Valency Genis is a sculpture artist that creates hybrid creatures of fancy. She hails from the Republic of Cascadia.
She entered the world as a 12-pound baby in Portland, Oregon, and was then raised in Seattle, Washington. She was utterly obsessed with television and video games for most of her young life, so it is ironic that a childhood summer spent on Flathead Lake, Montana in an electronics-free cabin when she was 10 years old would change her life forever. Searching for diversions to alleviate her interminable boredom, she happened upon an old taxidermy shop. A dusty pair of mounted unborn beavers caught her eye in the window display, and it forever imprinted on her naïve adolescent mind. The stunning array of animals presented in the rustic store drew her in with their beauty, but she was utterly bereaved by their demise.
While studying for her BFA at the University of New Mexico, Valency discovered that she had the power to create creatures and control their aesthetics, while minimizing the tragedy associated with taxidermied animals. She takes an almost Dr. Frankenstein-like glee in crafting her unique animals, drawing on influences ranging from Dr. Seuss to Jim Henson to Tim Burton.
Name: Valency Genis
Birthday: March 12
College: University of New Mexico, BFA
For how long have been in art? How did you start?
I grew up in a family where you were either in the sciences, politics, or an artist. I dabbled in Physics the first time I went to college, but I ended up going back years later and fell in love with the arts – I knew it was where I really belonged.
How would you define yourself as an artist?
I seek a refuge in my art, and I think people who love my artwork do, too – I’m quite a happy, positive artist, and I think my art reflects that.
Would you tell us some things about yourself? Please include a few little known facts about you as well. I grew up in Seattle – we moved there from Portland after my father died just before my 2nd birthday. I had a tumultuous childhood, and I think my art shows a bit of ‘arrested development,’ in that I am seeking out the happy childhood I never had – but I think many people feel that way.
Where do you find inspiration?
Animals, nature, kids, video games, books – anything that catches my eye can inspire me!
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
I started out sculpting dodo bird heads – I’ve always said that dodo birds are my spirit animal, or my “patronus” – They are such sweet, trusting birds, but were tragic in the end. The idea of having dodo bird taxidermy heads intrigued me, and the ideas flowed from there – the feeling of having a ‘trophy room’ full of my pieces, as if the collector is saying that they flew to an unknown land, killed this animal, and mounted it on their wall – the nature of the idea tickles me.
What art do you most identify with? Pop surrealism
Why do you do … what you do?
Because I am so fortunate to be an artist – I pinch myself every day that I get to spend my days in my art studio, surrounded by pets and family and people actually love and collect my work – it’s the best job in the world!
What does “being creative” mean to you? Being creative is like breathing to me – my mind never shuts off…
Any shows, galleries, or publications where our readers can find your work? Currently I have a show opening at Distinction Gallery – DistinctionArt.com – and in June 2018 I have an opening at Rotofugi Gallery in Chicago.
How do you cultivate a collector base?
Social media is imperative! And good communication all around – networking with galleries, other artists, and collectors is extremely important.
Which is your most cherished piece?
From myself or another artist? Well, I have a small, original painting by Travis Louie that I adore, and I also have a small dodo painting that Mab Graves painted for me as a gift that I absolutely cherish.
If you had an exclusive collective exhibition with other artists work, who would you choose?
Oooh, so many artists, but I’m not sure I’m worthy yet ?
What do you see as the strengths of your pieces, visually or conceptually?
My endless ability to sculpt new creatures helps a lot – you could be the most talented artist in the world, but if you can’t come up with original ideas, you’ll never be successful.
What famous artists have influenced you, and how?
Whenever I had to write papers on an artist, I always worked Travis Louie into it. I feel like his mind is similar to mine – a world full of monsters and creatures pouring out, each with a name and a story that is woven into it upon creation. I also love children’s book illustrators – along with Dr. Seuss, I adore Maurice Sendak, Mercer Mayer, Steven Kellogg, James Marshall, Peter Lippman, Hilary Knight, Tomie de Paola, Richard Scarry – I have quite a big children’s book collection, even though my sons are now in college. A lot of the children’s books that I have are from the 1970’s, when kid’s books weren’t very PC and were kind of warped – they are hilarious to me now.
Define “Klassik Magazine” for the audience? Stunning!!!
Summa cum laude Honors, UNM College of Fine Arts, 2011
Summa cum laude Baccalaureate Honors, University of New Mexico, 2011
Dean’s List, UNM, 2009-2011
Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, UNM, 2009-2011
June 2018 Rotofugi Gallery, Chicago – Solo Show
June 2017 Gallery 1988, Los Angeles – Mattel (sponsored) Group Show
June 2017 Cactus Gallery, Los Angeles – Something Wild in My Garden Group Show
February 2017 Artists Republic Gallery, Anaheim – Grand Opening Group Show
December 2016 Gristle Art Gallery, New York – Unicorn Group Show
November 2016 Distinction Gallery, Escondido – Spirit Guides Group Show
September 2016 Gristle Art Gallery, New York – (Space Trip) Group Show
September 2016 Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Virginia – A POEtic Tribute Group Show
August 2016 Cactus Gallery, Los Angeles – Water Group Show
August 2016 Clutter Gallery, New York – Kaleidoscope of Kyoot Group Show
June 2016 Piq Gallery, New York (Grand Central Station) – Niq @ Piq Group Show
June 2016 Cactus Gallery, Los Angeles – Symphony of Wings Group Show
June 2016 Clutter Gallery, New York – Le Reve Du Lapin Group Show
May 2016 Good Goat Gallery, Los Angeles – Harold Loves Maude Group Show
May 2016 Cactus Gallery, Los Angeles – Beastly Beings Group Show
March 2016 Cactus Gallery, Los Angeles – Loteria II Group Show
February 2016 Rotofugi Gallery, Chicago – Spirit Animals Solo Show
August 2017 Cactus Gallery, Los Angeles – Pinocchio Show
September 2017 Flower Pepper Gallery, Pasadena – Beasts of the Unknown Group Show
November 2017 DesignerCon, Pasadena
December 2017 Distinction Gallery, Escondido – Duo Show
Mobile App: Instagram/Twitter @Valency