Beautiful, Mysterious: Amanda Valdes talks about her alluring mural artwork
"I got my hands in paint around age 2 and haven’t really stopped since."
The beauty. The mystery. Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. These are all embedded themes in the floral ladies of Amanda Valdes. It's no wonder she's commissioned around the world to spread her beautiful work. We talked with the talented artist about painting at sunrise, snuggling grizzlies and her upcoming Denver show.
Name: Amanda Valdes
Hometown: Miami, FL / Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Coffee or Tea: Pretty smitten with both!
Sushi or Burrito: Hard call, but I have sushi more often these days.
Last book you read: Ready Player One (one of my favorites!) and The Kybalion. I just started The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue as well.
Advice to live by: Pay close attention to your intuition and gut instincts
Every artist should have: Gratitude & perseverance
Favorite time of day to draw?
I love sketching & painting before the sun comes up. There’s something magical about those early hours when most of the world is quiet and still sleeping.
Strangest thing you have in your fridge right now:
It’s been a minute since I’ve been home but probably an obscene amount of Celsius energy drinks (forgot to pause my Amazon Prime auto-ship).
Haribo :) but I’m down to snug a grizzly or black bear (probably why my friend Nate Dee thinks I’ll die by animal attack - trying to snug something that shouldn’t be snugged)
How long have you been painting for, and what got you into art in the beginning?
I got my hands in paint around age 2 and haven’t really stopped since. I was drawn to the arts from the get-go but attribute my grandmother and elementary art teacher for fostering my natural curiosity and introducing me to public art.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten as an artist (or human)?
Get comfortable being uncomfortable in the sense of challenging yourself and personal growth. It’s vital as an artist to consistently and almost constantly push past our creative comfort zones.
What’s the next project you’re looking forward to?
I’m thrilled to be heading to Denver this summer for an art show (and murals) along with some incredibly talented Miami artists. I’m also looking forward to painting a 4 to 5 story tall building in West Palm soon and heading back to Australia for a few projects once restrictions are lifted.
The female sirens of your art are really distinct - how did you develop that illustrative style?
Thank you! I started drawing paper dolls with my great grandmother when I was pretty young and ultimately count those as my first sirens. My artistic style evolved and matured as I grew up and started to reflect various influences. I recall seeing Tim Burton’s ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ for the first time (I was about 5) and being fascinated by his characters, composition and color palettes. I think his work and movies were huge source of inspiration and key in showing me there was an audience that appreciated something different from the more common, cookie cutter aesthetics and stories.
A lot of your art is HUGE; do you prefer doing large murals/paintings over small ones?
It’s nice to have the balance of both honestly. I adore painting large murals—each wall has its own unique challenges which keeps things exciting and there’s nothing like the rush of seeing your work come together on a larger scale. Of course, it’s also really nice to lock yourself away in studio and get lost painting with less distractions in a more controlled environment.
How long does it typically take you to finish a mural, from conception to last drop of paint?
It varies based on a few factors but most of them probably take about 2 weeks to a month from conception to finished project.
You use acrylic paint, spray-paint, colored pencils, ink, watercolor, etc.?
I’ve been leaning towards spray paint lately although acrylic was my first love. I find both to be pretty versatile mediums, but I love how quickly things come together with aerosol.
What’s the most challenging project you’ve done so far?
I think the first mural I ever painted was probably the most challenging in the sense that everything was so foreign. It was a 20 by 60 foot wall and I had zero experience painting anything that size. That’s also what made it so exciting and was a pivotal opportunity that ultimately put me on the path I’m on today.
Do you have a favorite place your art has ended up?
It’s hard to pick a favorite but it would be between Australia, South Korea and New Zealand.
Any upcoming events or shows?
Juicy: July 2021 Denver, CO