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My Art-o-Biography

by Andrilisa Read-Iglesias Lopes about a year ago in healing
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How I Found My Purpose To Heal The World Through Art

When I was five years old, I saw my dad drawing a cheat-cheat for the secret card matching game that appears in Super Mario Bros 3. Each chart he drew showed where the star, mushroom, flower, extra life, and coins were located, making it that much easier to win the mini game with all the spoils. That is when I learned I wanted to draw.

When Pokemon first came out, along with collecting the cards, my brother and I started drawing pokemons together. We would sit for hours at a time trying to draw the cartoons from memory. Eventually we graduated up to Dragon Ball Z characters and in time, we even drew out the entire Legend of Zelda world map. That is when I learned art could be fun.

When I was in high school, everyone else could draw so it no longer felt like drawing was my special talent. The art critiques were very strict. The assignments were not all fun like the art I’d known before. I disguised my frustrations with my parent’s divorce in the angry brushstrokes and harsh lines. That is when I learned I could hide my pain in art.

When I needed to decide what to study in college, I was torn between my heart wanting to study art and my brain wanting to study something that could provide wealth, so I took on architecture. After a year, I changed to archaeology because ancient architecture is what I was really interested in. That is when I learned I liked the art of the ancients.

When I was in college, I signed up for a figure drawing class thinking we’d be drawing fruit bowls but to my surprise we had models in their birthday suits. Each drawing left me more intrigued with the human body. That is when I learned I liked to draw people.

When I had to create my first series of pieces that formed one cohesive whole, I decided to use a combination of newspaper, whiteout, pen and black marker to tell the origin stories of tattoos. That is when I learned I liked to tell stories through art.

While I was still in college, I took a sculpture class where I did carpentry and metal welding. For my first project, I made a spinning wheel out of an old fan motor, a hula hoop and some wood, all from a salvage yard. That is when I learned to see the resources around me to make art.

When I finished school, I was more preoccupied with making money than I was with making art, so I opted to get a job as an administrative assistant which then gave way to a career in upstate New York in call center management. That is when I learned I would rather have money than be a starving artist.

When the call center I worked at hosted an art competition, I decided to enter some of my work. I won by a landslide with a spray paint and acrylic rendition of a blue Na’vi from the movie Avatar. Winning that little art contest gave me more happiness than getting my second supervisor promotion. That is when I learned I secretly wanted a career in art.

When I switched to a career in Ballroom dance to have more time to create art, it all changed when I became consumed by a toxic relationship. As the abuse increased, my ability to create decreased. That is when I learned that if there is too much pain there is no art.

When I had the opportunity to reinvent myself after moving back to New York City, I got a job working part-time as a middle school art teacher. I also began teaching group paint classes at nursing homes with an art therapy company. The hours were few, the money was tight, and the struggle was real. That is when I learned to live through my biggest fear of being a starving artist.

When I had to choose whether to continue the path of art or not, I opted to start a career in therapeutic recreation because I was tired of being poor. The new job gave me the financial security I had always wanted at the cost of compounding stress. Along with the new job came a new husband and a new cat. As the stress increased, my ability to create once again decreased. That is when I learned that if there is too much stress there is no art.

When I was almost two years into career number three, I became extremely ill. After months of worsening symptoms, I left the job to focus on my health. With my biggest stress removed from my life, I thought that now that I would be able to easily create art in my free time. But I couldn’t. The pressure to create something perfect was too great and I found myself tangled in a web of fears. That is when I learned I needed to heal to be able to make art.

When Halloween 2020 came around, my husband and I transformed our home into the Mummy’s tomb for a game night. I painted portraits of Anubis, Osiris and Horus to decorate my walls. A toilet papier-mache mummy and a mummy cat were the centerpieces. When I finally finished with the all the decor, it felt amazing to be engulfed in my own art creation. That is when I learned I wanted to live surrounded by art.

When I took down all the Halloween decorations, I decided to recycle a canvas of flowers that I had hanging in my bedroom. I painted an image over it of my husband and I holding each other underneath an umbrella. Looking at it reminded me of the love and support I have in my relationship. That is when I learned art could provide real emotional comfort.

When I had surgery this past February to remove a large uterine fibroid, I saw it as an opportunity to really reflect on my life. I thought back to the times I felt most fulfilled and genuinely happy. The times I felt the most at peace, all had to do with art. That is when I learned art had always been the dream, and this whole time it was just waiting for me.

When I was able to finally start moving around, I took out all the art I had ever made from under the bed, where it had been all this time. I hung up all my favorite pieces in nice frames and adorned the walls. My living room went from average to art gallery within 3 weeks. That is when I learned that despite the challenges, I still managed to make incredible art throughout the years.

When I got to day three of Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Abundance Challenge, I had to draw all the money I felt I needed. As I did the assignment, it dawned on me that art was the key to my financial success. That so long as I focused on the art, the money would come. That is when I learned my true vehicle for success was art.

When I set up a section of my living room to be an art studio, it became easier to sit down and create. I mounted shelves in a section of the closet for art supplies and realized I had amassed quite a collection over the years. That is when I learned I already had everything I needed to start creating and exploring new art.

When I looked up all the art competitions for this year, I saw that the first one was for artworks made in pencil. Over a decade had passed since my last pencil drawing, but I was confident that I would be able to create something magnificent. For the first time, I was able to let go of all worries about what to draw and I just drew what I found inside of my heart: a picture of my husband morphing into the art that had consumed me. That is when I learned, I had an entire vault of art ideas just waiting in my heart.

While I was making art, I noticed how much better I felt every day. Every new piece brought on new challenges that forced me to dig deep, trust and continue to learn more about myself. Through the process of creating, I worked through the pain, trauma and fears I had built up that were causing the creative blockages I had tackled my whole life. That is when I learned I could heal myself with my art.

When I covered my cats’ three cardboard houses with collage, I let the memories of love be my guide as I designed. I was marveled by my own expression of love via my gift of art. That is when I learned that art is the secret to my true happiness.

When I saw a watercolor competition with a deadline for June, I decided to paint a portrait of my husband as a powerful “Alexander the Great” version of himself. As the days progressed, I could see my husband’s confidence start to shift. He started moving around the house with better posture and stopped complaining about his aches and pains. He said that every time he looked at the portrait, he felt like he was channeling that stronger version of himself and as a result he felt healthier. That is when I learned I had the power to heal others through my art.

When I create my online space, it will be full of art that entices you to look inside yourself to find the gift that is meant to be your vehicle for success. There will be a tab that says “Members”. Upon clicking it, a page filled with watercolor portraits will display. To become a member, a person will need to paint their own watercolor portrait using the custom watercolor healing kit and stenciled portrait that I provide them with. True healing begins when fear is relinquished. Breaking through the “I don’t know what I’m doing, I’ve never done this before” fear will be the first step in the process. As people begin to transform, more and more people will want to undergo the creative healing process themselves and become members. That is when the world will learn to heal itself with my art.


About the author

Andrilisa Read-Iglesias Lopes

Just an artist painting dreams with words...

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