Denise Valentino is an artist and jewelry designer who was born and raised on Long Island, New York. Denise has always had an eye for beauty since early childhood she enjoyed painting and drawing, or any other art and craft project that came her way. As a teen and young adult, she immersed herself in Fine Art and then attended college at Pratt Institute, FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) which included an enlightening an impactful semester at the University of Polimoda in Florence, Italy, followed by Old Westbury.

Ultimately, Denise earned a BA in Fine Art and an AS in Jewelry Design.

Denise is heavily influenced by colors, shapes, movements, textures, and nature (especially flora, fauna, and gemstones). Her artistic inspirations range from DaVinci and Michelangelo to Picasso, Dali, and Chihuly. Classicism, Impressionism, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism all played a role in helping Denise find her artistic niche in a range of mediums. Although she has played with numerous styles, the organic elements in her work are uniquely rendered.

A present, Denise is focused on her resin and abstract work as well as new media - digital designs/computer graphics, but she also creates works via, sculpturing, and photography.

Earlier this week, Denise took the time to discuss her artwork, her recent signing with Artblend Gallery, and more via an exclusive interview.

Mediums, styles, and influences

Meagan Meehan (MM): You have been making art since you were very young, so were you exposed to the arts a lot when you were growing up?

Denise Valentino (DV): Since I can remember my mother was always decorating and redecorating: painting the walls, wallpapers, curtains, pillows and all kinds of accents around the house. She truly had a gift for design and colors. She even painted an abstract mural in one night on the kitchen wall. I’m certain this was a big influence in my leaning towards the art and design fields. I’ve always had a love for creating things from drawing and painting, to coloring books and shrinky dinks, anything that made something come alive to me.

I was so blessed to have had amazing and inspiring art teachers in Junior High School and High School, that led me to pursue higher education in the arts. Once I found the love of art inside of me, it just kept growing and branching out in so many ways in my life. I still look at everything from the canvas and walls to jewelry and furniture and think, what ways I could translate them into something new.

MM: You have played around with a lot of mediums and styles, so which do you enjoy most and why?

DV: To be honest I don’t have a favorite, but my works in resin have me so excited and inspired. The resin has a quality that I’ve wanted to work with for many years, but so many of the older products were so toxic.

Once I found new, non - toxic materials I just can’t stop working with them. The way the resin moves, flows, blends and shines is so amazing to me. There’s something to be said about having to let go and have faith in what you’re making, and with the resin, once you’re finished the rest is in God’s hands. The resin has certain limitations, but by taking the time to plan and prepare makes more things possible, and I keep working on new techniques. No matter what creative medium lands in my hands I seem to want to make something with it, I see how it can become transformed.

MM: What influenced you to create the art that you’ve been making most recently?

DV: There are just so many things that have influenced my artwork and the direction it’s taking now. After High School, I studied for a short period at Pratt University, followed by four years at FIT, a semester abroad in Florence Italy and finishing my BA in Fine Arts at Old Westbury. All of which contributed to a varied and wonderful educational foundation. While studying in Europe, I found the artwork, culture, and architecture absolutely inspiring and know they’ve have had a tremendous impact on my artwork and my life. I’ve studied a variety of fine art techniques through the years, jewelry design, faux finishing, murals, cosmetology, and even tattoo artistry.

While at FIT I took elective classes in textiles, photography, interior design and computer graphics to name a few. Even though I’ve been studying all kinds of art and design since High School, I always find myself still wanting to learn anything I can and develop new skills and methods for my work. I’ve also been so blessed to be able to travel a bit in my life, experiencing exciting cultures and their translations of art and design. I think that everything and every place we see has had an impact on all of our lives and the way we express it creatively.

Jewelry, reactions, and Artblend Gallery

MM: You are very invested in jewelry design, so how does that compare and contrast to your fine art creations?

DV: Well I’ve always loved jewelry and its design, from making it to wearing it. Gemstones, metals, and shapes have all filtered into many of my works, sometimes in obvious ways and other times very subtle ones. The rendering techniques and even the mechanical skills I’ve learned are just some of the ingredients that I include in my work. Using quaches and other media as well as carving waxes and sawing a piercing all had an impact at some level to where my art is today.

I feel my current artwork is influencing the jewelry I’m now making; there’s a sort of flow between them.

MM: What kinds of reactions have you gotten from viewers of your artwork and, out of all your exhibitions, have any been especially memorable?

DV: Well, I have to say I’ve been quite blessed with positive feedback from people. I’ve worked with a variety of styles, mediums and subject matters, and the people who liked that style or subject were quite generous in their opinions. As for exhibitions, I feel that ArtExpo has been the most memorable experience for me (especially since over twenty years ago when I first attended as a visitor had wished someday to exhibit in the show).

It gave me the opportunity to meet the most amazing people from artists and gallery owners to collectors and dealers as well. The friends I made, the amazing artwork and the inspiration I feel while at the show spills over into the year(s) to follow.

MM: You just signed with Artblend Gallery, so how do you anticipate their representation propelling your career?

DV: As you said I just signed on with them, but I have to say, so far, my experience with them is wonderful and look forward to what we can do together.

MM: What exhibitions are coming up next for you, are you experimenting with any other mediums, and what are your major goals for the future?

DV: I’ll be exhibiting with Artblend in the Bridgehampton Market Art + Design show in July and have a few other things cooking as well. I am always experimenting with other mediums or techniques and enjoy finding new ways to include them in my work. As far as for the future, my goals would be to continue to express my creativity in ways that move me as well as others.

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