Jess Velarde

Jess Velarde, is a Los Angeles-based fine artist and oil painter. From her transformative studio space to the inspiration behind her Brave series, delve into her creative world.

Jess Velarde

Edition Four Feature
We Interview: Jess Velarde
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA 
Photo Credits: ©Stacia Hiramine @staciahiroko 

What is it that you do and how do you do it? 

I’m a fine artist, an oil painter, and I primarily make large-scale figurative paintings of women seen through a veil of florals and foliage – like a double exposure – as well as impressionistic studies of flowers and portraits. I launched my online shop in the spring of 2021, and I’ve been painting full-time since then. 

I knew I wanted to paint and be an artist from the time I was about six years old. But I also really wanted to be good at it. I cared so much about painting but was so afraid of failing at it that I took on other creative roles for many years, circling around painting: I worked as a photographer, I worked as a designer, I did commercial interiors. It wasn’t until 2017, when I decided to go back to university and get my master’s in fine art (MFA), in painting, that I really committed to it. I finally decided that I’d much rather fail at doing something I loved than succeed at doing something that didn’t make me come alive in the same way. 

I worked as a consultant part-time throughout graduate school and slowly began to sell paintings, very informally, mainly through Instagram. After graduating with my MFA, in 2021, I began focusing on building that up to make a business. I started with my shop in the spring, selling a lot of work that I’d done over the past few years, and I’m now renting a dedicated studio space. 

Was there a single moment you remember when you decided you just had to do it?