Elisa Valenti is a body-positive and contemporary figurative artist whose work evokes a personal interpretation of beauty, strength and vulnerability.
Growing up in a time when eating in public was shameful, stomach rolls made you unworthy and shopping for clothes was traumatic, her work reflects the images she wished she had seen growing up—beautiful, luscious women doing ordinary things.
It wasn’t until Valenti starting painting bodies that looked like hers that she began to take control of her confidence and establish a sense of worthiness. Her figures on canvas play with varying flesh tones and signature cubism figures inspired by the Fauve style of art, evoking a sense that these women could be any woman.
Based in Queens, New York, Valenti is a self-taught painter who studied fine arts and art history at the High School of Art and Design. She also holds a Doctorate of Pharmacy from St. John’s University.
To date, Valenti’s work has been on display at Superfine! Fair and The Other Art Fair, as well as group exhibitions at Pop-Up Home (LA), PxP Contemporary, Showfields and On Center Gallery. Most recently, Valenti debuted a solo exhibition at Established Gallery titled, “Radical Worthiness.”
1. Who and what is foremost in your heart? (Who and what in your personal life is most important to you?)
Family is certainly the center of my world. As the daughter of immigrant parents, I saw first-hand how hard they worked to make a life here and so much of that fight has gotten me to where I am now and has greatly impacted my journey to becoming an artist.
2. How would you describe your work? How does the work you do impact consumers/environment/world?
For me, painting was a form of healing – healing from not seeing people like me growing up, healing from feeling not feeling good enough.
My work highlights beautiful luscious women doing ordinary things and I hope that through my paintings, people can see strength and confidence in themselves.
3. What are you most proud of?
One of the biggest decisions I’ve had to make was leaving my job as a pharmacist. It was the safe decision going into school, but it was one that didn’t make me happy in the end.
While difficult, it was one of my proudest moments because I finally found the strength to do something that made me happy. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t challenging or I didn’t question myself along the way!
4. Which is one cause / organization you want us to know about? What would you like to see happen?
Childhood Hunger, this is a growing issue across our country which has only been amplified amidst the pandemic. It’s so important for everyone who can give, to give to help those less fortunate – throughout the month of December, and leading up to the holiday season a portion of proceeds from select pieces from my collection will benefit Food Bank for NYC.
5. What are you most passionate about sharing with others at this time?
The past nine months (who can even count) have been extremely trying. The stress of the world around makes it so hard to accept and love yourself. I hope that my work is able to help people find acceptance in themselves, their flaws and their mistakes.
Getting To Know You, the Goddess
Name – Elisa Rosa Valenti
Nickname – Ellie but only my family calls me this.
Hometown – Queens
Current Location – New York
Vocation – Figurative Artist
It’s 3:30pm, what are you drinking? Iced Green Tea
Favorite place you’ve visited? Besides the motherland of Sicily, Crete.
Currently Reading – The Evolution of Beauty. How Darwin’s Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World and Us by Richard O. Prum
Currently listening To – Masterclass on Interior Design Inspiration
Favorite Sustainable Fashion Brand – Zelma Rose
Who was / is your favorite pet? Was: My beloved English Bulldog Lola. Is: My rescue pup, Luigi.
Next destination on your list? Paris
What is one of your superpowers? Making people feel good
What was your first job? Or what was your most random job? I was 14 and I delivered flyers for a local crystal shop.
Who introduced you to your industry? I have wanted to be a creative since junior high school, but it wasn’t until 2015 when I was introduced to the work of Polly Jones that I considered making the leap.
Best advice you’ve been given? Embrace failure, perfectionism doesn’t exist.
Best advice you give? Be confident and humble
Current pleasure? Redecorating my living room—I painted it green
What is something or someone you’re coveting at the moment? More time in a day.
What is one sustainability practice you incorporate in your work/life? I stopped eating meat six years ago.
What is one part of your process that surprised you when you started? It surprised me how strongly people resonated with my work.
Who is a thought leader you admire? Doris Kearns Goodwin
What / who represents Beauty to you? Beauty for me is the radiant glow that emanates from within that comes from a strong sense of confidence and humility.
What does Beauty mean to you? Elegance, balance and symmetry are all aesthetically pleasing for me.
What is one Self Care practice you enjoy? Exfoliating my skin with glycolic acid. I love the sting of regenerating new skin cells.
What is one change you hope to see in the world that you make an effort to embody? I’d like people to feel good enough in a world that sometimes makes us feel less than.
You’ve been given a magic wand, what is your first spell? I would eliminate homelessness and hunger.
Your Beauty is Unique.
Your Skin Care
Should Be Too.
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