It may have taken a 15-year-long hiatus, but Vernon-based artist Raven Zeller found her style and now her abstract paintings are receiving international recognition.
Most recently by British Vogue, who invited Zeller to have her artwork featured in three editions of the magazine, including the August edition featuring actor Margot Robbie on the cover — which was released on Zeller’s birthday.
“I’m still like is this happening, am I dreaming,” Zeller said from her studio at Vernon’s Caetani Centre.
Zeller had always dreamed she would become an artist and had plans to attend an international art school after high school, but, she said, she didn’t have the confidence or the funding to go at 18.
“I painted for a few more years and then I just stopped,” she said. “For 15 years, I didn’t sketch, draw, paint or anything.”
Three years ago, Zeller picked back up her paintbrush as an outlet in an “intense” and transformative year.
“If I don’t paint, I’m going to explode,” she said, thinking back. “I started painting in my kitchen while my kids were in bed and was a bit surprised at what was coming out of me.”
Typically, Zeller created realistic portraits or landscapes portraying “the world as we see it,” she said. But what was exploding onto her canvas now was abstract, organic and emotionally charged.
“Anything that came out, came out and I was like, ‘Oh, I’m an abstract artist.’”
Zeller said she loses time when she’s heads-down involved in creating her artwork, and when she’s finished, it’s as if she was simply a conduit.
It’s these organic creations that have drawn attention on her social media platforms and from several overseas publications.
On April 1, Zeller received an email from British Vanity Fair asking her to join a summer campaign that features artists from around the world. But an email like this on April Fool’s Day, she thought it had to be a joke or a spam email at the very least.
She showed her husband and the two laughed about it, but instead of sending it to the trash bin, she hesitated and sent it to her sister, who doubles as Zeller’s webmaster.
“She sleuthed around on Facebook and found it was legit,” she said. “I’m so glad I didn’t delete it.”
Following that unexpected invitation, opportunities snowballed for the artist who originally called the Lower Mainland home.
She has since been invited to join campaigns in the World of Interiors magazine, House and Garden and showcase her work in an upcoming art exhibition in downtown Milan, Italy.
“This is it, the trifecta,” she recalled telling her husband. “That was my 15 minutes of fame… and then, a couple of weeks ago, British Vogue.”
Zeller said she’s grateful now for that hiatus as she’s better equipped to handle the excitement.
“Everything happens in perfect divine timing and this came about when I was 40,” Zeller said.
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