An Inside Look into One Artist’s Journey – Sharing a Piece of Me with You
NOW: I was born in Pasadena, California on February 26, 1973 and lived in the Southern California area for most of my life (32 years). Having returned to my Southern Californian roots, in the summer of 2010, I live with daily, passionate focus on bringing inspirational creations to life. I’m currently staying more rooted than my free spirited soul is accustomed to, doing only the occasional traveling, as opposed to exploring the world whenever possible. However, having had the blessed opportunity to experience many exotic parts of the world, I imbue what was received on those journeys, into everything I create now and I know that when the time is right and I am meant to, I will be off flying somewhere. For now the flying that I am experiencing is the soaring of my soul, as I unleash it in ever greater, more empowered ways than ever before.
THEN: Art has been a part of my life since I first learned to hold a crayon and I have been drawing and creating for as long as I can remember. I was always a creative child with an active imagination and a flowing channel of artistic expression. Whether it was drawing, singing, ballet, writing, or simply playing in my imaginary world, creative expression was a piece of my soul that yearned to come forth. It seemed I had a natural artistic and creative ability that flowed effortlessly and drawing brought me a great sense of joy and peace always. I remember my very favorite thing to draw was animals, especially horses. I was born with a natural inclination to surround myself and immerse myself with animals whenever possible, even if only in my imagination and art, or my 100+ “alive” stuffed animals. My grandfather from France and I would spend hours drawing together during the summers and any down time I had when he and my grandmother would visit us. We would sit at the kitchen table, side by side and create. Art was an unspoken language between us that connected our souls, despite the language barrier of his French and my English. Although, as a child, I easily absorbed learning French when he was around for long periods of time. We had a beautiful and loving connection that was shared in those silent hours of artistic and creative expression. He truly supported the natural flow of my creativity and imagination, providing me an unconditional space to harness the artist in me.
At school, I remember the other kids would always ask me to help them draw things for our art projects and in 5th grade I would draw a very elaborate pencil drawing on the corner of my desk, which was like the revolving art window that I would erase and update periodically. It was like a little signature thing I would do to create a sacred space for myself in an environment I did not much enjoy.
I never engaged in any formal training or art classes, but the few arbitrary, part-of-the-curriculum classes that involved art in elementary, junior, high and trade school came very easily to me. I felt that I just instantly knew how to execute a drawing or painting, even if not utilizing a specific “taught technique” or formalized way or rule. Obviously a carry through from many lives as an artist. I did it with my own style and short cut methods and wasn’t too interested in whether I was doing something “right” or utilizing a certain proven or approved method. I simply expressed my joy and reached from within while drawing. While my abilities amazed classmates and teachers, to me it felt natural and at the time I did not give much thought to why it was that I was able to do what I did without training. I feel this was the way “for me” and expressed most authentically my being in my Essence. Ego, judgments and all else were nonexistent when I created. I was simply just “being” and channeling the gifts, talents and uniqueness I came to share with the world. We are so much more natural when we are children, until we start to formulate calculating brains from being the brunt of analyzation, judgment, structure, teachings and enculturation from others. This can limit our expansive capabilities until we later learn to “unlearn” that which is not authentic to us.
PIECES OF MY ART: It is because of this filtering ability I had with my creative and artistic expression that I believe that my work has maintained a signature style that feels pure, authentic and undefined by standard art definitions. I steer away from labels, in describing my art, and usually prefer my art speak to each in its own relative way. Until recently, I haven’t ever really put my art and process into official words, until creating my artist’s statement. To ask someone to describe something that was never meant to be expressed in words, which is why it is created through imagery in the first place, for me seems redundant. I always desired people to “experience” and feel and leave behind their analytical minds for the moment. And yet, I also understand and feel it necessary to help share insight perspectives so that anyone can appreciate the depth in which an artist goes, as well as help others reach for the same expansion of experience. For me, sharing about my work can only be done through the words, feelings, and insights of my art. Therefore, how I share of them in my artist’s statement (which I’ll reveal another time), is an etheric and metaphysical conceptualization that in itself becomes a form of art, spoken from the art itself. So words become an artistic weaving of expression for the senses. Any other way of describing my work, would not be authentic. For some artists, it may be easier to describe their subject matter and paintings, but for the visionary artist who is drawing from an infinite, undefined, other-dimensional and deeply felt and symbolic world – words just simply fall short.
When I create, the images that evolve are a result of freedom of expression without judgment, rules, or constriction, as channeled through my heart. They are messages and experience visions, encapsulated into an energetic image that conveys, either in complex or simplistic ways, yet always in rich layers. I stay away from how things look with the physical eyes and instead I see through my inner eye and the allow the visions I receive to speak to me. I start to “see” the strokes of paint on the canvas before I create them, in terms of where something is needed. It’s as if the image is materializing for me, creating a guide to follow, because of the energy footprint that has been accessed in contracting a partnership with the channeled creation desiring to come through.
