Alisa and I met back in junior high and have recently reconnected through the wonderful worldwide web! She is a self-taught painter, creator, and lover of art and is currently working as a painting instructor sharing her love of creating with others.
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Tell me a little bit about your background and how you got started creating:
Creation has always been a huge part of my life. As a child, imagination was my biggest tool no matter what I was doing. I would create make-believe stories and games to occupy my time and I think this was the root of my love of creating. Imagination is endless and was such a powerful influence on me and still is today. I don’t think it was until my early college years that people starting referring to my products of imagination as “Art” and ever since I have just embraced that term and went with it.
Do you consider yourself an artist? (Why or why not) And how does it make you feel to think of yourself as one?
I think ever since I changed majors in college to focus on art I have been chasing down the title of “Artist” to be it and to fully understand it. I would work on pieces and always have that question in the back of my head, “Am I a real artist yet?” I felt I was always trying to qualify for this vague but crème de la crème status. It was just the way we were trained to think about art in school I think. It seemed the title “Artist” was put on a pedestal and became this elite, almost unobtainable thing by certain definitions and it couldn’t apply to you unless what you did was the best, the most controversial, the most unique. While I still think those elements can play a big role in how people see your work, they don’t play a role in how I define myself anymore. Yes, I am an Artist. I have always been one; anyone can be if they use their imagination and passion. If you create anything, you are an artist in my mind.
What are you currently working on and how do you find inspiration for your pieces?
Although I graduated with an Art degree, I never actually did any painting in school and that has become my primary focus as of late. I’m teaching myself to paint! I am a painting instructor now as my full time job, but everything I have learned I have taught myself through trial and error and some awesome Bob Ross videos. Right now I work mostly in acrylics and I am just now embarking on discovering watercolors which is becoming my new favorite thing. I am currently working on writing and illustrating my own children’s book in my spare time and I am also working on a series of nature inspired portraits incorporating animal and plant elements. I’m really inspired by the magical realm of nature and anything fantastical so I try to make that visible in some way in a lot of the things I’m working on.
You recently had the opportunity to show your paintings at RAW:natural born artists in Columbus, Ohio. Tell me about your experience showing your work and preparing for the show:
RAW was a great experience for me. Being out in the real world, with a real job, and real responsibilities it is really hard to keep your creative flow going and keep making your art. RAW was awesome because it got me motivated to really focus on my art and pump out a good body of work to show. This being one of my first “real” shows I was very nervous about how I would compare to other, probably more trained and experienced artists, but I found this wasn’t a factor at all. It was amazing to network with all the other artists and create new contacts and resources with them. RAW showcases every kind of art from visual to performing to hair and makeup artists…It was really cool to play a part in this collaborative artistic effort.
Do you enjoy any creating with any other artistic mediums? If so, what are they?
You name it, I’ll try it.
I love making and I don’t even care what it is, I would like to at least attempt it once. I absolutely love photography and do that on the side as well when given the time.
What has been your biggest struggle as an artist?
My biggest struggle has been getting over the expectations of what an artist is supposed to be and if I was good enough to claim that title. Changing the way I thought of myself in this sense was a process, but now I have a different outlook on it. I create for myself now and not others and it is made me so much happier along with really improving the quality of my art. I feel another main struggle is just simply finding the time to be creative; it is definitely something you have to fight to include in your busy everyday life.
What do you consider to be your greatest victory or success?
Every time I finish a new piece, it is my greatest victory. I learn something new on every piece I work on and the next project is always the next greatest victory. The feeling of finishing something you have poured yourself into is unreal. I think it is the reason I start a new project in the first place, I love to finish it and relish that satisfaction of hard work realized.
Do you have any parting words of wisdom or advice for other creatives?
Don’t listen to the inner critic…Shut them up and do it. Enjoy the process, and finally, the fruits of your labor. Most importantly just keep making. We have to find the time, but when we do it is time well spent. Creation really does nourish the soul and keeps our insides happy 🙂