Heroes and Art: Alisa May

Alisa bio photo

Alisa is an artist and mother of 3 from the bay area but now resides in Salt Lake City, UT. She is a passionate and empathic soul who has created a cause to help domestic abuse survivors, Heroes and Art. Through her creativity, she is able to connect to others on a deep level and spread her knowledge of what she has learned about being a domestic abuse survivor. Her art is visceral, raw, and evokes emotion furthering dialogue on an issue that’s close to her heart. It was such a pleasure to chat with Alisa and find out all of the many ways she is helping her community; she is an absolute inspiration.

Alisa May

How did get into painting and this cause?

I’m a survivor of domestic abuse and I also suffer from PTSD. My artwork isn’t necessarily intentional. Mostly, every piece is me working through my own issues. That’s how I deal with my life. When I’m overwhelmed, I stand in front of a canvas and let it spew, almost like a journal and when I feel a certain way, I just have to get it out.

What are your influences?

Honestly, my artwork is just me. It’s organic and raw. I’m not consciously influenced by outside sources like other painters or artists, it just comes out from my emotions.

However, I am inspired by any person, be it artist, homemaker, business person, I don’t care who you are; if you’re passionate I’m absolutely inspired. If I see and hear the passion, that’s what I thrive off of; living authentically.

How does your creative process work? Do you have a ritual or routine you subscribe to?

When I do fun goofy pieces, I’ll put a playlist on and have snacks or something, but with my emotional pieces, no, I just have to get it out or my head will explode.

What do you get out of it on a deeper level?

It’s all me. It’s very raw. When I first showed people my art for the first time, I was shocked to hear people like them because I felt like they were just a mess. But, I create to get out my emotions, to work past my issues.

I also want my art to make you feel something; I want you to ask why. I want people to look under the surface and ask “why am I angry that she has done this?” I’m such a “why” person because it leads to better understanding. I want others to ask why and understand the deeper issues under the surface.

How has it changed your life, even minimally, in your day-to-day?

My life has changed drastically. Ugh, I don’t want to say this because it sounds so cliche, but it has literally saved my life. I didn’t do this to be public. When I first started creating I didn’t intend it to be public. These pieces, I’m not overstating, are my journal. It’s how I purge. It’s how I get past and have accepted a lot of things in my life.

What are some of the best moments you’ve had with your artwork?

Going to this workshop, and learning the different definitions of success and learning about myself. It was about how everyone has their own version of success and I learned what my version was. Of course, it would be amazing to make a living off of my art, but that is not my primary reason for it. If I can help just one person, then I will feel successful, and I have had people send me messages saying “thank you for what you’re doing because I got help” or “I got someone I love help”. That is another big reason why I do what I do and why I started Heroes and Art. Contributing to issues and causes that touch me define my success.

What keeps you motivated?

I can say whatever I want, I’m not bound to anything like you are when you have a job that you have to answer to someone. I’m only bound to my children and keeping them and myself safe.

Also, I speak to survivors and I ask myself “how do I help these women?”  If I’m feeling this way or have felt this way then I know there are other people feeling like this. I want them to know they aren’t alone. When you’re hurting or when you have depression or a local bill is passed that people you love are supporting, it hurts, and it makes you feel alone. My heart always says, “How can I help?” It’s very organic for me.

Assaults usually occur by people we know, so education is most important. It’s important for me to help spread what I know so it can help another person.

Do you have a website? 

Heroes and Art Website

Heroes and Art Facebook

You can also find her on Instagram under heroesandart

Alisa’s playlist:

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