acrylic phoenix, AZ
Member Profile

Valerie Ostenak
Valerie Ostenak

Transformation. Movement. Flow . . . that is what I and my art are all about.
The flow that occurs when thoughts become reality, growing vines change their
surroundings, water creates canyons, and wind moves the clouds—the energy and
movement in objects and ideas, and their affect on us in both the microcosm and

I am shifting my 25+ year creative focus from metal to painting. The ideas and
feelings I am driven to express now are more suited to the atmospheric possibilities of
paint than the immediate tactility of metal. Expressing the ephemeral in a more visual
way reflects the emotions that flow through my hands to the canvas. I can get the
brushes and paint to mirror transformation of unseen thought as opposed to the metal
showing literal movement. I respond to the nebulous, the intuitive as it flows through
me. Painting allows me to escape the physical.

Currently in my painting, I am exploring four series: Conversations with the
Stillness, Embracing Shadow, Listening to Water, and Missing Hawaii. Each has a different
philosophical approach, yet each seeks to bring myself, and the viewer, to a place of
contentment and understanding. Conversations with the Stillness series explores the
tranquility, the serenity that presents itself when we quiet our minds in meditation and
prayer. Embracing Shadow reveals the light that comes out of the darkness as those
meditations and prayers become answers for us. Listening to Water presents the
turbulence and chaos of transformation and change as we live out those answers. It is
up to each of us to find the way to breathe in the water, to swim with the current, and
transform through the turbulence. Missing Hawaii is finding focus through the deep
dark sadness of not being able to connect with family during the struggles of the
pandemic. Floral possibilities begin to ground us in soothing familiarity.

Images from the Hubble telescope are my visual inspiration. They show the deep
darkness that exists outside ourselves, outside our ordinary reality. The vastness of space
is equatable to the Shadow within us all. Swirling within that darkness are an infinite
number of brilliant stars, the literal light illuminating the way within ourselves. They
are the guideposts that we seek and travel toward to take us out of the dark, to bring us
peace and enlightenment. Nebulae in the formation of new systems are as images of
thoughts coalescing and becoming real within our mind. They are thought
materializing. The Hubble images are a vast visual of what and who we are. The
Universe is connected to us and acts as a repository for all that we are. Transcendent and
atmospheric, my paintings present a way for us to stop and listen to our heart.

Ostenak’s art career has spanned 25+ years primarily as a metalsmith working in
steel and silver creating sculptures: decorative, functional, and wearable as art jewelry.
She has worked with private clients, interior designers, and architects, designing and
creating art for them to wear, and to live with.

In 2018, Valerie was invited by St. James’s House, a world-leading creative media
group working with Rolls-Royce, to co-brand with the North American Rolls-Royce
Owners’ Club for their annual Meet at Lake Tahoe. Her participation in this bespoke
opportunity included an exhibition of her jewelry at the event and featured placement
in the official Rolls-Royce commemorative book distributed internationally to RR
owners exclusively.

Ostenak is the recipient of the 2017 Saul Bell Jewelry Design Award in
Alternative Materials; the 2011 Centurion Emerging Designer Award: one of six from
an international field; and the 2009 Halstead Jewelry Design and Business
Development Grant. In 2009, National Geographic interviewed her for their online
Education series and she was twice selected for their annual American Artist
Appreciation Month. Valerie has presented her sculptural jewelry on the fashion
runways of Phoenix Fashion Week 2009 & 2013 and LA Style Week in 2013. The
Maria Elena Kravetz Gallery of Argentina presented her jewelry at SOFA Chicago in
2013 & 2016. She has been invited to exhibit at the internationally acclaimed Artistar
Jewels Art Jewelry Exhibition, in Milan, Italy 2014–2017 during Milan Fashion Week.
Ostenak’s work has been published in numerous books, magazines, and blogs.
Selected titles include: Strive for Perfection, official 2018 commemorative book of the
North American Rolls-Royce Owners’ & Collectors’ Club; Artistar Jewels Exhibition
Catalog 2015-2017; Wearable Expressions 7th International Wearable Art Exhibition Catalog
2017; Art Jewelry Today; Art Jewelry Today 2; Trend and Colours CIJ International; Watch & Jewelry Review; Showcase 500 art necklaces;; Secret Life of Jewelry; British Vogue; British Harper’s Bazaar; and Contemporary Art of the Southwest.

Ostenak has conducted her own workshops on forging silver, as well as being an invited lecturer at the Art Institute of Phoenix, and demonstrator/lecturer at the Northern Arizona Arizona University and the Arizona State University metals departments.