Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Artist Spotlight - Valerie King


You know, I really do try to not gush too much when it comes to featuring our artists. And it's hard. But I, myself, get tired of everything being described as darling, amazing, fabulous, etc and roll my eyes everytime I hear/read someone mention the phrase "quite lovely", but when it comes to Valerie of neneee you're just gonna have to pardon me a bit. Valerie has been such a sweet supporter of me when I decided to quit my day job and become a full time self-employed DIY-er, and though we've never met - hooray 'net buddies! - I do consider her a friend. I first came across Valerie years ago through our participation in the flickr group, Wardrobe_Remix, and became a fast admirer of her style - only to learn that the majority of her wardrobe was made herself! Since then I've always been eager to see her newest creations and she truly never ever dissapoints. I'm thrilled to finally have a shop of my own and the ability to bring neneee creations to Columbia. But enough from me - here's a few words with the quite lovely, darling, amazing, and fabulous Valerie:


-Name, Age, Location:
HI! My name is Valerie King. I'm 24 years old and live on Guam. Guam is a small, wonderful island in the Pacific; you should come visit sometime!

-5 words to describe yourself:
always trying to keep afloat

-Your day job:
Running Neneee I suppose is my day job. At night--well, technically early morning since I work the graveyard shift--I am a Beauty Advisor/Make-up Artist for DFS/MAC Cosmetics.
It's kind of amazing and I thoroughly enjoy working both jobs.


-A typical day in your life:
more make-up*
post office*

*on my days off I just bum around the house with a bag of Hot Cheetos.

(Valerie in her Indian Summer dress - available at Pack Rats)

-Top 5 books, movies, songs/bands, food:

My all-time favorite book is (and probably forever will be) Tumble Home by Amy Hempel. I was 17 and trying to remedy a hangover with a Western Family blueberry popsicle when I first opened this book on my bed. Discovering Amy Hempel's work was like waking up from a long nap. Although I have to add that her entire bibliography is equally exceptional--the story "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried" always ALWAYS makes me cry; reading that last paragraph of "The Most Girl Part of You" made my heart fall to my stomach, and my jaw ached from laughing through "Jesus is Waiting".

> Fight Club changed the way I look at things. Lost in Translation makes me want to quietly fall in love again.

There are just too many songs I love to narrow it down to just 5, but if I could see any band or artist live it would without a doubt be Ben Kweller!

The only food I could eat everyday without ever getting sick of it is eggs (any style). But when I'm feeling indulgent, it's usually pasta.

-Current crushes/obsessions:
Bill Hicks--right now I am so fascinated by this guy. I admire how resilient he was too--how he hit bottom and was still able to work his way back up.


-Your vices/guilty pleasures:
Laziness. Sometimes I feel like I should be doing more: going to new places, experiencing new things, coming up with new ideas... but sometimes I am just too goddamn lazy.

-Favorite youtube video:
This video, hands down:

-When/How did you gain an interest in fashion/designing/sewing?
Getting into fashion design was a lot like falling in love--it happened gradually and then suddenly. A little alteration here, a little self expression there, next I find myself getting depressed if I go too long without making something.

-What was your first creation?
I have been reconstructing clothes for too long to remember the very first piece, but my first real made-from-scratch creation was a miniature apron top and skirt set I made for my niece Kristen. It was a combination of care bears + rainbow circus polka dotted fabric and finished in lemon yellow bias tape. It looked ridiculous, but her tiny cuteness made up for it.

(Carnival Dress - available at Pack Rats)

-From what or whom do you draw inspiration from?
I think it would be easier to ween it down to what doesn't inspire me because there's so much to be inspired by; I am inspired by everything! Some of those things might include what I read in books or online or even watch on TV, to the way a man picks out a gift for his mother, smart jokes (and some stupid ones too), my handchum chubby nephew Zachary not having any neck, my niece Gabby's hilarious non sequiturs, or how my dog never even gives me the chance to get out of the car before forcing her way onto my lap... More often than not I am inspired by people, especially ones who are kind and very aware of themselves. One time, I pronounced I had a small crush on Jesse Eisenberg and my boyfriend said, "you like twitchy guys, don't you?" I said, "well it worked out in your favor, didn't it?"

-What sort of person do you imagine being drawn to your work?
In her book "The Entrepreneur's Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing", Kathleen Fasanella says that independent designers are successful because the are more attuned to their customers' needs. I imagine the person drawn to my work is looking for an alternative to what you might find at a mall. I make stuff that I like and would wear myself so maybe somebody who is very particular about fit and silhouette and prefers a more personalized touch to their clothes.


-What's the importance of handmade to you? Do you feel a part of the DIY movement?
There's this kind of personal satisfaction that you can't get anywhere else--not from buying that investment bag you saved up for for months, not from acing your last exam, not even from finishing top place at your last 5k race--it comes from making stuff with your hands. I'm not sure how to describe the feeling, but I'm sure most DIY'ers and all the amazing artists on etsy and everywhere else, creating incredible stuff everyday can agree that it's there. Robert Pirsig called it gumption, I think.

-Final words?
Th th th that's all folks!

Thanks, Valerie! Look for more artist spotlights coming soon! Any questions you'd like to see our artists answer? Lemme know @



  1. i really enjoyed reading this. think i fell for valerie too :)

    and she's into bill hicks. yes, yes!

  2. Anytime, Rachael :o) Thanks for giving me the opportunity to be featured in Pack Rats.

    Also, thanks for your kind words, Brandi. Yes, Bill Hicks 4eva!

  3. Valerie is definitely gush worthy! She's quite the amazing gal. Great interview!