"Fear is such a strange thing in my world- on the one hand it inspires me to action, because action is always the antidote to fear, and on the other hand it is a big theme behind a lot of my work."
Imagine a gentle, caring, delicate and curious Soul.. a Soul that cares about others, our ocean, our earth, the animals that are here now and that were here before us... a Soul that sees beyond the ordinary and past what many of our eyes can only physically see.. a Soul that can feel and understand the potential unison and love between different elements that many cannot even dream of, and then transfers that onto canvas in an indescribable language, a language of her own soul. That is Marissa Quinn.
Below she shares her story and what drives her creative process.
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Soul Shapers: Quick background and anything that you think we should know...
Marissa: I was born and raised in San Diego, California where I developed an early connection to the sea and a spiritual understanding of Nature's cycles. After high school, I left San Diego to live and work in Los Angeles for 7 years, where I obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Art (BFA), and a Master's Degree in Fine Art (MFA), concentrating in painting and drawing with an emphasis on art theory.
After completing grad school, I fell into a year of anxiety and felt a pull to move back home to live by the sea and allow myself to rediscover my True Self and to develop my career as a full time artist. I now live in a little studio in Encinitas, where I swim and surf and walk the shores as a daily creative centering practice.
SS: How was the process of becoming a full time artist for you? What were your fears?
Marissa: For me, becoming a full time artist was a natural progression that started during my years in graduate school. I made several connections with some key people in the gallery scene and landed a museum show at the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster (MOAH) right out of school. From that show I was able to establish myself as a working artist in the fine art scene of Los Angeles, and then from that platform I was able to build my core group of collectors of my gallery work, and expand a client base for freelance projects.
The first year out of graduate school I had a full time job as a manager Anthropologie, and began to connect my fine art to social media collaborations for their brand as well as its sister company, Urban Outfitters. This was my year of total hustle- I was working full time while maintaining the workload of a full time artist and running off an average of 4 hours of sleep a night in order to keep up with the opportunities that started rolling in.
After a year and a half I ended up leaving Anthropologie in order to honor my travel bug and ended up traveling solo out of my van from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada! I created a Kickstarter to support my trip and to fund my book that I am about to release called "The Rewild(her)'s Journey", which ended up boosting my career and inspiring people on a level that I had never expected would happen! I now am a full time artist and live entirely off my work.
Fear is such a strange thing in my world- on the one hand it inspires me to action, because action is always the antidote to fear, and on the other hand it is a big theme behind a lot of my work. It's like a necessary evil that at times will paralyze me in my tracks. Every morning I wake up and journal out my fears and pray and meditate over them. These fears typically revolve around three things- money, authenticity, and self worth. Part of my daily practice is letting go of limiting beliefs about myself and my career, and replacing these with positive truths and affirmations.
SS: Where does the passion of your style and subjects of the environment, botany, endangered species and their anatomy come from?
Marissa: I have a deep love for history and antiques and have always been aesthetically drawn to the early biological illustration artists. During my time in grad school I was mentored by an artist who was a medical illustrator and professor of life drawing in human anatomy. Under her mentorship we began to connect my natural aesthetic style with my natural love for the environment and connected the dots to create the body of work that I am still working on today. With my deep connection to the sea and nature from an early age, I think I naturally became interested in endangered species and environmental degradation. Some people are born with callings of responsibility in their souls, and I guess I am one of those people. I want to create work that inspires action- I want to walk my talk and lead by example.
SS: What charities are you associated with or passionate about supporting?
Marissa: I am currently supporting Changing Tides Foundation, which is a beautiful organization that teaches people how to travel and adventure consciously by leaving as little of a footprint as possible in foreign lands while creating a platform of projects for travelers to serve in while away from home.
OTHER CHARITIES I LOVE:
- Project Clean Uluwatu, which is a non-profit dedicated to cleaning up and helping the community of Uluwatu (a popular surf spot) in Bali.
- Lonely Whale Foundation, which is an organization working to save the whales while educating the public on single use plastic pollution in our oceans.
- Keiko Conservation, which is an organization for marine conservation.
- And lastly I have partnered with Surfrider Foundation, which is an activist network dedicated to protecting the oceans, and together we helped throw an event to show our community the film "Racing Extinction" in order to hold public discussion of our standards of conservation as a community.
SS: What moves your Soul and gives you motivation to create?
Marissa: I think I have a deep knowing and experience of what Divine Love feels like- its the driving force behind what I do. When I am in alignment with the Divine, I feel a light of inspiration that radiates out of me and that wants to touch and connect others through love and creativity. It is the thing in me that wants to cheer people on into their full potentials and to inspire the journey to the True Self. It is that same light that burns a fire in me to reconnect and rewild people back to Nature and back to unity.
SS: What does Soul mean to you?
Marissa: Soul is Divine light living and loving and burning through me. It is the language of Nature, the keeper of Deep Mystery/True Self, and the place where creativity expresses itself through visual language.
SS: What are some mindsets or perspectives that carry you throughout your every day life that allow you to strive for a balance between your art, work, and personal time?
Marissa: My mornings are sacred to me because my morning routine allows me the space and time to realign myself to my work and creative vision. Every morning I allow myself an hour of time to journal and read and meditate with my cup of coffee. I then do some form of exercise because this further aligns my soul and body into a positive flow and gives me the energy to get through a full day in the studio. My main mindset is "less of me, more of you" as I talk to my creative spirit and the Divine as I work.
SS: What has been your biggest challenge in becoming a full time artist?
Marissa: My biggest challenge in becoming a full time artist has been self care, positive self talk, and trusting that the Universe will continue to open up opportunities, finances, and connections to continue the work I began two years ago!
SS: Do you meditate? If so, what kind of meditation and what does it feed you and your soul?
Marissa: Yes! Every morning I do a 20 minute guided mediation through the Oprah and Deepak Chopra Meditation Center app on my phone, and it has helped me so much in creating mental balance before my studio time.
SS: What do you hope to achieve in your work? Spiritually, mentally, overall?
Marissa: My mission is to illuminate the connection of all life on earth and to alleviate suffering in order to inspire living a life connected to the True Self, Nature, and the Divine at full potential.
SS: What is the number one message and motive you hope to convey to your readers and friends through the discovery of you and your journey?
Marissa: That YOU ARE ENOUGH. No matter who you are or what your story is, you have the magic and power of the Divine residing in you, and with that power you are meant to create and inspire and work for the greatest good of all. No matter what lies are in your head or that you have been told over the course of your life, you are enough, more than enough to live a life at its fullest potential.
SS: If someone is feeling discouraged or down, how would you advise them to get their spark back and stay confident in what they are creating/doing, or finding it for the first time?
Marissa: Community!!! When I'm feeling stuck in a rut I gather my girl tribe around me and we hike, or we surf, or we cook, or we drink wine and cry our eyes out or belly laugh until it hurts. We are energetic beings, which means we naturally take on the energy surrounding us. When we step into the energy of authentic community, we refill our soul's gas tank, so to speak. Your tribe should be the people who encourage you on and fill you with truth and who will also challenge you and hold you accountable to your journey. Another thing that helps me is to have a passion or hobby for something other than what you are creating- for me this is surfing, hiking, and traveling. I love getting out of my studio and exploring in order to come back re-inspired and ready to shift my eyes from looking outward to looking inward.
SS: Who's Soul do you think you've helped shape lately?
Marissa: Hmm I don't know! I hope that I can help shape souls in my every day interactions- from saying hello to the lady at the grocery store to answering email questions from new artists, I hope to spread light and love in all of these interactions!
Marissa's recommended tools to help “shape your soul”:
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