I feel very fortunate to have met some pretty amazing people as a model in the industry and Valerie Carpender is one of the special ones you just don’t forget. This beautiful, multi talented, driven lady is a gem and if you are ever lucky to meet her, you will see her inner beauty is just as magnetic as her paintings.

Check out my Q & A session with this artsy bombshell below.

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Q: Tell us a little but about yourself. 

A: I’m a multimedia artist and jewelry designer. I also work as a professional model. Strange combo? Maybe… but I don’t think most of us were designed to fit neatly into one little box! I graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design with a degree in Visual Arts and Advertising Design, but changed majors four times- once for each year I was there!

To me, life is a big creative experiment with so many directions all worth exploring. No passion project is a waste of time, and it’s never too late to try something new! If you are attracted to something, try it!  Yesterdays’ creative experiments built who we are today, and todays’ creative experiments lay the groundwork for tomorrow. The only failed experiments are the ones we never try.

Q: Why art? 

A: I have always loved making art ever since I was a little girl. In grade school, I would hurry to finish my tests just so that I could turn the paper over and have more time to draw horses on the blank back side. Whenever school projects could involve art, I loved coming up with new ideas- I wrote and Illustrated a magazine from the 60’s in a history class, I sculpted a horse in my study hall, and painted a mural in one of the halls. I’ve always been interested in creating something beautiful from nothing.

While drawing and painting are the obvious artistic mediums that I love, I have tried nearly everything else I can get my hands on! I’ve built furniture from wood and metal, made paper, constructed books, sculpted in a variety of mediums and I can sew almost anything I think of with my Singer sewing machine my mom bought me as a girl. I love digital media and design, which comes in handy when I am working on my own website and promotional materials. One of my biggest loves right now is making jewelry.

Modeling, too, is a creative outlet for me. I really enjoy the collaborative process of working with a team to execute a vision. From the makeup artists to the photographers and art directors, I totally understand everyone’s role and love being a part of the big picture (no pun intended)! Over the years, I’ve also had fun learning how to push myself into different characters. Modeling is a little like acting- one day I might be on a beach with a fake husband on a fake honeymoon, and the next I am modeling camouflage hunting gear for Shopko (true story)!

Q: What art do you identify most with?

A: I identify with other artists who do similar work to mine. I love discovering new contemporary portrait artists who have some identifiable feature that is uniquely theirs. For example, I recently discovered a self-taught South African Artist, Jimmy Law, whose portraits make me wish I had done them first! I even attempted to re-create one of his portraits to learn from his technique, which then lead to my latest painting breakthrough. Thank you, Jimmy!

Q: What inspires you? 

A: I am very easily inspired!  Or maybe I’ve just learned what inspires me most over the years, and choose to surround myself in those things every day. I get most inspired by seeing how other artists work in their studios and by listening to them talk about their own work.  I watch a lot of videos of artists I admire and their processes.  There is always something to learn from other creative people.

I’m also really inspired and affected by my environment.  I cannot work in chaos or disruptions. My art studio is in the North Loop of Minneapolis where I find it easiest to stay focused. My studio space is usually tidy and crazy organized so that everything is ready for me to get to creating the moment I walk in each day. I can shut the door if I need quiet time, or leave it open if I want my artist neighbors to pop in and visit. My studio is a sacred place… I surround myself in everything I love, including my dog, to help me do my best work.

I also love a little inspiration in a glass of red wine!!! Is that bad?  It helps me to stop thinking so much about what I am about to paint, because I have a tendency to over-prepare and get hung up on minor details. My best paintings happen when I don’t think too hard, and just let the work flow as it wants to.

Q: Describe your art in 5 words.

A: Beautiful, contemporary, meaningful, layers, evolving

Q: Your favorite artist? 

A: My favorite artist is New York’s Jean Michael Basquiat!  I just love the way you can literally see the way his mind works through his paint on the canvas.

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justin_fave-copyValerie Carpender

Valerie’s art work can be found on her website: Valcarpender.com 

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