I celebrate and honor all styles and all artists, recognizing, encouraging and valuing every creative expression in life, yet I choose to keep within my own artistic experience to continue to not be influenced by others. Artistic expression has always been one of my untouched pieces of me that I’ve managed to keep pure.
I keep feeling that at some point I will be writing a short art book, particularly to help reveal the layers of the In Lak’ech series, but as always, I’ll wait until I receive the “official” nudge! I’m only sharing a little here for now, on some of my process, but will further reveal as I feel guided in timely fashion.
PIECES OF MY JOURNEY: Since high school I had started to consciously delve into the spiritual and metaphysical world and self exploration. Always being a naturally, intuitive and creative sensitive, this was not unusual that I would eventually, and fully, go this route. For me it seemed inevitable. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, my life took a turn and thus began the next decade of exploration. Graduating at 19 from FIDM and wanting more than to start in a sales position, I started to explore different avenues to find myself. My explorations took me through many different avenues of experience in my work and personal life, all of which led me to learn a great deal about who I am and who I am not. I held jobs and moved through things that ran the gamut in terms of an array of colorful extremities. Nothing seemed completely satisfying and life continued to feel superficial in comparison to the feelings and intuitional nudges that were always knocking loudly. So I moved to Sedona, AZ in 1997 and started a new life for the next 2 years.
There I spent my time utilizing the potent energy of Sedona to delve into some major self exploration and healing, utilizing many modalities such as astrology and numerology along with reading a lot of spiritual, self-growth and metaphysical books. I spent my days in nearly total seclusion except for contact with my immediate family, mostly my mom, as she and I were living in Sedona full time and my dad and brother were still mostly in California due to work. I took walks to Chapel Rock where the Chapel of the Holy Cross sits overlooking The Madonna and Child and the Guardians, as well as the majestic Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, Elephant Rock (Ganesh) and much of the eastern rim of Sedona daily, just behind our home, and frequented Oak Creek. The only connection I had with people outside of my mom, were the international visitors that would come daily through Sedona to Chapel Rock, but mostly I would meditate inside and outside the Chapel and then be engaged now and then by people from all over the world, which kept me in that global collective connection – balancing out the very inner, personal journey I was enmeshed in. I would also wake at 4am in the dark and put a coat on over my jammies and take brisk walks amidst the roaming havalina, then return to bed, just in order to take in energies for what I was facilitating. Later, after my day’s inner work, I would take evening walks amidst the deer and other animals that all roamed through our grounds, sitting still to commune with them when I would meet them all up close and personal. It was a beautifully challenging time and I walked away from my past in order to do so and went through extensive, deep, exhausting and emotional self-coaching utilizing everything I knew how to do at the time to support a major transformative cleanse and renewal, which brought everything to light to move through, forgive, and release, as well as understand who I was now that the layers of the onion were being peeled away.
It was at this time that art re-entered my life and I painted my first paintings on canvas ever, creating painting after painting. Even though I’d been drawing all my life and always excelled with it, and had already started doing some commissioned drawings and charcoal pieces over the couple years preceding this, I’d never actually painted on canvas until age 24 (other than the few small art pieces that were part of a couple of classes I had in high school and trade school). Images and inspiration flowed and it became apparent that being an artist was not just a hobby, but a gift and naturally a part of who I was at the core of my being.
After my time in Sedona, I returned to California to start anew, still searching and unsure of where to put this new found me to focus. It’s an odd thing, seemingly a gift and a curse, to be bilateral and to have both an analytical and mental mind paired with a very intuitive and creative mind. It made it easy for me to follow different paths of work and balance of thought, but the key was in finding what my true path was and a way to blend my qualities into something that was authentic and not one-sided. Otherwise, I’d burn out and the other parts of me would feel neglected and repressed, causing great stress and frustration. Life became more and more discouraging and inbetween I started some traveling a little on my own. My family had always traveled when I was younger and it was in my blood as an adventurer and explorer at heart.
