Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Victoria, and I’m the artist behind Very Berry. I’m a professional graphic designer, and I started painting in 2021 as a hobby while searching for a way to recharge my creative batteries after I was done with my work for the day.
I was experimenting with a lot of styles at the beginning, but my still life paintings got a lot of love in the incredible Instagram still life community. There I learned a lot about different techniques and met so many amazing artists who encouraged me to continue pursuing this path. Around that time, I also got familiar with colour changing and high chroma painting styles which kickstarted my art journey of experimenting and finding my own unique style and voice.
What is the main medium, content, and/or themes that are frequently present in your work?
The most frequent theme in my art is giving new life to the mundane. I am obsessed with colour and what I’ve personally dubbed “colour bending”. I love to sneak in extra colours in everyday objects and food, aiming for a semi realistic, colourful and almost surreal or magical end result.
I like to focus on the mundane because I wish to unearth the beauty of the simple objects around all of us. Once we start noticing that, we’re bound to have a more positive outlook on life!
Medium: At the beginning, I used to paint a lot with traditional mediums like gouache and acrylic paint, but I tried Procreate in September 2021 and I immediately fell in love with digital art! This app changed my life because suddenly I was able to paint from my sofa and in the evenings after my work day was over.
I live with 4 cats and I can’t leave any art materials laying around so my “studio” gets taken apart and locked away after every traditional painting I do. This meant that prior to finding the joy of digital art, I was painting one, maybe two pieces a week. Ever since I started painting digitally though I get to practice almost daily! I am able to just pick up the iPad and paint no matter where I am with zero preparation.
Besides being extremely convenient, digital art gives me a lot of freedom for error and experimentation. Mundane objects are nice study subjects because they allow for a lot of art experiments and being able to undo any failed ideas made me very bold with my painting! Which ultimately helped me hone and polish my signature style.
What have you learned in your journey to become an artist who sells their work either as a main career or on the side of another career?
First and most important — don’t be afraid to start selling your art early! I know we all wonder if we’re “good enough” but you quite honestly never know unless you try. I’ve personally lost a lot of time, thinking it’s too early to start selling my art, but this just wasn’t true. So list your art and be vocal about your art being for sale, be it originals or prints, let your followers know about it by promoting your shops.
Tell us about your artistic process.
It doesn’t matter if I use traditional or digital art, I always start with a colourful undertone below my sketch which is almost always accompanied by a reference photo. The colourful undertone helps with several things at once:
— it helps me skip the anxiety of the blank canvas — when you start painting on a fun colour base, you get to jump right into the painting;
— it makes me “compete” against the background colour when choosing my hues, so my end piece ends up super bright and vivid;
—makes the finished piece look unified by the one singular colour I chose as a base.
My favourite colour undertones are mid value blue, green and magenta, but I encourage artists to experiment until they land on a colour that works for them.
And painting from a reference improves my art so much, I highly recommend it. This is incredibly important when I’m doing my signature “colour bending”, because I aim for a realistic or semi realistic feel in my art, combined with surreal otherworldly colours. And to achieve the look, I rely on the reference photo to guide me for clues on what looks realistic.
When it comes to changing the colours (make them different from the reference and/or real-life objects) I make decisions based on colour theory, “hidden” colours in the original reference, and my experience and personal preference. Simply put, what this means is that I usually swap one colour for another by keeping the value of the colour the same but just choosing another hue. I eyeball it (I don’t colour pick) so it doesn’t always fit perfectly in terms of value but usually if you take a black and white photo of my paintings and my reference they look almost the same.
How do you find inspiration and what are those inspirations?
I get inspired by the world around us, other artists and different types of media. Textile arts, sculpture, movies and series, music, books, even traveling and new views – my formula is to feed my hungry art brain with as many different types of art as possible! Seeing so many different expressions of human creativity keeps me feeling fresh and inspired when it comes to my own work.
Tell us how you get motivated to push past creative blocks.
Yes, I actually do! I recently got burned out from work and handling my social media accounts, and this got me very demotivated to paint. I managed to push past it by:
— giving myself a much needed break. I worked and updated my accounts the bare minimum, and mostly just relaxed, hanged out with my cats, read books and went on walks;
— trying a different medium: I recently created a lot of digital art, so I painted some pieces traditionally. This helped me reset my creative juices;
— follow a tutorial or take part in a challenge: this one is my favourite method because it gets you in creative mode, while taking away the uncertainty of what to create
Who are artists or people who have influenced you?
Here’s the place to say a huge thank you to the Instagram still life community which is quite possibly the best, warmest and kindest community ever. I have found so many dear friends there, which have helped me, encouraged me, guided me and supported me through my creative journey.
While I have an art related education, and have been exposed to the old masters from an early childhood thanks to my art interests, there’s something uniquely inspirational and refreshing in seeing living breathing artists create art.
In the past year and a half, I’ve witnessed so many artists grow their artistic skills and get so much better at painting through regular practice and artistic exploration. That progress is influencing other artists (including me), which fuels this beautiful cycle of inspiration and creation, growing like a fractal.
Do you have any advice for young people or other artists who are looking to sell their work?
I know you probably have heard this before, but just start posting! I’ve been creating art for years before I started sharing my work on social media, and it has never been consistent. But as soon as I started sharing my work on social media, both the quantity and quality of my work increased dramatically. Not to mention that I got exposed to so many wonderful artists, tutorials, techniques and styles that it was inevitable to get incredibly inspired!
So keep creating, experimenting and sharing your work. Also don’t be shy to start selling early and regularly promote your shop. People can’t buy your art if they don’t know it’s for sale.
What’s next for you?
Followers keep asking me about tutorials and tips about the unique way I change my colours, which is incredibly flattering but also a huge responsibility. So I’ve blocked out a huge chunk of time for researching and coming up with a method to teach about my work process the easiest possible way.
I’m currently in the process of creating a series of tutorials which will (hopefully) be released super soon, so keep your eyes peeled!
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