21 Under 31 | Camargo Valentino

DREAMING AVIATORS, OIL, 62 x 88.
DREAMING AVIATORS, OIL, 62 x 88.

By Bonnie Gangelhoff

BORN: Houston, TX.

ART EDUCATION: Graduate of the Art Institute of Houston, self-taught in oil painting, then studied under master painter Odd Nerdrum in Norway and Iceland.

STYLE: “Classical pop surrealism.”

MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT THE WAY YOU WORK: “Before I paint an image there has to be a reason for it. My paintings have to have meaning. I don’t just paint a landscape, still life, or portrait; I’m expressing something in every painting.”

FIRST ART SALE: “After my first show last year, DREAMING AVIATORS sold for $14,000. I was blessed.”

SECOND-CHOICE CAREER: Sculptor or animator.

OTHER PASSIONS: Sculpting figures, music, movies, and sports.

MANTRA OR MOTTO: “You can accomplish anything you set your mind to, but you have to be willing to pay the price.”

QUIRKIEST TRAIT: “Dancing, singing, and acting like a fool when I paint in my studio and no one is around to see me.”

BIGGEST FEAR: Losing a loved one, and not finding real love.

FAVORITE STUDIO MUSIC: Hip-hop, trance, movie soundtracks, and lately Kanye West.

BEST ADVICE: “‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’ Sad, but it seems to be true.”

PET PEEVE: “Designers like Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons who pay others to do the work, then take credit for it and call themselves artists.”

FAVORITE ARTWORK BY ANOTHER ARTIST: THE NIGHT GUARD by Odd Nerdrum.

PRICE RANGE: $4,000 to $18,000.

NEXT BIG GOAL: Being represented by a well-known art gallery or dealer.

CREATIVE SPARK: Going to galleries and seeing another artist’s work, or watching documentaries about artists.

I’LL KNOW I’VE MADE IT WHEN: “I’m recognized by the New York City art world and am selling to big collectors.”

GALLERIES: Jack Meier Gallery, Houston, TX; www.camargovalentino.com.

Featured in our annual “21 Under 31″ article in September 2008