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Artist Interview Series: Rae Vena and live painting

Rae Vena is a visual artist and live performance painter of visionary pop surrealism. Self-taught, Rae knew art was her calling in life and decided just to get out there and start creating live paintings in public.

Rae Vena painting a colourful painting outdoors in her mint green outfit.
Rae Vena live painting one of her pieces outdoors.

“It was a feeling,” Rae says. “This is what you’re supposed to do. It just kicked in and so I followed my own needs.”

Rae uses both acrylic and oil paints and shares a radiant paint palette across each canvas, ranging from pastel neon to dark metallic rainbow.

Rae Vena holding up her two pieces "Angle" and "Balance" outdoors
"Angle" and "Balance" live prints after a living painting.


Rae’s art is an expression of her healing journey through life.

“Self care is a part of my art form, taking care of my mind, body and soul to reach a space of clarity. So when I'm painting, creating my work, it comes straight from my source of energy, unobstructed.”

“I focus on positive themes,” she adds. “That's how I heal myself, and possibly reach others who can relate. I believe my story is relevant to others, and to hear other peoples’ stories is humbling, that we all share a soul journey.”


Rae Vena holding up her piece "Soul Song" outdoors in her orange top and green skirt.
Presenting "Soul Song".

Each year, Rae works with a new theme, branching out into new destinations. This year's theme is titled ‘Together Again’, focusing on the reunion of society coming back together and experiencing each other after the pandemic.

Last year's theme, ’Rainbow Renaissance’, celebrated the joy of life through colour. It features vivid colours in intricate and playful paintings.

“I feel my art gives an opportunity to experience each moment as it is. I want people to have some kind of renaissance, whether it's in their heart or their mind or with who they are or how they relate with others.”

Rae Vena smiling at the camera in her red top while painting one of her pieces outdoors
Always time for photos during her live painting sessions.

Live Paintings

Rae participates or performs at art fairs and festivals across the world to share her artwork. Rae takes a small selection of paintings to each event but then creates a brand new piece there.

“I almost always start my paintings in person, at live events,” Rae says. “But then I'll take them back to my studio to finish up. Time spent alone processing it, reflecting back what I felt.”

Live performance paintings are important to Rae. The event provides her with the creativity for the piece. All she starts with is her theme for the year and an idea, but then lets the creativity and the inspiration of the event unfold the story of the final piece.

“It is a really important part of my work as an artist because that's how I'm able to experience personal connections and find my inspiration through others. In person, the connections I make create the story of my artwork. So, it's really important for me to be out there and create art with people.”


Community and collaboration are also important to Rae, but she feels it's one of the harder aspects of the goals she's working towards.

“I feel like I've done really well to create my art and my career. But there's so much more to do. It just takes time. One of the hard parts to me is collaboration, working together on a bigger vision. To build shows together, not just showing up as myself, but as a part of a multi-dimensional piece; to create together.”

Art Vancouver

You can meet Rae for yourself and see her ‘Rainbow Renaissance’ collection at Art Vancouver. Rae has been envisioning this art fair for a long time and is looking forward to participating.

“I actually applied in 2021, but because of COVID, it rolled over. So, it feels like I've been preparing for years for the show. I’m really excited.”

Rae Vena in her studio painting an image preparing for a show with one of her completed pieces in the background.
In the studio preparing her pieces for the next show.

To preview Rae’s work before the show, visit her at the Visionary Spaces Art Show on April 1st.

So, come along to Art Vancouver and chat some more with Rae, or to learn more about her now, check out her website at or on social media at @raevena_visual_artist.

Finally, I'll leave you with Rae’s number one piece of advice to any aspiring artist; to simply make the artwork.

“Get to know yourself and know your art. Spend time making art and everything else will follow.”

By: Wendy Cooper


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