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There are five primary ways that people speak and understand emotional love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. This theory was developed by Dr. Gary Chapman after years of being a marriage counselor and maintaining a marriage of his own. Author, anthropologist, Doctor of Philosophy, and pastor, Chapman first published The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts in 1995. In this book, Chapman argues that while each of the five languages is enjoyed to some degree by all, a person usually speaks one primary language. This primary language can be tested online or with a series of online questions about how you prefer to show and express affection.

For Valerie, her primary love language is receiving gifts. This love language means that a meaningful or thoughtful gift makes them feel appreciated and loved. Gifts can include a thoughtful handwritten note, a small momento, or even a piece of art.

Every commissioned work is Valerie’s way of expressing care for her clients. For her, creating art goes beyond solely enjoying it; she creates individualized and deeply personal pieces that resonate with the client, driven by her desire to provide people the joy and affirmation that receiving gifts gives her.

Valerie believes in living creatively. Whether it be interior design, the art you collect, or the bookshelf that inspires you, she believes that our environment is a reflection of ourselves. Therefore it is paramount for her that her own home provide an endless source of the inspiration and delight that propels her work. Through her commissioned work, she hopes to provide the receiver with a piece of work that brings genuine jubilation and inspiration wherever it lives.

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I'm so excited to tell you about Cate Tynjala, my wonderful intern who has been helping me in the studio. She's a student at the University of Minnesota studying English, writing and journalism. She is wise beyond her years, smart as a whip and always arrives early when we meet... which is one of those little things that doesn't go unnoticed! And, she's always wearing a big, happy smile on her face that is infectious (see photo below)!

I met Cate this past summer at the Uptown Art Fair when she introduced herself to me and expressed interest in working with me. She asked me all of the right questions and was interested in everything I do as an artist, despite not being an artist herself. I knew right away that this girl was special! Any girl who has such confidence to come up to a stranger and ask questions beyond the typical pleasantries and offer her assistance is the kind of girl I want around me!

Over the past several months, I've given Cate various projects around the studio like photographing content for Instagram, writing new website content, research and Photoshop projects. My goal was to get a feel for what she might enjoy helping me with the most. I never want an intern to feel like they are doing "sh*t work" that isn't helping them grow.

One of the things I have to give Cate major credit for is this blog. It is because of her, I rebooted my blog with purpose! After she spent a few months working with me and learning about what I do, she reminded me I have much to say about my art, my process and all of the unique events and life lessons that have brought me to where I am today as a self-made artist. She reminded me that people love to learn about the artist they are buying from... just like she did on the day she met me.

I had been writing a blog since college, but I took a break for the past several years because I developed a form of writing paralysis once my art career began to grow. Once I realized there were humans who actually paid attention to my blog, the added pressure of new readers meant I felt a sense of responsibility to post better content- which meant more time spent carefully writing, researching and creating content for my blog. I labored over what to post every time I sat down to write, and drafted up more posts that I actually posted. I worked myself into a paralysis that eventually I just quit... and spent my time creating art instead of blogging.

Cate reminded me that my posts didn't need to be perfect, just real.

And so, this new blog was created. I migrated some of my favorite posts over from my old blog, but for the most part, many of my old posts didn't make the cut. We wanted to write freely about creative living topics, art process, fun projects, how-to's and events that you-- as readers and lovers of my art-- might enjoy. There aren't strict rules to our blog topics and writing... after all, I am an artist!

You'll see that Cate is now an official contributor on my blog. She had a wonderful idea of writing posts from her point-of-view. By letting Cate share her observations of working with me and documenting my creation process, it takes the pressure off of me to create ALL of content myself. She is allowing me keep creating without having to worry about stopping to photograph or write about everything myself- which is often impossible for me to do when I'm, well, painting! Plus, she's a beautiful writer who has a gift with words far more eloquent than I. And, she's armed with a camera and new photo skills! Knowing that I have Cate to help me with the creating and editing of blog posts gives me just the confidence I needed to get over my paralysis. Plus, she holds me accountable to posting regularly on my blog thanks to a new posting schedule!

You may expect a new blog post at the beginning of every week. Some posts will be published by me, and some by Cate! I hope you enjoy the new blog and stories to come!

#catetynjala #artistblog #valeriecarpender #writer

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When I first starting interning for Valerie, I couldn’t help but wonder why. Why does Valerie do what she does? What brought her to where she is now? What drives her?

I was almost a complete stranger to her when she offered to take me on as her intern. I was taken aback and, frankly, a little intimidated. Okay, very intimidated. But here was a strong, capable artist offering me, a second-year undergraduate student, the opportunity to work with her. I had no idea what to expect, and I had so many questions.

I met Val at the Uptown Art Fair. Held annually during the first full weekend of August, the Uptown Art Fair is known for attracting a varied and eclectic audience, sometimes up to 375,000 people over the three day period. This summer, my family and I went to see my cousin who was showing art alongside Valerie. Our meeting was entirely by chance—I didn’t know who she was or that she was going to be there. But when I met Valerie, she exuded warmth and a comfortable familiarity. As kind as she is talented, Valerie talked to my sister and me about her art, the jewelry that she was selling at the event, and her search for a new intern.

Each time I’ve met with Valerie, she radiates the same kindness, passion, and good intention as at our initial meeting. Always concerned with making sure I get as much out of the partnership as she does, Valerie goes above and beyond to provide personalized lessons in photoshop, photography, website building and more. She has shared with me her passion for what she does, her story, and her platform. But beyond that, she has welcomed me into her life, consistently encouraging me to pursue my interests and flex my creative muscles. Her generosity has allowed me to gain insight into what it looks like to work from home, how to curate (and maintain) a personal brand, and how to leverage your skills to be successful in a creative field.

So, back to the original question… why? What drives Valerie Carpender? Valerie sees art in its purest form: as fundamental and integral to the human experience, and she wants to share this with the people in her community.

Like everyone, her life has not been without her share of trials and tribulations. But still, she persists. And that’s the best of all, I think. In spite of hardships, she persists, reminding young professionals like me that although some of the hardest times of our lives may be ahead of us, so are the best.

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Valerie is a Minneapolis based multimedia artist who has carved out a unique career doing what she loves each day- creating.  


Using every medium she can get her hands on, creates her own rules for what it means to be an artist- from meaningful commissioned artwork and custom guitars and handbags to live art performed in front of thousands at events as large as the Super Bowl. She has also has established herself as a leading fashion model, where she has traveled the globe shooting everything from magazine covers and brands such as Spanx, Champion, Calvin Klein and Target.