My name is Victoria Monell. I have been painting for as long as I can remember. When I was three, I was first given paint in my highchair. Ever since then, art has been a huge part of my life. I come from a very special and artistic mother. She graduated in ceramics but throughout college studied art and made paintings, along with minoring in child education. On my second birthday, my mother coated the walls of her daycare and let us children paint all over the walls with our hands. I was the last child to leave the painting wall. I find myself to be most determined, focused, and in tune with myself during the creation process, even from that young age. 

   When I was in middle school, my mother became my art teacher and guided my creative process as a young student. Around the 8th grade, I won my first art contest called “Best of the Best”. My work was featured and sold at a gallery a couple towns away. Entering high school was when I began to notice the recognition I was getting from my art. In my high school art class, my work was so respected by my teacher that I ended up not having to take part in the normal everyday curriculum of the class. My teacher let me sit anywhere in the room and work on whatever I wanted to paint. I did, however, take part in some classes to immerse myself in different types of art and sociability. Most of high school art class, I sat in the corner with my headphones in and painted what I felt called towards. During my junior year, the first self portrait that I ever created was stolen from the art room. I knew I must be creating something good if someone wants my painting that bad. My senior year, I was asked to paint a small mural in the cafeteria, and before I graduated I was voted “Best Artist of My Class”. 

    After high school, I went to a local university in Oregon thinking I was going to major in the health field. Still, I took art classes and yoga classes as my electives. Although I was very artistic, I did not think there was any type of financial future for me in the fine arts. As time went on, I found myself less and less interested in the health field and instead wanting to major in some type of art. Architecture was my way of art in a structured and professional way. Through my drafting class, I met my professor that recommended an Art Institute for me. I later applied to the Art Institute of Portland, submitting the art that I had worked on the past few years in my free time, credentials from high school, as well as my work at the university. Once I was accepted, I decided to attend the Art Institute of Portland for Interior Design. It was architecture with a little more artistic freedom, and more design. I studied that for the next two years. With just about a year left I dropped out of school. I was working full time--my workload became too much and living on my own became hard. Just like anybody, I had a hard couple of years of trying to figure out my next steps, I did not do much art, became a bartender, and ended up not making the best decisions for my life. I got depressed and knew I had to change my life.

      At the age of 27 I decided I would become my own type of artist. As Pablo Picasso once said, “everything you can imagine is real”. Along with working, I began to start making time for art again. I opened an Instagram account and began to cultivate a dedicated following of people who were impressed and inspired by what I was starting to do. This really became the turning point for me where I knew no matter what this was, it was something I wanted to do and I would figure out how to be successful at it. At 28 I quit my job, packed my life and moved to New York from Oregon. I was scared, but as Henry Matisse said, “creativity takes courage”.

    I had the intention and motivation that I was going to be a full time, super successful artist. Well that didn't happen then. I did have to get another job when I moved, but I lived with family so I was able to focus on art while I worked part-time. Into four months of moving, I developed a collection of art and had my first art fair in Piermont, New York. Everyone in my family attended and I got immense support from friends. At the fair, I did not end up selling anything, but I was able to gain exposure, start an email list, and connect with customers that couldn't afford originals but still wanted prints. At the time, I realized that even if I'm not selling much, I was in the right place. Nothing felt better than getting this type of love from something I was creating. This was MY thing. As time went on, I started working more on my technique and ability to paint and draw different things than I was used to. I wanted to perfect my craft to be the best I could be. My next art fair was at a jewelry store in New City, NY where I was the only artist featured. I sold 3 originals that day. I went on to do commission work and two full wall murals of my art. It was all building…

   As time went on, I got more into my social media more than anything. I enjoyed interacting with others interested in my work. The support received from my followers served both as instant gratification and motivation for devoting more time to my art. I started recording live streams of me painting, as well as time-lapses. For myself as well, I use social media to find inspiration for my art and artistic techniques. I always tried to stay current and focus on what were the best products out at the time. I fell across this Artist that painted denim jackets. I looked into him and noticed he hadn't been around for too long but was cultivating a huge following and audience for his art and what he was offering. Following him, I saw my first fine art painted denim jacket. I've seen art on clothes in a very streetwear and graffiti type of way, which I love. This was something else, I really had never seen before. An art piece, like a really original painting on a jacket that you could wear out! I became more interested in this more than the other art I was currently working on. I looked into products, paint and other materials. I would need to try this out. This type of art with fashion really clicked with me, it was such an amazing new age of having art and buying art. Art is made to be seen, yet it sits on peoples walls in their house only to be appreciated mostly by them and the few that they know. This is a way that your art can be seen by the world. A way that art can express individuality. Just like fashion, but elevated fashion. I then started painting on clothing and started a fashion page. My first commission was painting socks, then jackets, to now building my own website and clothing brand. Recently in 2021, the year after my brand starting, I have become a full time artist. Selling my paintings, prints, designs, and now clothing. I have always loved painting on canvas. It's the "old school" way of art as some people say, but to me it feels like the most real way. Clothing feels similar to canvas painting--it's really tactical and alive. I've also been learning digital art and experimenting as it becomes the new age way of art. My dream is to embody all types of art and culture in my clothing, and my art itself. 

    This may sound like the end of this story but it is truly the beginning of mine! I hope to spread my art, artistic awareness and culture all over the world! Support this art, make a place for artists to live their dreams. Connect with my art, add some life to a room. Be a part of this story, and this art movement!
      Thanks for supporting me! 

~Victoria Monell