As a child, Avena “Raven” Starr, born in 2000, was pointed towards drawing by her brother. She has just graduated from high school, where she took drawing classes but didn’t like their “rules.” So, to find her own style, she taught herself, and began painting at age 16. She has lived in Winnipeg, Steinbach, and Powerview.
Raven’s main interest is animals, which she observes – sometimes in dreams, but more often in internet images. However, she never directly copies them for her acrylics on canvas. The result is a totemic, painterly representation of a range of fauna including snakes, crows, wolves, and tigers. These are often placed on fantastic backgrounds or in semi-surreal landscapes featuring such things as mushrooms and stark, dead forests. Occasionally, Raven’s stunning, original landscapes become the main feature, in styles ranging from dark and foreboding to light and somewhat Japanese in mood.
“I paint intuitively – for myself in the first instance – and I have a lot of fun with it,” she says. “I keep to myself and think a lot. But I still like to be a people-pleaser.” Raven appreciates the recognition she gets for her art, responds to the preferences of her audiences, and takes commissions. She is also willing to sell photographic prints of her acrylic work. As a sideline while at Artbeat, Raven makes ceramic dragons “because I really, really like them.”