I have always enjoyed playing with knives and scissors, and grew up watching my mom hand cut silk-screens and my dad carve intricate images in wood. Seeing the possibilities, I began combining my background in drawing and my love of bold saturated colors with the medium of cut-paper.
Starting with a single sheet of black paper, I carve away the background using an Xacto knife, and my images are revealed in an intricate lacework of lines. Using the black as my foreground, I fill the negative space by piecing together layers of paper in vibrant colors and textures. As a finishing touch, I add the last details and shading with watercolor.
Born and raised in Seldovia, Alaska, I studied psychology and art at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Along the way I have found inspiration in my surroundings. From the mountains of Colorado to the minarets of Turkey, the deserts of Africa to the limestone cliffs of Laos, I am forever moved by the beauty and grace the world has to offer.
Returning to live in Seldovia has proved both nostalgic and eye-opening, sparking new ideas, and giving my art wings. I was able to convert my dad's old wood shop, situated on pilings on a secluded beach, into my first private, dedicated work space. Having space to be messy, and to store work safely, allowed me to work on bigger, more challenging ideas. Recent projects include illustrating a children's book for Sasquatch Publishing, written by Seldovia author Erin McKittrick titled “My Coyote Nose and Ptarmigan Toes.” My artwork is also being featured in a series of informative signs for the city of Seldovia.
One of my biggest challenges as an artist is making my work accessible for a larger number of people. When I moved back to Alaska, I realized that a lot of the people who enjoyed my art could not afford original work, so I began making small runs of prints. They were immediately popular, and I realized they filled a big need for local art. Reaching out to a larger community via Facebook, I realized I needed some way for people outside of my small town to order prints as well. I have always been a fan of Etsy, and decided I would set up shop here.
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A lifelong artist, Valisa is inspired by a deep connection to both her natural surroundings and her community. She creates her artwork in a beautiful studio on Seldovia, Alaska, and enjoys a little adventure from time to time.
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- Accepts Etsy gift cards
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I also love collaborations and trades, so feel free to ask.