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Born and raised on California’s Central Coast, Jess Velarde has been drawing and painting since childhood. Early exposure to the arts and a deep connection to the beauty of the natural world have shaped the direction of her work — evident in her early landscapes as well as her more recent botanical and figurative paintings. Her work embraces the materiality of oils on canvas through brave, textural interpretations of light and shadow that straddle the line between realism and impressionism.
While knowing she wanted to pursue painting from a young age, Jess worked as a professional photographer for eight years before returning to school to earn a Bachelor of Fine Art from York College of Pennsylvania in 2014 - where she was awarded first place in her senior exhibition and participated in several group shows. She returned home to California upon graduating, creating a body of work for her first solo exhibition in 2015 in Monterey, CA. Jess completed her MFA at Academy of Art University in 2020, where she also studied painting in Florence, Italy. Jess spends her time creating paintings for collectors around the world from her studio in Los Angeles.
the nomad life