Art Show featuring Valerie Townley and Suzanne Rattigan
Art Reception: Saturday, November 11th 5 - 7 PM Show runs from 11/9/23 - 1/6/24
Lifelong artist Valerie Townley was born and raised in Ventura. After taking art classes in high school and at Ventura College, Townley joined the Peace Corps. She was first stationed in Fiji, then continued her service in Costa Rica. She found her home in Costa Rica and raised her family there.
Townley lived in a remote beach town, far from many necessities, including schools for her children. So, Townley adapted. Fluent in Spanish, she started a bilingual school and ran it for fifteen years.
The other obstacle was art supplies- she had to travel hours to get canvas. Without canvas, Townley began painting on driftwood that she collected from the local beach.
Now back in Ventura County, Valerie Townley creates masterpieces using wood she collects locally. It’s not easy to find! She searches the beaches and asks for pieces from old barns.
Townley uses the wood’s shape to determine the subject of her piece, working with the dimensions that nature gives her. The wood she collects has a lot of texture, so she will sand and do other treatments in preparation for painting. It’s all a process that she has devised herself, through experimentation over the years. She uses acrylic and metallic paint, torn paper, and a polyurethane top coating to create her work.
She paints in her home studio, working on multiple pieces at a time. She likes to paint in the mornings while listening to a variety of music genres. In her free time, she loves to work in her garden. Some of her pieces even feature flowers that she’s grown!
Suzanne Rattigan has never been afraid to explore her passions. As a result of this, combined with her talent and possibly good fortune, she’s enjoyed substantial professional success in the art field.
Rattigan is from New York, and started college at just 16. When she graduated, she moved to California with only $300.
Once here, she started her masters in film at CSU Northridge. Ever the artist, she painted backdrops for the theater department for extra money. One day, someone from Disney attended the production of Peter Pan and saw her backdrops. They called and invited her to apply to Disney. She was unaware of the magnitude of the opportunity; instead she was more concerned with flying home for the holidays. But Disney called her again and this time she decided to leave graduate school at age 20 to work for Walt Disney Imagineering. It was a key decision that led to a successful art career in the entertainment industry.
Over the past 35 years, Rattigan has become instrumental in theme park development, designing parks for Disney and Universal, taking her projects from concept to field installation. She designed the original Tower of Terror, Splash Mountain, and many more, moving near the parks in France and Japan to bring her visions to life. More recently, she designed the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for Universal, before becoming their creative director.
Rattigan has spent her career creating art for others. During the Pandemic, she decided she wanted to create art that was for herself. So in 2020, she began weaving. She bought a loom and started weaving, without any lessons or instructions. She uses the yarn to “paint” on her loom.
Rattigan loves natural light and weaves on her porch in the afternoons after her early workdays. Her cat, Sassy, likes to keep her company and play with the yarn. She listens to the public radio station from CSUN, enjoying the variety of genres they play. If she’s not weaving or working on a new theme park, you can find her gardening or riding her bike.