Monique Veloz has been creating art her entire life. Painting is more than a hobby for Veloz, it's a way of expressing emotion and giving back.
"There's not one form of art, there are multiple forms," Veloz said. "Everybody needs an outlet. Whether it’s poetry, art or music, whatever makes you feel better about yourself or gets you through your situation."
Veloz is an Academic Personnel Analyst within UC Riverside’s College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, who uses oil paint as a creative outlet. Veloz has created more than 70 original works. Some of her favorites include the "Beautifully Broken" paintings, a series of ten paintings that became her way of expressing emotions after a personal loss, and her "San Gabriel Enslavement" and "Dance For My Ancestors" paintings, created to pay homage to her Serrano and Mexican heritage.
Veloz's favorite piece is currently "Nichole," an oil painting created for a family friend experiencing personal struggles. The piece is intended to showcase the power and strength of womanhood, and alongside her other works, uniquely reflects powerful emotions, messages and history.
"Art is a way to express yourself, and is a way to steer your emotions," Veloz said. "All of my emotions come out through my art. You may have an image in your mind, and then when you start painting it turns out completely different. I like to say that the canvas talks to you, because sometimes things may not flow properly, and you think you'll go back and fix it but you take a step back to look at it and that’s what it was supposed to be."
Veloz has displayed her works in many art shows and galas. Last year, she was featured in an online magazine and four art shows. She sold an original piece at a recent "Pancakes and Booze," a premier world-traveling, pop-up art show.
Veloz strives to bring art to the community through her shows and donations, and has donated art pieces to the local Riverside Community Arts Association. She was also offered a position to teach a children's art class for the Inland Empire Latino Art Association, an organization that offers free dance classes, art classes and other children’s programs to the local community. She also donated two original paintings to the association.
"I just feel like, giving back is something I want to do," said Veloz. "My way to contribute is me donating so they can continue the work that they’re doing. It’s really big to give back where I can. I’m not able to give money, but I can donate a piece that can help them raise money and to me you need to give back to the kids."
Veloz has continued painting with her family, and has influenced her nieces to start painting by encouraging them to express themselves through art. She is continuously influencing and being influenced by them, and continues to find new inspiration for works to display at shows and on social media through her time in CHASS.
"UCR has definitely kept me inspired," Veloz said. "My departments are Art, Art History, Music and Creative Writing, and when I see what the professors are doing it keeps me motivated to keep going."
Veloz plans to continue her art, and hopes to one day exhibit her art in New York. Her ultimate goal is to hold an art show in Europe, and to be on display in France or Spain.
Follow Monique Veloz @monique.veloz on Instagram or at moniqueveloz.com