Sarita Valdes is a Seattle-based abstract pop artist that has found her passion in paint. Before you see her intriguing work lined along the runway of Style Capitol, read more about this inspiring woman and the artwork her hand creates.
THE BIG TICKET QUESTION: WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Wow, that’s a hard one to answer because I think what inspires us at a conscious level is only a small part of what is actually coming through in our work. Sometimes I’m inspired by one thing, like a color combination, only to realize when a painting is completed that my inspiration actually came from some other place, a place I might not have even been aware of until much later. For instance, I started a painting this last summer that was an abstract of a butterfly. It was originally going to be very neutral and dark; blacks, greens, a little shimmer, that’s it. But when I taped it all off to create the hard lines, I fell in love with the tape lines. So I re-taped around the original tape lines and painted in the tape colors, which were lots of hot pink, lime green and electric blue. And it came out so much more interesting that how I had originally envisioned it. I think being open to the process, being willing to step back and reevaluate your original intent and modify your perception, is one of the most valuable things to me as an artist. It’s tempting to think that, because I holds the paintbrush, I control the painting when in fact it tells me so much when I open my eyes and pay attention at every turn.
HOW DO YOU HOPE THE VIEWER WILL RESPOND TO YOUR WORK?
I try not to set up too many expectations around people’s responses, but the only thing I really hope for is that they will want to keep looking. What better compliment could a painter ask for than to have our fans love our work enough to look and keep looking, seeing something new the longer they look? One of the reasons I’m so in love with abstract is that everyone sees something different in it. I was showing my work to someone for the first time the other day and he kept seeing faces everywhere in it. Every corner had some type of anthropomorphic shape. I love that. I almost never paint faces but I love that people see them in my work. Abstract paintings are like Rorschach tests for every viewer. The things people tell me they see in my paintings–it’s a trip. You see a great deal of me and my subconscious in my paintings. But your response tells me so much about you too.
DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST COLOR OF PAINT YOU PICKED UP FROM THE STORE?
Ha, that’s a good one. I totally remember. It was this gorgeous blue, maybe cerulean or maybe thalo, can’t quite remember the name, but I remember that shade.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE IT?
I was thinking how amazing it was going to be to work on something in which distinct shades of color were going to be of utmost importance. My whole life I’d been having a secret love affair with color. Everywhere, all the time, I noticed shades and combinations that were just brilliant, but aside from dressing myself, I never really did anything with it. When I started realizing that painting was going to give me the opportunity to work with color in a real, tangible way, that I was literally going to have thousands of combinations and schemes at my disposal, I was ecstatic. The only real art I had ever tried to do was on the computer, and I literally hate computers. The fact that paint is physical, an element you can touch, smell, change it’s texture and vibrance– all with “real” mediums– just suited me. I needed this. I’ve always needed this. I could hardly believe it took me 30 years to find it.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHEN YOU PAINT?
Haha, it’s a constant battle for me to try to *not* think when I’m painting, to just let it happen. My tendency is to over-analyze my work until I make myself neurotic with the possibilities. If I can come up with an initial color scheme, and then let the work evolve from there, that usually has a much better outcome.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE PIECE.
My favorite is probably Butterfly Effect, for many reasons. I have had a few breakthroughs in my painting career, but that was one that really stood out. I felt like that painting taught me so much about the mindset needed to be a good artist. I needed to be able to come up with great ideas, compositions, etc–and I needed to be willing to let them go. I needed to be constantly thinking about how to make a particular piece better–and when to stop trying and let it just happen. And that one is just pretty, I ain’t gonna lie
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS AS AN ARTIST?
To be at least twice as famous as Frida Kahlo and Jean-Michel Basquiat put together.You think I’m joking.Ok, maybe I am. But only a little (oh, and she’s funny too…)
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE TO OTHERS WHO ARE PURSUING A CREATIVE OUTLET, SUCH AS PAINTING?
Yeah, do something you hate until you can’t do it another day. Then explode from it with all the pent-up creative energy you have. You’ll find what you’re meant to do. And you will be a force to be reckoned with.
Sarita Valdes is a force to be reckoned with. Her graceful passion and eloquent artistic statements move a person to stop and think. Sarita (let me use her term) explodes with color and creative composition–the walls of her home lining with attention-grabbing artwork and kitchen space covered with a rainbow of paint screaming for their chance on canvas and brushes waiting to dance along a journey of purpose. Her audience can’t wait to see what she comes up with next…