Ten Young Artists to Watch
Carclew has partnered with hub to introduce you to ten bright young artists here in SA. Our third featured artist is Valentina, aged 14 years from Regional SA.
Meet Valentina, a 14 year-old artist from regional SA.
Valentina lives near the coast in regional South Australia. She expresses herself in a variety of art forms including visual arts, musical theatre, photography, dance, writing and iMovies.
She has participated in both regional and city based art activities and has won numerous visual art prizes and Theatre Eisteddfods. She’s also appeared in an SA produced, award-winning TV series.
All of Valentina’s art experiences have developed a passion to inspire other young people in regional areas to pursue opportunities in the arts. Her dream is to connect young people in the regions with creative art opportunities and experiences so that they have access and support to create, express and exhibit their own art.
Watch Valentina’s profile video and then read on to find out more about her passion for the arts and her inspirations and aspirations.
How would you describe your creative practice – ie what do you do or make?
I create visual pieces of art. I experiment with different kinds of mediums for example lino prints, wood-burning, watercolours, clay, acrylic, paint pours, resin, sculpture and many more. I make recycled artworks and jewellery pieces that incorporate found objects, such as rubbish and driftwood that I collect on my beach walks. I also love acting, dancing and playing the piano. I am a keen photographer and videographer and I like to make iMovies. Here’s a link to a movie I made earlier this year about how I was managing my social isolation during the Covid-19 lockdown.
What was your first experience of the arts?
The Arts have always been a passion of mine, especially since I was bought up as an only child at home and art was a way for me to entertain myself. My parents set up an art table at the age of two. Then the mess spread to a corner of the kitchen by the age of five. Then it spread to the backyard, and at the age of 12 it became my own private space in the shed, which I call ‘My Art Studio’. My very first art prize was at the Victor Harbor Rotary Art Show when I was five. I won $100 worth of art supplies, which inspired me to continue to create artwork.
How have you been involved with Carclew?
In 2019, I was one of ten lucky young people selected to be a part of the first-ever Carclew Futures project undertaken in partnership with the Commissioner for Children and Young People. It was an amazing experience that I would do again in a heartbeat. Carclew Futures taught me about different art forms, diversity, the background process of putting a production together, funding and the business side of art. We visited different art galleries and productions and met with inspiring and aspiring artists. Carclew Futures opened up so many doors for me to expand my art career and also gave me the opportunity to make friends with people from diverse backgrounds, and the confidence to try new pathways. For example, last year I was selected, along with another 20 young people from around regional SA, to be on the Youth Panel run by the Department of Human Services to develop the SA Youth Action Plan. I was the youngest there, and I learnt so much by being amongst older creative people from around the state.
Do you have creative career ambitions? If so, tell us about those.
A career ambition of mine is to become a Junior School Art Teacher so that I can share the advantages and opportunities that I’ve received by teaching young children the joy and love of creating and sharing their art.
Many children may not have been exposed to the arts, whether because of difficult family situations, or distance from and access to services, or lack of opportunities, funding and resources. So I would love to inspire them to make art and to share their art with the world.
I would also love to do more acting. After school I attend musical theatre and dance classes, and I really enjoy participating in our school musicals and on stage in acting eisteddfods and showcase dance concerts.
How did you become involved with your creative practice?
My parents have a deep love and appreciation of the arts and they have taken me to many concerts, art galleries, exhibitions, shows and events. A lot of these are free for young people. For example, the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, the Art Gallery of SA, MOD, Womadelaide and the Garden of Unearthly Delights.
Art has always been my escape from the real world for as long as I can remember. Art and creating take me to a different place where I can do whatever I want and be whoever I want.
Who or what provides inspiration for your creative practice?
I have so many amazing people in my life who have helped me along my journey of being an artist. My art teacher/mentor Tracey Grivell has assisted in helping me understand how art captures emotion and by putting love and care into my art, so that hopefully the viewers will feel all of my energy and messages. For me, when someone thinks about, or enjoys my art, that is the best feeling.
Also, living by the beach has influenced my art a lot. This is mainly because of how beautiful it is and how much I connect with it. The ocean has always been a place for me to cleanse myself and where I feel I am myself the most.
Can you tell us about your most exciting experiences connected to your creative practice?
I have had many exciting experiences connected to my creative practices. One special experience was when I was 10 years old and I sold my first ever canvas painting. It sold for $150 at the Victor Harbor Rotary Art Show. I remember crying my heart out because I really loved that painting and I would never see it again. But I also cried because someone loved it so much that they were willing to pay that much for it.
Another exciting experience was last year being an extra in the TV series called ‘First Day’ made by local SA producer, Kirsty Stark from Epic Films. Below is the link to this award-winning show. I love how it is filmed locally and most of the cast are young people, and I love how the story explores many important issues affecting young people today.
The third very exiting experience was just recently when I entered my art into the Fleurieu Refugee Support Group Art Show, “Welcome – We Are One”. I created an art sculpture that I called ‘The Faceless Children in Detention’, which came first place (out of over 150 art works entered by young people around the region). I am so glad the judges could see the meaning and message in my art sculpture. That is what I think art is for. I am donating a portion of the prize money to the Welcoming Centre for Refugees in Adelaide, as they inspired me to create this sculpture.
What do you see as the challenges and opportunities of being a young artist creative in SA?
Being in a regional area the challenges we face are not being exposed to bigger opportunities, having to drive to the city for everything and the lack of diversity, gender and experiences. This is starting to change and improve where I live because we have more young people making changes, and the councils are creating more opportunities. Another challenge is accessing information. Unless you are on all the Facebook pages and social media websites, then there’s not really any way for young people of knowing what is upcoming in the art community (unless you have a mother like mine, who follows all these links).
What is it about creating your own work that brings you joy?
If I am struggling in school with friends or school work, or my parents, I go straight to my happy place and create some art. Even if no one else sees it, I know it has helped to calm me and change my mood for the better. It brings me so much joy to just create something that makes me happy and others happy.