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Meet Jen LaVita of Jen LaVita Art in Mar Vista

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jen LaVita.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My love for art started as early as I can remember. My grandfather, who was a successful architect, gave me a set of pastels when I was six and I never looked back.

I had two great high school art teachers who taught me traditional skills and technique. They never sugar coated their critiques and it was during this time, that I started to seriously think about art as my future.

I studied at Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Preforming Arts and graduated with a B.F.A, majoring in Advertising Design with a concentration in painting. Along with my studies, I was an Army ROTC cadet, and upon graduating, I commissioned as an Officer into the United States Army. I served all over the country and worked hard and my confidence and view of the world grew bigger and bigger. Being away from home and life as I knew it, I found it valuable to keep creating and continued to paint. I found time to balance my seemingly opposing lives and in the meantime, was the go-to for t-shirt and coin designs for my unit. After four years in the military, I followed my heart to the sand and sunshine of Los Angeles, where my art has really found its place.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I have always been a bit of a paradox. My adolescent answer to what do you want to be when you grow up was “a firefighter wedding dress designer”. The truth is not too far from it. An army artist is not commonly paired. Coming from conservative Massachusetts and the structure of the military, I dreamed of the day I would be “free”. Free to do what I wanted and on my own terms. This freedom came with my move to California and then I felt like, now what? All of a sudden a million possibilities came forward and I had nowhere to start. I think all of LA’s transplants can relate to that in one way or another. I had no job, no place to live and no family close by. So you either make it work, or you go home. At one point, I worked three jobs, took an unpaid internship at a design company and slowly started to integrate myself into the LA artist community, specifically Mar Vista. I kept painting and made friends, introducing myself as an artist before I truly believed it myself.

Please tell us about Jen LaVita Art.
I paint very colorfully, vibrant nature scenes in an impressionistic style. I often focus on animals and ocean life. I love using unexpected and unconventional color. My paintings are meant to transport the viewer and see the world the way I see it, bursting with life and light.

I like to do a lot of different types of painting- I use watercolors and acrylics. I paint all different sizes from mini watercolors to giant wall murals. I specialize in live painting. I start with a white canvas that is transformed into a finished piece by the end of the event. I like the challenge of the moment and getting to share my process with others. I like to think I can brighten the world with my colorful art and positivity.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
To be honest, I wouldn’t change a thing. If getting here was easy, I wouldn’t appreciate it as much. Three years ago I had never live painted and only dreamed of having my own studio. Now, I live paint on stages and at weddings and retreat to my own private working space. I believe that every experience, good and bad, shapes you and is necessary for your own journey. I am always looking forward to the next thing.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Ben Baluyot

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