Some people wear their heart on their sleeve. Valerie Vanone turns her inner emotional landscape into paintings and wearable art.
After a long struggle with bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which began after high school, Valerie found the treatment she needed in 2016. She was working as a pastry artist when she decided to return to school and finish her associate degree. After she took a painting class, she knew she needed to express herself through that medium.
In 2017, as part of her treatment plan, she re-engaged with school. A friend suggested that she check out Georgian Court University’s art program. Roughly 20 minutes from her Manchester, New Jersey, home, “I met Leo Morrissey, associate professor and chair of the Department of Art and Visual Studies and I said, ‘I think this is my speed for where I am right now in my life,’” she says. Valeriewas aware that she was older than students who had come straight out of high school, but soon it didn’t matter. She was working alongside of them and completely comfortable.
Valerie’s work in wearable art and painting has been showcased at Georgian Court. Her senior Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) exhibition was on display in March at the M. Christina Geis Art Gallery at the university, featuring glowing crystal-rock aesthetic paintings and wearable art, like handbags.
From mixing and applying paint to using her imagination in ways she never dreamed, Valerie loves everything about the process of “creating something from nothing.” Her talent has also been recognized on campus—she received an art appreciation award, and her work is on permanent loan to the GCU Counseling Center.
“My artwork is a direct representation of my personal feelings, the subject or colors that inspire me, and the materials and various techniques that I choose to use,” she says.
Valerie will begin a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) program at Pratt Institute in New York City in the fall. Ultimately, she hopes to grow her wearable art business. She currently sells her limited-edition handbags at www.ValerieVanone.com.
Story contributed by Gwen Moran.