MY DIETARY CHOICES THAT SUPPORT MY WORK: This also marked a dietary change for me and led me to yoga, as I continued to evolve and embrace more of my authentic self. My body suddenly started to react to animal products, or perhaps I finally was being more consciously present with my body to notice, and I began a journey that would take me to different levels of experience through conscious food choices, ultimately that would help raise my vibration and bring greater clarity of experience, while bringing me to the natural harmony and authenticity of who I was and the loving connection I felt with the collective. It was a natural, yet quick, progression from pescetarian, to vegetarian, to vegan, to 100% raw, to now a more intuitively balanced high raw and cooked vegan diet that supports my current needs. I have been vegan since 2005 and high raw since 2008. I believe it’s important to find a balance that works for each individual and sometimes I will vary the percentage of organic, cooked vegan and raw vegan that I intake depending on different variables and what my body is in need of to support where I’m at. Before, as I was really embarking on opening things in a big way, 100% raw was a natural need. And as I have been needing more grounding, rooting and integration, I have found bringing healthy cooked foods especially root vegetables and things that feel warming and energetically soothing to me are much more supportive to what I am currently manifesting on my new path. I feel that everyone needs to find their own way, as everyone is on a different path and timing that cannot be forced by anyone else, and that there is no one perfect diet across the board that works 100% of the time for 100% of everyone. I feel that the more people connect within and become more consciously aware and in tune with themselves and the Earth, the more “authentic” food choices and energy sources will reveal themselves and people will naturally and instinctively find the answers that will keep them living vibrantly and at highest potential. For me, I know that what does work always, for who I am at the core, and will not alter, is remaining 100% vegan and 100% drug/mind altering hallucinogens and alcohol free, but I will shift my percentages of raw and cooked foods, as my body and soul’s needs dictate. It is the most supportive choice to my essence, my body’s needs, my connection to Earth’s creatures and the work that I channel in order to be fully present and accessible to all parts of me, consciously. For me it is not a matter of ethics, but a matter of an extension to who I am at the core.
WHERE IT’S LEAD: Much transformation took place over these years including major travel experiences and journeys across the globe, spiritual and empowering growth, major life, health and dietary changes, highs and lows, the start of the In Lak’ech series – which was a huge four year personal and collective process – an array of opportunities and expansion including the unfolding process of my symbolic tattoo art and my training and work as a Reiki Master Teacher.
As a Reiki Master Teacher, Universal Life Force Energy resonates also in the art I create and is imbued in every stroke of my brush. My company, Emerald Bridge, is an embodiment of my love shared through supportive services and healing creations that help to plant seeds of joy, freedom and inspired direction. Through committed heart service, the desire to embrace unconditional compassion and natural, creative expression, I continually embark on new journeys of creation and healing to share with the world.
My work and commitment to healing on personal and collective levels has taken me to many exotic lands and sacred energy portals across the globe including Egypt, Peru, the Mayan lands, the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador, Bali, Ireland, England, France, Italy, Athens, Santorini, Thailand, Bimini, Costa Rica, the Hawaiian Islands, Tahiti, Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, and several areas throughout the US. This has provided me once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I carry and embody pieces of in my heart and soul, just as I have left a piece of me in each destination I have visited. To experience diverse cultural backgrounds and to be able to connect and engage with people from all over the world and from all walks of life, experience and beliefs and to explore sacred sites and ancient civilizations, provides a wealth of compassionate understanding, which is a beautiful and valuable gift.
HOW I SEE MYSELF: I would describe myself as an explorer of conscious experience and continuous student of life with a great love for our ancient and cosmic mysteries and deeply connected to the Earth and her many precious children. My life is about transforming and shattering the old and the idea of “impossible,” realizing that miracles are a reality that I create. When I heal myself and take courageous steps forward that energy is available to everyone and vice versa, which is why I advocate making conscious and responsible choices from a place of service for a higher good. We cannot rescue another. I feel that the greatest service that can change the consciousness of all humanity is to be an example of your own life working and being in the love and honor of your authentic self, expressed in service to others. I question everything that has always been and I don’t accept anything until I’ve thoroughly examined it from the perspective of every level of my being. Just because something is “tried and true”, doesn’t mean it’s right, or at least doesn’t mean it’s right for me. Just because that’s the way it’s always been, doesn’t mean it has to, or should even continue that way. What I choose to believe and focus on is what I create as my experience. It’s not okay to me to find comfort in the continuum of my pains, thus recreating the same experiences over and over.
I maintain a childlike innocence and excitement, always loving to laugh, have fun and be silly, while knowing the importance and timeliness of serious, dedicated focus. I believe in the value of trying to maintain balance and constantly challenge myself to be present with this, as I can be a bit of an extremist. I value walking an integrative, middle path, staying curious, embracing strength in vulnerability and being unconditionally compassionate. I enjoy both my private, sacred time, as well as connecting with and experiencing the world and others. A chameleon by nature, I see myself as a visionary, mystic, dreamer, romantic, gentle warrior and ambassador of peace and love, here to help bridge all separation and to inspire beauty, grace and joy every step of the way. I am blessed with two sweet friends, a Russian Tortoise, Gaia and Lop-Earred Rabbit, Joy that inspire and support me each day along this path and who inspired the birthing of Joyful Earth Crystals – crystal healing jewelry for empowered living. I am also blessed with dear souls that are lovingly supportive gifts to my life and am grateful for all the beautiful lights I come in contact with daily that are sharing their beauty with the world.
The journey continues and is constantly shifting. I daily challenge myself to reach deeper when I create my art and designs, share my works and even in always striving to see from new and deeper loving and compassionately responsible perspectives so that I may help to shift the experiences I have towards empowered intention for the highest good of everyone and away from any repeated patterns. Every day I lovingly challenge myself to go further than I have ever gone before in every way.
To learn more about my work and company Emerald Bridge please visit www.taniamarie.com