have never ever taken an art class, but I somehow taught myself to first release emotions through art, creating pieces that you might not even show anyone. And that will lead you to find your way, to what kind of art you want to make. But first you have to make a mess, and find out who you are when it comes to painting. Are you abstract, are you detailed…..? Throw some paint around, and find out.

That is what I think :)

The Siren Finds Her Voice
Thank you for letting me interview you and also for being a friend, a constant source of inspiration and magic – and for throwing the most wonderful tea parties!

Thank you Maria-Thérèse!! ;)

I own several of Vanessa's prints and they come on beautiful canvas paper which feels a lot like real paintings... Visit her shop and the fairytale world which is her blog:

Vanessa Valencia's website:

All images in this post © A Fanciful Twist, Vanessa Valencia, and used with permission

My halloween party post & giveaway: click here
© Copyright © Maria-Thérèse Sommar unless otherwise noted.
Blogger Template by pipdig