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About Jess

     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. 


2020     MFA, academy of art university
2019     culture care creative fellowship with makoto fujimura
2014     BFA, york college of pennsylvania

selected press

awards & exhibitions

2014     York College Fine Art Senior Exhibition, First Place

2015     solo exhibition: Light & Shadow, Lilify, Monterey, CA

2020     ArtXFreedom Group Exhibition, Radiance International, Hollywood, CA (Juried Show)
2018     Italy Group Exhibition, Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA (Juried Show)
2018     Reflections of Italy, SRISA Gallery, Florence, Italy
2014     Winter Group Exhibition, Through The Fire Studios, Columbia, PA
2014     Fall Group Exhibition, Studio Gallery 234, York, PA (Juried Show)

2020     Voyage LA magazine | "meet Jess Velarde" local stories series, august 2020
2017     Passport Voyager | "living creatively: an interview with jess velarde"
2014     the York Review | Spring 2014 publication

my husband and I have moved 14 times in the last 11 years. top item on our list of new years resolutions? not moving. but if you need some tips on how to start fresh, I'm your girl. 

the nomad life

Fun Facts

At this point, I've embraced it. Nothing beats a cup of tea, good book, and a purring kitty on your lap. we currently have two, and they are the best.

cat lady

Fun Facts