Photo by Wendy D
Here’s a little bit about her:
As I travel in different countries, including my own, I find I need to create art to continue my experience and memories of those places. My mixed media pieces consist of found objects combined with my photographs and treasures collected during my travels. The found objects I collect can vary from a souvenir Statue of Liberty from New York to a complete set of sun dried animal vertebrae found on the beach in Mexico. Rusted items of all shapes and sizes and the odd religious item complete my set of living heritage objects gathered on a trip. I am attracted to the kitsch as well as the organic. My photos also reflect that flavor as well with images of fences, altars, clouds, architecture and textures of all kinds.
My studio is a visual feast piled high with labeled, clear plastic boxes and drawers stuffed chock o block on shelves holding my collections of junk and treasures. There’s also my photographs filed and categorized under themes such as fences, rust, texture, chairs, etc. I rescue old wood boxes, metal boxes and containers of all sorts. Because of my assemblage work my photography is not usually just a photo in a frame, I find I need to embellish it in some way to compete its story.
I like to work in series mostly due to the fact that I collect in multiples but I also find my creative process needs more than one piece to be complete.
And here’s how she answered my 6 questions about creativity:
What does it mean to you to be creative?
I think it starts with having an imagination and making those thoughts and ideas become an actual original piece of work. It takes a lot of experimentation, innovation, resourcefulness and patience. They say everything has already been done, so that would be your challenge…to have someone look at your work and say they have never seen anything like this before.
What inspires your creativity?
My travels definitely inspire me…going to different countries and experiencing people, food, flora, fauna, architecture, artwork and most of all their way of life. I always take my camera and use my photos as either reference or put them in my work. Collecting of course…whether it is religious imagery, tacky souvenirs or pieces of rust or bone on the beach. Each piece becomes a treasure and is stored carefully in my studio. At home I need to communicate with other artists. I belong to a couple of groups of artists that meet or retreat to learn from each other.
What keeps you moving forward in making things happen?
As my Mom used to say…when I was growing up I didn’t just do two things at once, I was doing three things at once. Not sure why some people are like that, but I just am. Also contact with other artists always twigs something in me to try something new. In my studio as I am making one piece and I look in one of my storage boxes for something, before I know it I am now making two pieces…I love junk! Also my husband Arnt is the most supportive partner a gal can have. Every year we have a personal AGM…”I actually take notes” and we list what we completed from last year and make a new one for the coming year and then try to figure out how to do everything. I guess it works as we have been happily together for 32 years.
Snorkeling at Coral Head
What’s the wildest journey your venturesome spirit has taken you on?
Traveling with my husband always ends up in me doing something wild or outside my comfort zone. Afterwards I am always appreciative that he gave me that push. A couple of things would be:
- snorkeling 7 miles out in the open ocean in Fiji
- sailing from Vancouver to California and back
- caving and kayaking in New Zealand
- riding on an elephant in Laos
- Personally, retiring early from the “moneymaking” jobs, to just do art!
What’s the boldest, most provocative statement you are willing to make about yourself, your business or the industry that you are in?
As an artist it is the unerring belief in yourself and your medium.
What’s next for you?
An artist these days has to think outside the box, so having just left the Eastside Culture Crawl Society as their Executive Director for 11 years I am going to take that energy and put it into my own career and my husbands so that we can keep creating and challenging ourselves.
And here’s something that inspires Valerie’s creativity:
I have to say it is www.eastsideculturecrawl.com …with 350 artists and 10,000 patrons it has been a delight to be part of the administrative team but when I started showing my own work and having that many people come through my studio with comments of pleasure as well as criticism…you can’t buy that kind of opportunity!
To find out more about Valerie’s website, check out…www.valeriearntzen.com
Thank you Valerie and hats off to all things wild and outside your comfort zone!