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artist from Tampa, Elani Velasco
Brandalynn Nunez Cepeda

Local Artist Corner: A Talk with Elani Velasco

As Elani Velasco packed up her things and was moved to the home of her grandmother, she learned something new about her mother. She understood how strong a woman can be, how independent. It was a wake-up call for her vision of art she wanted to share with the world.

Only a few months from today, Velasco began to understand the power she desired to show through her art from her mother bringing them out of a house of divorce and into an environment that could bring further growth and love. Velasco, now nineteen years old, is a fine arts major at the Hillsborough Community College Ybor campus, frequenting her after-school time at the on-campus art studio.


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Velasco grew up with three sisters and her mother and father. She explained to me that her parents weren’t often close, so far from each other to the point of divorce. And yet, that didn’t stop her from keeping love as an influence towards what she creates, “I feel like love is something I use in my art to really get across that I adore the feeling of being loved and being in love.”

I asked her about the art studio on-campus and what her daily creative process in the room looked like. She explained to me that she’ll create until another class begins to shuffle in, her headphones blaring music ranging from Clairo to Travis Scott to keep her focused and tuned into her work.


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The outside world is where Velasco continues to draw most of her inspiration. She explains that everyday objects such as street signs or what people wear give her new ideas on what to create next, the number of ideas roaming around her mind becoming overwhelming at times. 


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Modernism is what her art world revolves around. But Velasco is often looking towards the future. New York has an incredibly high artist population – the number being listed as 56,268 in a 2015 study – and Velasco plans on adding one more to that residency total.

“Moving to New York [has been] a dream of mine since I was almost 10,” Velasco said. “So even if I just lived there for a couple of years and study on my own, I will be more than grateful.”


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Small galleries under her name and a fashion line displaying her street-style prints are in her mind’s eye. She wants to give back to her family. To her community. To anyone willing to be driven with a passion for creativity.

Being an artist requires support. Especially support from yourself. As a working creative, I understand the need to be reminded that your work is worth something in your mind.

So I asked the artist what her work meant to her.

“I guess it’s the Aquarius in me,” she said. “That I like to be different and… unique, and I feel like my art really shows who I am as a person. It incorporates fashion and color and high saturation, but that’s everything that makes me.”

And what is everything that makes Elani Velasco? Much more than you see in the frame.

Elani Velasco is currently taking personalized commissions using a variety of mediums. Her prices range from $60-$70 depending on the size of the piece. Message her on Instagram via @elanimia or email [email protected] for all inquiries.

Magazine journalism major who takes her birth chart very seriously. Writes anything music, lifestyle, or whatever topic her brain decides to fixate on that week.
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