Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Mejia.
Vanessa —An Abstract Expressionist painter born in Medellin, Colombia, began painting at a young age with the encouragement of her Mother Gloriace who is a well-known sculptor and interior decorator. She studied at San Diego State University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Family Development, her minor in Fine Arts, and her Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.
During her studies, she discovered her true devotions. Fine Arts and Behavior Analysis. Vanessa began to work with children who had disabilities and with adults who had brain injuries. She helped them express their feelings and emotions by using symbols, colors, and shapes. This experience led her to present for the first time in New York: her collection titled “Beyond Appearance.” In this collection, she was specifically inspired by children with special needs where she emphasized their abilities.
Her inspiration first comes from God and his creation. Vanessa captures the eye by her use of colors, which forms expressions with the simplicity of style and form. She says that instead of concentrating on objects, her main emphasis is on the intensity, contrast, and depth achieved by each brush stroke combining reasons and emotions as a perception of life.
Vanessa has had many Solo and Group exhibitions throughout her career as an Artist. Some of her most recent exhibitions include a private Art Show sponsored by Citigroup in Warren, New Jersey and a Solo Art Show at the W Hotel in New York City’s Times Square. In 2008, the General Consul of Colombia in New York City selected her to represent Colombia at FORJE Art—an International Art and Fashion event at the Queens Museum of Art and recently represented Colombia as an Artist in Mexico at the Museum of Tecate.
When Vanessa became a BCBA- Board Certified Behavior Analyst she decided to combine her two passions : Fine Arts and Behavior Analysis by creating “My Colors Speak” An inclusive art program , which uses principles of ABA-Applied Behavioral Analysis-A research-based therapy and methodologies of Theory of Mind to help typically developed and individuals with conditions, such as Autism, Intellectual Disabilities, and ADHD find their talents and reach their behavioral, developmental, and personal goals.
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 not been a smooth road, yet It has been a learning process and a road full of discoveries what allowed me to combine my two fields/two opposite worlds-Fine Arts and Behavior Analysis. They are opposite worlds because Fine Arts, specifically Expressionism is very spontaneous, subjective, and very free. On the other hand, Behavior Analysis is very structured, objective, and it is all based on data.
My Colors Speak have allowed us, our students, our patients, and also their parents to use both sides of the brain- Since we are working on their behavior and developmental goals while also tapping into their creative side, which many times leads them to find their own talent.
Please tell us about My Colors Speak.
We are the only ABA-Applied Behavior Analysis vendor from San Diego Regional Center that uses art as a tool to help our students and patients not only work on their behavior and developmental goals but also help them find their talent.
I have been a professional Artist for about 15 years and have been selected and sponsored by the Colombian Government to present my artwork at the Colombian Consulates in the US. I was also selected and sponsored by one of the largest ABA companies in the US called ACES-Autism Comprehensive Services to study my BCBA and become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
As an Artist, my artwork has been showcased in TV Networks, such as NBC News, Univision, and Telemundo.
Interviewed by Rory Devine at the Studio in San Diego, NBC News 7/39 in 2008.
My Colors Speak has also been featured as an Inclusive Art program that helps parents and children connect by creating a lasting Masterpiece together.
Video clip-Behind the scenes TV Interview: Running a My Colors Speak session with Professional Charger Player and his son. https://www.facebook.com/vanessamejiaartist/?fref=ts
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory is when I was a teenager living in Colombia most of my mother’s friends would tell me that I would be an Artist since my mom was a well-known Artist-Sculptor at that time, but all I would say is that I did not want to have anything to do with art since I just did not even like the thought of being an Artist my self back then. I disliked it so much that I did not even want to bring my art materials to art class in High School. My Art teacher was so disappointed in my lack of interest in arts and as a consequence, she would make me stay during recess and work on random art projects.
Ironically, when I can to the US I had an opportunity to choose for myself the electives in College. Surprisingly, I decided to choose art and ever since then I fell in love with this field. Eventually, my friends started commissioning me to do paintings for them and I started been being noticed by big organizations who sponsored me to show my artwork in many different venues in New York, California, Colombia, and Mexico. The rest is history…
- Website: www.vanessamejia.com
- Phone: 619-573-7704
- Email: email@example.com
Univision San Diego-Charger Player and his son during a My Colors Speak Session