Amanda Valdes has some lofty goals. “I would love to do a large-scale commercial property—like six stories or more—with a fashion brand,” says the Jupiter resident when talking about projects she wants to accomplish in the future. To date, the largest building she has painted is four stories tall, but a fear of heights is not an option in her line of work. “I have come to love being up on a boom lift,” she says with a laugh.
Lately, Valdes has been spending a lot of time up in the air. Her international projects have taken her around the globe to locations as far-flung as London, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, and Australia, but she maintains roots in Palm Beach County. She grew up in Palm Beach Gardens and credits her great-grandmother with her early interest in art. “She used to draw with me when I was little,” says Valdes. “I loved creating paper dolls, and these characters evolved as I grew.” Her distinctive characters with large eyes and no pupils can be seen in much of her work, contrasted by florals, butterflies, insects, and more. She finds inspiration in books, music, and flowers. “I love symbolic references and like to leave hidden things in there,” she says of her art.
After graduating from William T. Dwyer High School, Valdes studied at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale before launching her career as an artist. One of her first mural commissions was for the twenty-first anniversary of Respectable Street in downtown West Palm Beach in 2008. Last year, she completed another project not too far from there. “I loved the Clematis Social project,” she says of the colorful murals that adorn the interior and exterior walls of the nightclub on the 200 block of Clematis Street. “It was super detailed and a lot
Valdes’ unique style has since grabbed the attention of the owners of Fu Manchu, who are opening an outpost in the former Shipwreck Bar & Grille restaurant on Old Dixie Highway in Jupiter. Her Asian-inspired murals for the space will feature cherry blossoms as the signature flower.
Other upcoming projects will take her to California and back to Australia and, maybe someday, to heights of six stories or higher as she continues to leave her colorful signature on buildings around the world. “I couldn’t be happier that life has worked out the way it has,” she says.