Artist Bio

Self Portrait

Vanessa Barrett works as an engineer. She has degrees in mechanical engineering, welding technology, and accounting.

Her art career has been as varied as her academic path: she started selling her paintings in high school, experimenting in several media along the way, from the conventional (oil, acrylic, pastel, charcoal, ink) to the unusual (cardboard, wood, newspaper, wheatpaste, glass). She has done corporate design for tech companies, illustrated books, and created commissioned pieces ranging from family portraits to abstracts to wall murals.

Her subject matter has varied, too: she has painted reproductions of human musculature from anatomy books, whimsical scenes from dreams, creatures inspired by science fantasy novels and computer games, and traditional still-lifes and plein air landscapes.

However, her favorite medium is still good old acrylic paint, and her favorite subjects are simply people, whether close friends or strangers on the street.

Artist Statement

It fascinates me to watch a painting develop on my canvas, from a flat white surface to a real live “something” with color, shadows, texture, and depth. The end product should be as pleasing as the process of making it—otherwise, the viewer is left out of the fun.

My favorite subjects are people “at rest,” waiting and watching. Beneath each tranquil façade lies unmistakable emotion, sometimes ambiguous or capricious, sometimes powerful and profound. My goal is that this obscured motivation will spark viewers’ curiosity, inspiring them to speculate and create stories about the people in each painting: who they are, what they are thinking, what occurred in the moments before they were captured on canvas, and what might happen after.

Email: [email protected]

Fine Art Education:
Academy of Art University, San Francisco
California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland

Artist Highlights