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VANESSA AVES

(Image 1)

My journey with art wasn’t fully realized until my first drawing class at a community college. I

had dropped out of high school and did not have the experience peers my age had received. I

worked mostly in charcoal and graphite and colored pencil was a safe haven for me when

working with color. When I finally took the plunge into painting, I was a timid with the

application yet ambitious in my subject matter. (Image 2) My first attempt in Painting 101 was

this snowy scene of the Kremlin. Afraid of the acrylic, I thinned it down to watercolor consistency as

much I could in fear of messing something up. This fear would soon fade.

My love of art went hand in hand with my love of teaching and I soon began giving private art lessons to

teenagers in my local area. I knew I wanted to get my BFA in art after spending a lot of time at this

community college taking different classes, trying to choose the best direction to go in. While at

university, my love of teaching grew and immediately after graduation I landed a job teaching painting to

groups at a place that offered three hour painting sessions.

I pursued my Master of Fine Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and graduated in 2013.

While at school, I wrote an autobiography titled Pendulum, about what it is like to have bipolar and used

the fine art training I received to illustrate the entire book. (Image 3) The essence of Pendulum is an

artistic voyage through my often tumultuous life. This compendium offers alluringly macabre art as the

backbone of my mental torments and their continuous evolutions. Ranging from adolescence to early

adulthood, the story journeys through irrational thoughts of self-inflicted pain and explores the different

various abnormalities of the rampant stages of bi-polar. It brilliantly blends and represents my fears,

excruciating life trials, and personal conquests only an exceptionally resilient person would be able to

withstand. The evolution toward psychological triumphs also offers bouts of delightfully graceful and

dazzling imagery; symbolizing the sheer beauty, delicacy, and exquisite foresights into the mind and its

inner-workings. The entire book, cover to cover, is a work of art in itself with the text integrated into the

art works themselves. I believed art can contain text and that a book itself can be a work of art in itself.

The mechanics of this undertaking were monumental and not one I was entirely prepared for.

After the completion of Pendulum and graduation with my MFA, I moved back to Colorado and started

down a different path of expressing myself through abstraction and color. It was a reprieve from the

serious subject matter of Pendulum and therapeutic in its own right. I started playing with ink and

watercolor on plastic polyurethane paper because I enjoy the unpredictable nature it possesses.

(Image 4)

With my wide varying style that is constantly changing it is hard to know where my artistic

vision will take me in the future. It is a constantly evolving process that keeps even me on my

toes and even oil paint has begun to creep its way back in.