Support Your Local Artists

Support Your Local Artists

Gabrielle Finch

Meet Veronica McLaren. A talented artist, who took her passion and love for art and turned it into Starina’s Art, an art venture*, where she shares her work in hopes of connecting with the community. I was fortunate enough to be able to chat with Veronica about her extensive background in the arts, what led her to where her venture is today, her fascinating inspirations behind her artwork, and what she looks forward to in the future of Starina’s Art.

Can you tell me a little about your background in art?

“I graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Art, in 2007. Prior to and during my undergraduate studies, the mediums I utilized were strictly charcoal and chalk pastels. Toward the end of my schooling, I enrolled in a Digital Photography course which introduced me to Adobe Photoshop, expanding my artistic skills and adding to my mediums. I had a freelance art venture, also under the name Starina’s Art, from 2008-2013. I collaborated with various clients and created digital projects primarily for the New England independent music scene (flyers, CD covers, promotional pieces, social media logos). I stopped Starina’s Art due to conflicting personal and professional obligations. Between December 2016 and June 2018, I attended weekly classes at Studio Petringa in Braintree, MA, where I learned acrylic painting. After many dormant years and the urge to bring art back into my life on a regular basis, Starina’s Art was restarted in November 2023. This was done on a very part-time basis by opening two e-commerce artist shops where I could sell select works in various products, which also gave me a chance to create new works. This quickly evolved from strictly e-commerce to finding the right platform(s) to highlight my work and getting my work featured in online publications and exhibitions (which I have never done before). My work is now primarily in three mediums: photography, acrylic paint, and digital art.”

What is your biggest inspiration in your artwork?

“Various art movements that I learned in my undergraduate studies, namely German expressionism, the Art Deco movement, and abstract expressionism. Also, the artistic technique of “chiaroscuro” fascinates me – the dichotomy of light versus dark. During college, I was introduced to the film Metropolis (1927) which solidified my love for Art Deco, German expressionism, and chiaroscuro. Other inspirations are German expressionist and surrealist movies, including Haxan (1922), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), and Vampyr (1932). Finally, Aubrey Beardsley’s illustrations for Salome, specifically The Climax, are one of my favorites.”

What goals do you have for the future of Starina’s Art?

“My plan for the remainder of this year is to expand my audience by getting my work exhibited, featured, and mentioned as much as I can. I also want to expand my network in the arts/creative industries on social media by sharing my art, through blog posts on my website, and by my “recurring posts” which are viewable on social media. I am specifically targeting people like me, who are unsure of their craft or technique, and are looking to turn their artistic pursuit into something to be proud of. I am not the greatest artist by a long shot, but I still think art in any form is something to share with the world. The end goal, for me, isn’t revenue (which would always be nice, I’ll admit!). If my art inspires just one person, then I’ll feel like I have accomplished something. Going into 2025, I am hoping that I can start looking into doing requests and commissions.”

Not only is Veronica’s artwork thought provoking and beautiful, but also a good example of how talented she is. While she loves people “stopping by” her venture and admiring her work, she is a huge advocate for supporting other local artists. She stresses the point that Smithfield’s art community is small but mighty, and there are so many other talented humans creating art who should be recognized. She also strives to make a difference through her ecommerce sites, particularly one, The Giving Gallery, which donates part of their proceeds to mental health organizations. Through her recurring posts on social media, and through her journey to what Starina’s Art is today, she hopes to be an example to and inspire someone to pick up an old hobby they might have fallen out of and create something new!

You can check out Veronica’s work on her website, You can also find her social media links, and links to her ecommerce sites there as well. Admire her work, buy a print, and support a local artist!

*Art Venture: an innovative exploratory gallery for youth and families.

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