“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Maya Angelou
Every time I’ve made a radical change, it’s pushed my art career forward.
Born into a military family, I lived in a dozen different international cultures before I was 20. The more differences I saw, the more I understood we are all one family connected to a fragile planet. I was trying to paint this idea when I was only 10.
Water unites all living things, so it’s no accident that I chose water media as my means of personal commentary on global issues such as environmental sustainability and women’s empowerment. We swim together with the flow of the universe. (Of course, there are days when I find myself swimming against that flow and I end up like a beached whale.)
For all my adult life I’ve had a substantial organic garden. Watching dirt change into ripe fruit, one learns to trust the divine order behind the creative chaos. Painting requires me to put faith in the universal creative process, and that I believe, is the key to true personal empowerment.
I have noticed that I cannot rise higher than my current vision of myself. Clarity and focus are twin booster rockets. Over my life, as my vision has expanded, I have moved through diverse and unusual career experiences. I’ve been a professional musician, a microbiologist and a graphic designer. I’ve been a business strategist and a creative director and run my own full-service advertising agency. I’ve been an international marketing consultant and led business missions to places as far-flung as India, Central America, Europe and China. I’ve also built a global foundation for wealthy philanthropists and run a local nonprofit offering health empowerment to the disenfranchised – But like the water, my painting has always been there to reflect the meaning behind each of life’s challenging adventures.
I believe Artists are the real architects of social change. We are the magicians who see through the chaos to materialize the ideas. Every experience gives us new spells to bring to our canvas. In 2003, I was one of the founders of CreativeTampaBay, a nonprofit organization which serves as a catalyst for economic and social development in the region by promoting principles of the creative economy and supporting our creative industries. Happily, it continues to exist today, spawning ferment and vitality in the Tampa Bay community.
I’m delighted to be the Director for Community Stepping Stones, a nonprofit learning center offering an integrated arts curriculum designed to inspire, educate, and prepare at-risk youth to become successful adults. I thought I knew something about life when I came here. HAH! Nothing will wake you up as much as teens+art+nonprofits. This is like the PeaceCorps: the toughest job you’ll ever love.
So, after so many exciting career experiences, it is only now that I feel qualified for the full responsibility of letting the paint speak. Like a chef in a kitchen, I see myself seasoning life’s savory successes with a pinch of spicy screw-ups and letting them rise together in the creative oven. Through teaching and painting and spreading the creative word, I hope we connect to become more open, healed, inspired and sustained in these challenging times.
As Einstein said,” The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”
I bless you on your way.
Sigrid paints in Tampa, Florida and Puerto Cayo, Ecuador, but she considers the world her studio.