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Meet Antonette Velasquez of AvelaDesign and Escape & Paint in Southwest Atlanta

Today we’d like to introduce you to Antonette Velasquez.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Antonette. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
After graduating from West Virginia Wesleyan College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design in 2013, I continued my journey towards my purpose which landed me in Atlanta. I began working as a graphic designer for a sock company and in retail part-time. In my spare time, I was freelancing and rediscovering my affinity for painting. In 2015, I spent some time sorting through the nuances of adulthood, where I began experiencing what I believe to be the unveiling of myself as an artist. AvelaDesign officially birthed and I started creating logos, business cards, flyers, and other print-based media for start-ups and small businesses. Digital artistry had been such a gift, but painting became an outlet to express myself freely. My curiosity also led me to painting themed walls in nurseries and day-care centers.

During a brief stint in Los Angeles from 2016-2018, painting and I became more acquainted. With paint, I dove deeper into myself and unmasked who I was afraid to be. Art helped me express my feelings, look some of my fears in the eyes, discover my strength, and honor who I was becoming. Animals, my environment and those around me became my subject matter while acting as a bridge between my pain and my highest self. It was through my artistry that I found internal peace. I realized that if the painting could help heal pieces of me, it could do that for other people. In 2018, Escape & Paint classes were created as my way of offering healing through self-expression for anyone who attends. Today, I continue to host bi-weekly Escape & Paint group classes and private painting sessions here in Atlanta, while working as a graphic designer and mural artist.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been challenging but more than rewarding. The biggest struggle is overcoming the fear that I create surrounding perfection, public opinion and doubt. It’s been incredible to see myself hurdling over these fears and pushing forward because I know that what I am doing is bigger than me. Moving to and from different cities with different demographics has been a bit challenging which required me to pivot when it came to gaining the public’s interest in Escape & Paint classes. Branding myself as an artist has also been challenging. Imagine putting your feelings on display and being judged by people you may not know; that is an unpleasant feeling! All in all, it’s been rewarding. I get to see the light in people’s eyes when they’ve shocked themselves and painted something they were proud of. Or when I’ve spent hours commissioning a mural or portrait and I see my growth.

Please tell us about your art.
AvelaDesign is my art brand and collection of works, drawings, paintings, mural art and digital art. I commission projects that include logo design, business cards, print-based and digital materials, custom art for homes, portraits and much more. My goal for AvelaDesign is to tell visual stories and to enlighten the visions of others. Escape & Paint is a therapeutic art experience curated for guests to unwind after a long day or week. We begin each class with a light, deep breathing and reflection exercise to loosen up. The atmosphere is enhanced with calming fragrances and soothing tunes that promote relaxation.

There are two painting templates to follow at each group class. The instructor will lightly guide you through one of them. Guests have the option to paint along or paint their masterpieces but we encourage personal self-expression! Escape & Paint’s group classes are great for beginners and intermediate painters. All painting supplies are provided along with complimentary champagne. Guests are encouraged to bring their snacks and beverages. Escape & Paint also offers private, in-home experiences for guests who want to surprise a loved one for a special occasion or just because. Guests enjoy the quiet, quaint escape we bring to their homes. We also host private parties for large groups for fundraisers, birthday parties, and holiday celebrations.

With all the responsibilities and demands we have daily, Escape & Paint promotes a “no-pressure” environment. Oftentimes, guests come in thinking they cannot complete the painting. However, they leave with a piece they are proud of and have released a part of themselves on canvas. That is the beauty of the class. Guests leave refreshed and relaxed, and in some cases with a new perspective! This is why Escape & Paint was created, to unravel, heal and express oneself!


  • AvelaDesign Graphite Personality Portrait: Starting at $120
  • AvelaDesign Acrylic Personality Portrait: Starting at $210
  • AvelaDesign Art Prints: $10 – $70 (depending on size)
  • Escape & Paint Group Classes: $40 per person
  • Escape & Paint In-Home VIP Experience: $65 per person (max. 5 people)

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Wayne Johnson
Lem Luvah

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