Ana Valentine

Sacramento, CA

I grew up as a farmer and developed arthritis by age 15. Life was difficult because my mom let my dad drink 12 beers daily. So, my grandparents raised me. But when my grandpa’s lungs collapsed, my college grades collapsed. After my grandpa died, I saw he spelled “hammer” wrong on his toolbox. Yet he taught himself how to build a pool complete with a filtration system among other things. I wondered, “what if I learn a random skill?” I chose painting and hated it at first.

For five years, I woke up at 5:00AM to paint before work and never sold anything. What kept me going was the belief that small steps make big changes. October 2020, I declined a full-time job in Alzheimer’s research to pursue painting while artist relief grants were being issued. My dad said, “you went to college and now you’re painting walls!?” My mom said,” get a job!” without realizing THIS is a job. One month later, I appeared briefly on NPR to speak on how well I’ve been doing. I’ve gone from hiding my art in the closet, to having over 25,000 people see my art daily! I completed the largest mural in Roseville, CA. and I was one of two people selected from over 400 applicants to paint an iconic mural at UC Davis Medical Center. The greatest irony of my life is my work has never been accepted into an art gallery. Dozens of gallery rejections made a muralist.

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