YOU'RE A BLACKSMITH
My husband once said to me, “You’re a blacksmith.” His insight resonated. The truth is, I’ve been handcrafting tools for years. My name is Jenny Velarde. I’m a psychotherapist and just as importantly, I’m an artist. I’ve played the roles of writer, director, actor, musician, filmmaker, visual artist & designer. In overlaying these roles, I've custom created hundreds of tools to strengthen not only my creative process, but those I’ve had the privilege to work with, in both clinical and creative settings. Artist As Guide was built to share this tool collection. Let's embolden the Artist Role, together.
WHY THE ARTIST ROLE ?
I was born to two teenagers onto the backdrop of poverty, relational trauma and racial strain (yes, I’m bi-racial.) At the start, my dad was a janitor and my mom was a pizza delivery driver, working their ways through school. Despite challenge, I recount the earliest moments of my life as drenched in the creative process: up until the wee hours of the morning, studying my dad's each and every move as he pulled art school all-nighters. Soaking in the clattering of my mom's typewriter as she wrote. Witnessing my parents' commitment to the Artist Role as they made their way through difficult life circumstances and into their creative purpose, marked me. It fully shaped how I move, both personally and professionally, in the world. I have three wildly creative siblings. We, a scrappy band of craftspeople, leaning on creativity and Faith as we tread the peaks and valleys.
I’ve delighted in living all over this gorgeous country, connecting with so many people, working in so many roles. I dropped out of college, studying theater, only to return years later once I became laser-focused on a path that felt custom built: Drama Therapy. Drama Therapy is a psychotherapeutic modality that engages exploration through storytelling, role and spontaneity. I received a Masters (MA) in Drama Therapy from the internationally renowned Drama Therapy Program at New York University, where I gleaned the theoretical framework of Role Theory (developed by Robert Landy,) which serves as the foundation for both my clinical and creative work. I am a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT,) Registered Drama Therapist (RDT) & created The Procrastination System to transform chronic procrastination from inaction into traction.
MY CLIENTS AS THE MUSE
As a therapist, I’m so grateful for the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with: Their stories of bravery & ingenuity, vulnerability & clarity, triumph & boldness. Clients of all backgrounds: From survivors of the holocaust to young people in the juvenile justice system and so many remarkable individuals in between. My youngest client at four years old, my oldest client at 101 years old. From inpatient psych to private practice, between and beyond. Working to strengthen individuals, couples and families. Working to strengthen Artists, of every kind. My clients consistently inspire me and I feel humbled to serve as witness to their courageous creativity.
EVERY CRAFT I CAN GET MY HANDS ON
I’ve been blessed by the years of hands-on, real world creative experience I’ve had throughout so many different mediums. Drawing at age 2, acting at age 11 and playing electric guitar at age 12. Between directing, producing, performing, writing, designing and scenic artistry, I’ve engaged in more stage productions than I can remember. I’ve shown my oil paintings throughout Los Angeles, Seattle and Denver. I’ve directed and produced two documentary shorts and sometimes even act as sidekick for my husband in his production company, when he can use a hand. Currently we split our time between a charming Brooklyn apartment and an otherworldly New Mexico ranch where God performs a light show with every sunset. Both locations serve as intense creative fodder.