I don't even remember my first meeting Valerie Des'Rae. Ask me where, how, or in what capacity we were introduced and I probably would stare at you with a distinct air of uncertainty. Now, ask me what I first realized Valerie's chops as an artist and I can recall the moment I fell in love with her captivating use of color blocking and the pop art feel of her fiery (and sometimes risqué) pieces. Random was the art show when Valerie's "Oral Fixation" collection all came together on one 30-foot wall and I realized that Valerie has the type of talent that only flourishes when the art is a direct result of the artists love for their craft. Fun-filled cloths of cotton replace the brooding pieces we often hear labeled "masterpieces" in the art world and slight smirks with raised eyebrows replace the stuffy, museum-like feel of traditional gallery shows.

Basically, Valerie's art makes me want to write a check and buy a bit of the fun for my living room because it makes me happy. Apparently, a number of people feel the same because Valerie Des'Rae sold out that Random show and she's booked for gallery showings in September and another in November - all featuring walls (plural) of work. That being said, I thought it would be a good idea for you to get to know this 24-year old chica, her Nike Air Max Darwin 360's, and her blowtorch.

Name: Valerie Des’Rae
Age: 24
Location: Dallas, TX
Occupation: Esthetician by day, Freelance Artist by night
Kicks Shown: Nike Air Max Darwin 360
Website/Contact: Twitter/IG - @valeriedesrae

CNK: You just recently started getting back into painting, which is surprising given the projects we’ve seen. When did you decide to resume your art? Did you expect to receive this much encouragement?

VD: It wasn’t until I met Brenton, my boyfriend, that I got back into art. The first night we ever hung out he invited me over to paint and when he saw what I could do he started to encourage and push me back into it. I never expected to get all the positive feedback I’ve received. It’s truly an amazing, overwhelming feeling.

CNK: You’re also part of a performance painting collective, correct?

VD: Yes, Ace of Dames. We paint live at local events in order to add more of a creative element. There's really something about seeing something created from scratch that makes people appreciate your craft a bit more than they would otherwise.

CNK: Speaking of appreciation, I always find it interesting to talk with artists because you all seem to really take in your surroundings and find inspiration in the things some of us would deem ordinary. What are some of those little things for you?

VD: Oddly enough, shadows. Even though they have no true color and are very dark they’re fascinating as hell to me! Shadows make images come to life, much like contours do when light hits your face a certain way.

CNK: People might not know that you’re also a big part of PiecesofBlaq. How do you bring your vision to that brand?

VD: I’m a woman. I bring the femininity to a brand that originally started out only catering to men. However, the brand is on hiatus for the moment, big things to come, stay tuned!

CNK: Two words – Oral Fixation. Tell us how this series came about.

VD: I’m an esthetician when I’m not being an artist. The lips were familiar because of my love for make up and being dolled up. But lips have been done so many times, I had to make it different. Then the fixation part came into play and I began to think about every day habits. How many things could I incorporate with lips that people would relate to? So it went from all the way from the innocent childhood memeories associated with a bomb pop, all the way to more *ahem* adult subject matter in the form of a purple penis...LOL! I wanted to push the limits, and making it a phallic series did just that.

CNK: Are there any artists whom you feel have directly influenced your style?

VD: Absolutley! Andy Warhol for his pop art and vivid colors and Banksy for his play on spray paint and stenciling style.

CNK: As an artist, I’m sure you draw inspiration from a number of mediums. In what capacity do you find yourself at your most creative?

VD: Acrylics are my go tos, but I also like working with spray paint, it make things look so much more organic.

CNK: Do you think your flair for the arts contributes to your fashion sense?

VD: Of course! I think fashion is just as much art as a painting. And my style is inspired by what I love to do.

CNK: As we head towards the end of the summer and the last half of 2013, I still find it so amazing that you returned to art just last year. Where do you see your work going in the next few years?

VD: In the MoMa…kidding, but a girl can dream! I really hope I can get to a point where my work is recognizable not only by people but by my fellow artists. I think it is so cool when your peers know your work immediately when they see it.

CNK: Obviously we love sneakers. What are a few of your favorite pairs to rock?

VD: My trustee grey Air Flights! They go with just about everything!

CNK: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?

VD: I’ll tell you the best advice I ever got from my Mom - “Do what you love and the money will come.” I am doing just that and I couldn’t be happier.

Photos x Edits: Jason Sanders of WMS Photography
Makeup: Brannigan Maxwell
Video x Edits: Jason Sanders of WMS Media

Purdy lady? Check. Talented chica? Check. Awesome kicks? Double check. Blowtorch? Wait. What!?!

Take a peek at our BTS talk with the lady with the lip fetish. We took a minute to capture Valerie in artist mode as she finished a special Chan-Lo.com addition to her "Oral Fixation" collection - complete with that blowtorch.