Chilean artist Paula Valenzuela has always combined her passion for art and psychology. At an early age she was interested in art, studying with some Chilean artists since she was 15 years old, and participating in group exhibitions and private collections in her home country. She pursued a professional career in Clinical Psychology and Public Health at UC Berkeley, while keeping her art as a more private passion. She moved to the Bay Area in 2001, and was involved in the effervescent art Mission District community, learning printmaking and creating public commissions for UC San Francisco’s new development project, the Mission Bay District. After many years in the clinical practice in Chile, Paula returned to the U.S. with the willingness to combine her interests in psychology, mindfulness and healing arts. Her work has been exhibited in California and Santiago, Chile.

“My artwork explores the connection of darkness and light within us, the complexity of layers that we show to others and to ourselves. Covering and uncovering, scratching to unveil the essence.

“As an artist by passion and psychologist by training, I am interested in exploring the unconscious and human process that we all go through when embraced in an act of spontaneous creativity, without preconceived ideas. Painting for me is a way to be open to the moment; to be fully present in my body and mind.

“My work process is exploratory, always venturing into unknown territory, utilizing multiple materials and textures. I work with pouring mediums, fluid acrylics, resins and pigments that allow me a flowing movement and to be surprised every time.

“I work through several paintings at once, mixing, dripping, scratching, painting, covering, uncovering, brushing and scratching again… until I get to a place with each piece that reflects a moment in time; the unexpected.

“The colors and textures of the desert inspire me and remind me of my home country, Chile, connecting me to my origins. The combination of natural and mineral colors results in images seemingly directly related to patterns found throughout the natural world, rather microscopic or aerial.”

–Paula Valenzuela