Joyful Roots has the great honor of interviewing Mishel Valenton of Aeropagita Prints for our first interview! Mishel’s work is focused on self awareness, positivity and enlightenment, so who better to be our first guest?!
1. Please tell us a little about what you create.
I make what I call “self help for walls”. Aeropagita Prints are giclee or inkjet art prints on archival paper and made with archival inks. I make all the prints myself and some of the works are photographs I’ve taken also. I call them “self help” because they are generally very happy and positive-thought kind of prints.
2. Do you have a motto?
I don’t think I have any one motto but the motto that the whole shop was built on would probably be – nothing is impossible.
3. Can you tell us a little about your journey that led you to where you are and what you do?
Before I started Aeropagita Prints, I was painting darker subjects and I think I got depressed because of it! What you create is what you keep inside your head and what you create is what you give to this world. I wanted to make work that was happy, positive and celebratory. I also wanted to be able to share my work with as many people as possible. This, I think, is what Aeropagita Prints is right now to me and hopefully to whoever visits the site.
4. What is your most favorite project or piece that you have ever created?
Hmm…I think they are all my well-loved children and were made with equal parts of joy and difficulty!
5. Who are your role models or heroes?
Oprah, Iyanla Vanzant, Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle. Since I recently watched the Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen is also a hero! My boyfriend Kojo is a hero and helps me out a lot with the shop!
6. What aspect of your work brings you the most joy?
The people part of it – getting positive feedback, people sending thank yous or even questions, Kimberly Creagan who thought I’d be a good interview! [right on!] I also cannot dismiss the joy of receiving the financial support you need to keep doing what you do.
7. Can you describe where your inspiration comes from? (Do you perhaps have a process or ritual that you use to evoke inspiration?)
What works for me is that I need to be in a good place in thought and feeling for me to make work that feels the same way. I think you can only put into a work what you have yourself.
8. Can you offer one piece of advice to our readers?
Follow your joy. If something is not making you happy, change it or else change your thoughts about it.
9. What plans do you have for the future?
New work is always on my mind but I’d also like to expand my medium to either painting or even towards something more interactive. I like how technology is making everything accessible but I also love the physicality of paint.
10 Are there any books or tools that you would recommend to people interested in your trade?
I think the number one thing I needed to start Aeropagita Prints was courage so I would say watching a lot of Oprah helped! In terms of technique, I learned by just doing and if I ever got stuck Google would save me.
11. Finish this sentence: For me, it’s the best feeling in the world when…
…when you can share yourself with other people and… unfailingly when I do karaoke.