Interview with Mishel Valenton: “What I’m doing right now is my dream job.”

Mishel Valenton in her studio

I am very excited to present my first interview for Little Dipper! Mishel Valenton is an artist and Etsy shop owner of Aeropagita Prints. Living in Brooklyn, NY, 29-year-old Valenton sells colorful prints meant to brighten any room.

When did you first get interested in design?  I would say only this year. I was mostly painting before I started Aeropagita Prints, so I still tend to approach my work in a very loose, painterly manner. However, I do have works that are more “designed” such as the prints of quotes by Carl Jung and Anais Nin. I loved those quotes so much I felt I had to do work around them.

What’s your first memory of making art?  I still remember the self portrait we had to do in kindergarten. I drew my head with a ponytail on one side. It was cute!

Where did you go to school and how do you think that shaped you as an artist?  I went to the University of the Philippines and majored in Sculpture. The friends and the communal aspect of that experience is priceless; however, I never really felt completely resolved with the structure of school for the reason that the focus is more often than not very group-oriented. I think that there is an innate wisdom in an individual’s moment to moment desire that sometimes goes unanswered when you’re in a group setting. One minute may be good for creating and the next might not be. I think that experience really taught me what kind of situation I wanted to be in in order to make things and that is usually by myself and far away from the discussion of art itself. A vacuum is the best place for me to make art.

Do you have a favorite color? If yes, what is it and why is it your favorite?  To wear, black. To create art with, currently bright and pastel colors. I also really like in between colors like a grayish green, gray purple etc.

Why did you decide to open an Etsy shop?  I love the immediacy of just making art, setting up shop, and having my work seen by thousands of people online from all over the world. The internet is a great place for us introverts. Also, being a full-time artist has been my dream for the longest time so being able to support myself through my work is great.

The internet is a great place for us introverts.

What have you found makes your shop successful?  Aeropagita Prints will always be a work in progress and I hope to continually make better prints and offerings. I also try really hard to make work that is bright, uplifting, and has a kind of joy and wonder in it. I hope that comes through to other people. For several years prior, I had been painting things with a darker nature, and I noticed that it tends to take a toll on your spirit when you create things with that quality. So, I put a high premium on work that has positive energy. I hope the shop’s success has something to do with that.

I try really hard to make work that is bright, uplifting, and has a kind of joy and wonder in it… I put a high premium on work that has positive energy.

If I can ask, where does your shop name come from? Aeropagita isn’t something you hear everyday.  Areopagita is the name of my grandmother. I don’t know why but I had recalled it as “Aeropagita” and I had used the name on a previous blog and on this shop. A few months ago, my dad reminded me it was actually spelled “Areo” instead of “Aero” (lol). I just loved that name because it was so unique and when I was looking for a name for any new project, “Aeropagita” always comes to mind. It sort of represents something that is new, unknown, and slightly feminine on one hand.

How do you feel when you imagine one of your pieces hanging in someone else’s home?  Gratitude. It’s like being welcomed into someone’s home as a guest.

What is your dream job?  What I’m doing right now is my dream job. I can die tomorrow (knock on wood). I’ve always wanted to do computer art since my college days but there was such a stigma attached to it. I think there is more openness now that we are seeing what technology can do for art. I would love to explore that relationship further in the future.

What I’m doing right now is my dream job. I can die tomorrow (knock on wood).

Who is your favorite designer or artist?  Dana Schutz, Kaye Donachie, Katherine Bernhardt, Ryan Trecartin and lots more. I like artworks that are emotional, expressive, and have a lot of physicality in them. I also really like artists/designers such as John Maeda.

What blogs or websites (they can be related to design or not) do you follow?  Oprah, Fashiontoast, Bryan Boy, Artlog, and Huffington Post for news. I think I follow a lot more fashion blogs than art or design blogs.

What inspires you?  Everything but most especially great ideas, ideas about spirituality, moving speeches and lots of Oprah. Most of the inspiration from my works come first from a feeling and then its me trying to translate that feeling into something visual.

Why is art important?  I think the call to be an artist or a designer comes from within. It’s not something you can just fabricate. You do it because you know there is nothing else in this world you would rather do or can be better at doing. When you are given the freedom and ability to do what you love, only more love and joy can come of it, which is exactly what the world needs. The only thing we owe the world is our happiness.

I think the call to be an artist or a designer comes from within…You do it because you know there is nothing else in this world you would rather do or can be better at doing…The only thing we owe the world is our happiness.

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2 thoughts on “Interview with Mishel Valenton: “What I’m doing right now is my dream job.”

  1. i love the last response about the call from within. i started out in medicine and just felt like something was off…switched to architecture + design and couldn’t be happier. i’ve never looked back. so glad i stopped to read this interview.

  2. This is a wonderful interview! Mishel’s love for her work really shows in her art. What she says is so reaffirming. I want her prints for my room!

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