We had the good fortune of connecting with Emiko M. Venlet and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Emiko, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was born and raised in a rural part of Japan. When I was young it was normal to live with paternal grandparents and growing up in a traditional old Japanese house in a countryside with grandparents’ influence has had great impact on my art career subconciously! My grandmother was a born crafter and artisan. She could make anything from a scratch. I grew up watching her cooking, fermenting food, drying vegetables in the winter wind, crocheting and knitting. My grandfather was a busy business man always smoking his pipes and making us laugh. He would give me a penny if I did something nice to him and I was always proud of being a fun granddaughter. Living in an old traditional Japanese house, you could always find a room or two that are sealed. You dare to explore those rooms and our house of course had those rooms! One of them was my grandmother’s little room where she had kept all her old clothes, pictures, jewelries, makeup things, full of memories from her childhood and adulthood before she became a grandmother. I would sneak in her secret room when I had a bad day at school or was going through some difficult emotions and it always lifted my spirits up. These childhood memories have shaped me the way I see the world in a positive way and enabled me to cherish memories and tiny details in life that lightens up your soul. And most importantly it organically made my love for vintage and antique grow!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a self taught artist. After many different careers and life circumstances, about 8 years ago, I decided to follow my heart and make my childhood dream come true. I decided to be an artist. It wasn’t an easy path, to be honest, but I would not change it for the world. Every moment has led me to where I am today and personally the hardest lessons I learned in the past are the ones that have helped me grow as an artist immensely. For example, there was a time I couldn’t paint or do anything related to art for a year after being accused of being a copycat on social media. It was a dagger in the heart of an fragile artist and it took me a long time to come to the other side of the river. Yes, it would have been easier if I hadn’t had to experience such a painful year but I learned so much about myself and had the greatest and the most Life changing opportunity to dig deeper and go inwards to find treasures in myself rather than looking for inspiration externally. As a result, my art is authentically coming from within and no past or no experience before this was wasted. When you see my art, you will almost always find yourself in it. My stories in my art becomes your stories because in a collective conscious level we share the same emotional memories and because I am painting memories from an authentic part of me as well. It is my truest pleasure to be able to connect with the world in such a profound way by doing what I love; painting!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in North Vancouver, surrounded by the ocean and mountains. If my best friend was visiting, I would definitely take her to this little secret beach and encourage her to swim with a seal or two who are the frequent visitors there. We have amazing hikes in the backyard! Magical places with cider trees and beautiful northern westcoast greens. We would for sure go on many hikes before we hit our local brewery called Deep Cove Brewery. Great food, beer so good and local bands playing on Friday night… You could technically go to Vancouver downtown where lots are offered but staying in North Vancouver you could still get lots of amazing local artisans’ bakeries and restaurants. Oh speaking of restaurants, I would take my best friend to Fish Works where you cold enjoy amazing seafood and oysters watching some of my paintings on the wall, of course!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to give my shoutout to an organization in Vancouver called THRIVE! THRIVE is a a membership community of female, non binary and gender fluid visual artists from all over the world. I have been a member since 2017 and it has helped me stay on track with my artist career and helped me meet other artists like me. Being an artist sometimes feels lonely but with this community of female artists with whom I can feel the real connection, I have been able to grow as an artist and get help from and help others as well.

Website: emikovenlet.com
Instagram: @emikovenlet
Facebook: Emiko Venlet

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