This series spotlights the talents of visual and performing artists in the West Valley.
Name: Velvett Tetrault
Art form: painting, jewelry
West Valley View: How did you start painting?
Velvett Tetrault: Back when I was 16, I took my first art class in high school.
Then I started getting into oil and acrylic painting. What I did was I
watched videos on TV, PBS-type stuff. Eventually I started getting books
and videos that had different artists and along the way I took some
sculpture and painting courses through different community colleges.
I spent a couple of semesters in Virginia doing screen printing and
working with fiber arts. My last class I took was metalsmithing at the
Mesa Arts center, but I'm kind of coursed out. It's kind of hard for me
to get around. It was easier going to classes before but now it's kind
of hard, so I just try to make my art better myself.
WVV: So your art is a constant learning experience?
Tetrault: Right. Actually, for most of my life I really didn't have a
particular style or subject, although everything looked very science
fiction when I was young. It just came out that way.
Then I started to do landscapes and still life, even as soon as like a
couple of months ago I was still doing things like science-fiction type
art, portrait type paintings, mixed media type things and abstract.
WVV: What kind of mediums do you use for your paintings? What is your creative process like?
Tetrault: Mostly I'm using fast-drying acrylic. I had a period where
I was doing mixed media, a lot of gels and colors and that kind of
As for my creative process, what might happen is that I'll be watching
the TV with some coffee in the morning, and all of a sudden I get this
idea. Maybe it's a program about physics, astronomy or string theory,
and I'll have this vision in my head of what I want to paint.
A lot of the projects that I do come this way. I'm just sitting and
letting my thoughts roll around in my head and then all of a sudden it's
boom! OK, I'd like to do that.
WVV: You paint a lot of birds as still life, why is that?
Tetrault: I do them well and I like animals. There's just something
about animals, I'd rather do an animal than a person, and I've always
been like that since I was a little kid.
They're also kind of pudgy and fluffy and I like what I can do with them.
WVV: What kind of jewelry pieces do you make?
Tetrault: They're bead work, it's all beaded one bead at a time. They're very intricate.
I started making my jewelry back in 2005 or 2006. The bead factory,
which is no longer there in Glendale, had beading classes by some top
jewelry artist and I would go there and take lessons on how to do the
different types of necklaces, or different types of stitches.