Today we’d like to introduce you to Elisa Wiggins.
Hi Elisa, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My story started in Detroit, Michigan, where I was born and raised. I was able to take cosmetology school in my 11th and 12th-grade years. I eventually made my way to San Diego, California, and went on to be a very successful hairstylist for 22 years. In that time, I got married, and little did I know that my life would be forever drastically changed. It was about two years into my marriage that I realized I was involved in a coercive abusive partnership. My health would take a turn for the worst during this time, as it took me nine more years before I left due to fear. Being in that type of stressful situation eventually took me out of my career. I had so much bodily pain. I had went through several surgeries that it eventually put me in a wheelchair for a time. It is here that I began to draw and where I found myself and began to heal.
I also found Yoga Jai Ma studio that led gentle yoga classes to help me rehabilitate after so many surgeries. It was two months into taking classes at the studio that teacher training called me and I am now a yoga teacher and teaching for that same community. I didn’t have much training as an artist except in my high school courses, but it was a way for me to get my mind off of the abuse, the depression, and the pain. At first, my drawings were just scribbled, blocks of colors, lines, funky shapes and patterns, lots of brick walls, and deep dark colors. But that’s art right! It was a way for me to release. I used art as the majority of my therapy to take my mind off of what I was feeling and going through. It was a way that God, Intuition, Source, Spirit, was speaking to me, through me, showing me what I couldn’t understand or hear or see because the pain was so loud. Eventually, I began to draw my pain in the faces of women with tears and sadness and mainly black and white. You could see emotions. It is here that I realized I actually had a gift.
I had my very first art showing in Santa Barbara, where I sold two images. Two months after my show, I gained the courage to leave my husband. I tried to go back to doing hair, but I truly believe God closed the doors to that chapter in my life. Mother Father God has gifted me with the ability to bring healing to people’s lives through art and yoga. I went on to have my second show at the very beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown. That show was all about spirit animal medicine. It was called Survivors of the Wild, a tribute to all of the women and men who have survived abusive partnerships. I started to donate to shelters what I could. I had two beautiful friends in my life that allowed me to have a show in their lusciously colored landscaped front yard out in nature. It was so perfect! I sold three original drawings and five prints this time around. Before Covid happened, I was thriving as a yoga teacher and then everything shut down. So it gave me the opportunity to continue drawing even more. I had two more shows in San Diego at The Metta Space San Diego. I went on to sell two more originals.
In the time of everything shutting down, I was able to teach yoga online which was a huge blessing because it gave me the opportunity to create even more and to understand that this is a gift that I’d like to share with the world. Since this time, I’m now teaching something called intuitive art journeys. It’s where I combine yoga with art to help people find direction in their life through allowing their intuition to guide them. It’s a fun, creative, childlike process that uses yoga to move energy and simple art to find the answers and paths that they seek in their lives. I teach classes to live and through Zoom, in big groups and one-on-one. I am now in the process of creating my fourth art show. This one’s going to be a big one! I feel it. This show you will actually have to have a ticket to get in, and again, I will be donating to help domestic violence survivors. The mediums I work with are charcoal and pastels, mainly because I love drawing in black and white and gray. I love the depth and texture it produces. But I now am incorporating so much color in my life not only in art but every day in my dress to my home. If you look back at my old artwork, you’ll see pain and sadness and not much color at all.
As my healing process has progressed beautifully, you can see my art come to life through bright, vivid colors. I do so love the feeling of charcoal on my hands, and it has such a significant meaning to me. I believe charcoal chose me. You see, charcoal is an ancient drawing material made by burning wood or other organic materials in a low oxygen environment that produces a soft material that yields a deep black mark, symbolically mimicking the internal marks I once carried, the holding of my breath, and the holding of my voice, and then the purging of old past patterning through the fire, softening into the Divine Feminine, my Risen Queen, Goddess, Phoenix. I have finally chosen to accept the gift of, I am an Artist.
I am beyond grateful for my journey. I wouldn’t be here today understanding my greater purpose had I not been through what I’ve been through. I am grateful to my teachers who offered pain as much as I am grateful to the teachers who have offered pleasure.
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It wasn’t a smooth road. I had many obstacles and challenges to overcome, especially my mental and physical health, I eventually ended up in a wheelchair because I was struggling to walk after a hysterectomy, which eventually led to emergency surgery. The stress of living in an abusive marriage for 11 years made my healing process difficult at times. Healing the brain has been more difficult than healing the physical body. I have been separated for three years and finally divorced as of March 2021. Art, faith, a somatic counselor, friends, and family are what has made this journey and these obstacles able to overcome. And might I add the strength of my own self. Had it not been for the helpful teachers put in my path, I’m not sure I’d be here today. The depression took me to dark places that I wasn’t sure I could overcome. Shortly before leaving my marriage, I didn’t want to live anymore.
It has been a difficult road to travel as I was completely dependent upon my husband. I’ve had to heal from codependency. I still struggle from time to time taking breaks and resting, remembering to trust that I will be provided for by following the path that has been gifted to me. I’ve had the lesson of finding balance these past few years in knowing that it is okay to rest, to take time out and to really live and truly enjoy life. I’ve learned that I can depend on myself and trust myself and that I can be interdependent in partnerships. Taking the leap of faith stepping fully into I am an artist has been quite the journey of letting go of the old saying “starving artist” I don’t align in that, and I truly believe God led me to where I am. But it doesn’t go without saying that it has been challenging to get my name and artwork out there consistently, even though I have sold quite a few pieces. I am grateful for the obstacles and challenges because they have made me a better artist, a better teacher. They have definitely made me grateful for this life and the talents I have been given.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I specialize in charcoal and pastel, although I am venturing into other mediums. I’m known for drawing animals and combining human souls with their spirit animal, so half-human face and half animal. I am most proud of my very first image that sold at my second art show, which is an Elephant, Ganesha the Remover of Obstacles. Sometimes I wonder how I draw what I draw, and when I stepped back and saw the finished piece, I sat down and cried because I knew I was on my path, my dharma. I was filled with so much gratitude in that moment. And it went to a soul who had been through the same journey of an abusive partner as I did.
I would say what sets me apart is, in the exposure of my light comes the invitation to take an adventure. A Journey For The Soul to come home to the body and align with one’s truest self. To explore the emotions of grief, sadness, beauty, joy, and peace into trust and partnership with Spirit and know that one is always surrounded with love. My intention for my art is to bring healing as their owners come home to themselves, to their truth.
Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’ll be having my next art show at Soul of the Land outside in nature in Fallbrook, California, the most magical, beautiful land! You can find the event at www.warriorqueenartist.com. It will be a ticketed event and there will be lots of beautiful surprises besides the art! I look forward to seeing you there! I will be at the Liberty Station San Diego art show August 7-8.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.warriorqueenartist.com
- Instagram: @warriorqueenartist