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Rising Stars: Meet Janirette Vazquez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Janirette Vazquez.

Hi Janirette, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and lived in Miami for a few years before I moved to Raleigh a year and a half ago. I was never really interested in art before and all of the sudden in my darkest times art saved me. I became really interested in graphic design and ended up enrolling in art school. I had never drawn, painted, or sculpted in my life and I needed to take a week-long seminar/test just to be accepted. I was constantly asking myself, how will I be chosen from all these talented people that have been making art most of their lives? Even in doubt, I accepted the challenge and was accepted in the most prestigious art university in Puerto Rico, Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de Puerto Rico.

It was there that I discovered my passion for painting and sculpting which led me to create my very own business selling hand-sculpted miniature food jewelry with polymer clay online. At that time, I was featured on numerous websites, magazines, and online blogs, including the Pee Wee Herman blog, Dominos Pizza & Dunkin’ Donuts social media, and even a Korean soap opera titled “Panda and Hedgehog”. I was selling so much that I couldn’t even keep up! People were very curious about my process and that’s when I decided to open my YouTube channel. Unfortunately, after having my first and only child I was diagnosed with endometriosis which led me to have two surgeries in the span of a year.

Dealing with the pain and the consequences of this condition is something that I struggle with every day. This affected my business greatly and unfortunately, my online shop was closed for good. That’s when I decided to reinvent myself and this led me to start teaching online on Skillshare.

I also started creating videos for art companies reviewing their supplies and providing demos and tutorials for their marketing campaigns featured on their websites and social media. My YouTube channel, which has 20.5k subscribers, also features video reviews, demos, and tutorials. I also opened an online shop where I sell super cute handmade jewelry and handmade modern watercolor palettes which are my latest projects.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road for me. Before when I lived in Puerto Rico, the challenge was finding art supplies since they were hard to find or overpriced in comparison to when I moved to Miami. I felt fortunate to have moved somewhere where visual arts was much more appreciated and supplies were easily accessible. Fast forward a few years and my health became my biggest challenge and struggle. My mind is full of all these great ideas but sometimes it”s very hard for me to act on them.

My first struggle was endometriosis, and now I have a rare heart condition. I’m currently seeking treatment but it has been physically and mentally exhausting especially when at first doctors don’t have any answers to what’s wrong with you. It’s definitely a challenge dealing with all this and staying relevant in the art scene.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m known for not being in the same place for too long. I’m a sculptor, a painter, a teacher, and a YouTuber. I don’t like to limit myself to a theme or a medium. I want to try it all and explore the possibilities to test my creativity. That’s why my body of work is not exactly cohesive. I want to create for myself, that way I can show myself to the world without restrictions or standards.

I’m really proud of being able to collaborate with so many different art companies like Ampersand, Arteza, Art Resin, Royal & Langnickel, Viviva Colors, and Art-N-Fly. They have given me the opportunity to test their supplies and have trusted me to represent their brands, some of them like Gencrafts, The Epoxy Resin Store, and Ikonart have developed into longstanding relationships which I am proud of and grateful for. They have supported me in many projects.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
My goal is to create my own brand of art supplies and have my own shop where I can sell them and at the same time teach. Art is a form of therapy and I want a place where I can help people understand how art can change their lives and provide healing.

Mental health is so important and art has proven to help. I want to be able to help others with art the way art has helped me in my life.

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