Artist Jude Valentine started out as a painter and transformed her work into wearable art. She shares her story and how she sells.
ABI: What inspires your art?
JV: Inspiration for my work comes primarily from being present in nature. My focus is to engage with the ‘sense of place’ of a landscape and transfer that energy to a painting on paper, or silk.
I was drawn back to representational painting by the landscape vistas of where I currently live—the easternmost coast of Maine. The views can be ‘stunning’ and literally ‘hit’ you or ‘absorb’ you. For me, looking into or out upon these landscapes is like being a witness to nature’s ancient beauty.
The expansive energy from the view flows into my core and I image that my energy of appreciation flows back. These places can be ‘breathtaking,’ and ‘stunning.’ They can literally ‘hit’ you or ‘absorb’ you, impressing the viewer to pause and reflect. My intent is to facilitate this energetic flow, allowing the viewer to find an opening to inner peace. I am hopeful that the recognition of a ‘sense of place’ portrayed in this work offers the viewer a discovery of a ‘sense of place’ within themselves.
ABI: How did your body of work evolve?
JV: My passion for representational painting resumed after a break of about 15 years where I explored abstraction and working with non-traditional media. I started working directly from the landscape with pastel on paper. I loved the direct application of color and the ability to layer the light by mixing the pigment directly on the textured surface.
I then started thinking about the landscapes as inspiration for fabric to make my work more accessible. Experimenting with printmaking, dyes and painting on silk, I enjoyed the soft tactile quality of the fabric and the brilliance of color. The landscape paintings led directly to the imagery on fabric and Scarfscapes® was born.
ABI: How do you sell your scarves wholesale?
JV: I started out locally, taking my work to one of the higher end shops in our area. On my very first appointment ever, while showing the gallery owner the scarves, a customer purchased one right out of the case. We all thought that was an encouraging sign!
Now, at the beginning of the year, I take to the road and do a lot of knocking on doors. I research possible outlets and set up a schedule to visit retailers. I take my sample case anytime I’m going out of town and have had success with cold calls. Something I’ve learned is to only sell to one outlet in a given area. Retailers appreciate that you are offering them something that is not available at their local competitors. I have had success through museum stores as well. I am mostly New England based and have participated in regional wholesale trade shows.
ABI: Tell us about your future plans.
JV: With the scarves, I am pursuing more customized work as well as looking to expand my markets to specific niches. And to keep painting!