About the artist
My name is Valentina Arenas and I was born in Chile, in 1985. Coming from a family of artists, with my dad a composer and my mom a dancer, I knew since kindergarten I wanted to be an artist too.
I received my Bachelor in Fine Arts in 2007 in Santiago, Chile. Right after, I traveled to Japan to research Japanese traditional art at Hokkaido University under the supervision of Prof. Hisashi Yakou. The year in Japan opened my world view, especially because I got to experience the Japanese culture in many aspects of my daily life. I understood and enjoyed the ability of Japanese people to admire nature and to give themselves time to contemplate the little things, even in their fast paced life. Their delicate art and poetry are all about perceiving the natural world. Inspired by it, I worked on a series of paintings in mixed media, dedicated to the theme of flowers, leaves, and grass that I showed in two solo exhibits on my return to Chile.
Around that time, I started teaching a Color Theory class at the University. Concurrently, I opened a studio in Santiago where I gave private drawing and painting lessons. I also produced a line of handmade products called Pinta, and my first production of pieces dedicated to animals. Initially, only dogs and cats.
In 2013 I got married, moved to California and became a mom of two girls!
Today, I remain feeling very inspired by nature. The infinite possibilities in colors and shapes as well as the natural equilibrium found in every small or big element of nature, provides me with a vast range of visual ideas to create my paintings. Not only the visual part of nature fascinate me, but also the fact that is so good for us. From the the nourishment we can get from plants when we eat them, to the positive impact of being surrounded by green environments.
Another big topic in my work is animals. I'm concerned about the way we are raising animals today, with a huge number of animals that are being raised in inhumane ways, because they are thought as products, not as beings that suffer, feel pain and express love. From the food industry, clothing, beauty products, zoos, etc., the list is long... Most of the times, the animals that I paint are those in a constant demeaning situation. I feel like painting them is a way of honoring them, and I aspire that my work promotes the dialogue about animal welfare.
After settling down a bit better in the Bay Area, I opened a studio in the beautiful Benicia in which I taught for over a year. My studio opened a whole new perspective for me, because I got to teach many younger kids, allowing me to understand their needs as young artists and to learn from their fresh minds. As we all navigate the new reality of the pandemic, I feel grateful that even from home and through online lessons, I keep to be in contact with their vitality and creativity, and that by doing art with them, I have been given the opportunity to find light and inspiration in the midst of the crisis.