Miami, Florida / United States
Leah, you are a professional artist and Board Certified Art therapist. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey into the art world (brief bio/ history/backstory)?
I’ve been an artist all my life. I still have my first sculpture from kindergarten and paint by numbers. It was in high school where I started to take my art more seriously and entered juried shows. One of the judges actually sent me an article about art therapy because of my interest in psychology and art. It was an “aha” where I knew that was the direction I needed to take. High school was turbulent, I moved to 3 different schools because of my mother’s work. Art was my escape and a way for me to deal with the transitions and grief of leaving behind what I have known. I have an undergraduate degree in studio sculpture. I received my master’s in art therapy. I continued to practice art therapy and took a break from my art. It was when my children were small that I had a dark night of the soul experience where I realized I needed to be making art again, this time share it with the world.
You have partnered with brands like Bombay Sapphire, Sacred Space Miami, and West Elm. What was the collaboration like for you and what did you create for these brands?
Every year Miami, where I live, hosts an international art fair. Art lovers from all over the world come to celebrate art. Big companies sponsor events, art shows and parties. Bombay Sapphire had a juried exhibit during this week where my work, Divinely Aligned was showcased. It always feels amazing to be a participating artist in the events. It’s a huge buzz.
Another year during Miami art week I wanted to create my own event and partnered with Sacred Space Miami. It was an art show that incorporated a writing workshop for asking the Universe for your desires and an interactive labyrinth to be walked. As you walked the manifesting labyrinth you repeated the mantra created from the writing exercise. And you place your wish in the center of the labyrinth. We had a sound bath too.
West Elm is one of my favorite places to shop. My home is mostly decorated with their furniture. I had asked them if I could collaborate with them and I had a pop-up shop one weekend.
You have developed online art therapy sessions supporting creative individuals dealing with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Could you please describe how your art therapy looks and promote it to our audience?
Yes, as a mom myself I know that we have to take care of everyone’s else needs. The sacrifice leads to burn out. I know this from my own personal experience when I spoke about the dark night of the soul. I dealt with my own anxiety and bouts of depression. I also had the people pleasing syndrome. It was an opportunity for me to get support from an art therapist. This is where I did my healing and realized how I needed space to create, set some boundaries, made time for myself, manifested our dream home and a home studio. There are times in our lives when we do need to seek help from outside ourselves. Sometimes we don’t want to invest in ourselves or we think we can do it on our own. Yet, it only makes the suffering last longer and you don’t get to see a new perspective of the habits that are going on in your life. So, I offer art therapy services to creatives that need emotional support. This is through the art-making process. I also offer coaching for creatives who are wanting to be visible in the world yet are stuck. They may have to do inner healing to gain their self-confidence and get clarity on their message.
You have also created a signature course called Art of Healing and Manifesting and you run several other online classes. Who are the ideal clients for these classes and courses? What makes them unique?
My clients are women who want to show up in the world offering their gifts. What makes my classes unique is that I’m a trained art therapist so I use art as a way to teach and help my clients heal when needed. Anytime you want to show up in a bigger way in your life and manifest desire obstacles appear. I teach tools from my training as an art therapist, law of attraction techniques and chakra knowledge to support my clients in navigating life. It’s a holistic approach. As you show up for yourself it’s a ripple effect for those around you, your family and friends.
We mustn’t forget that you are also an author of two books, Rad is Smad! Was your first art therapy book and you also released the Essential Art Therapy Exercises. Can you tell us about them?
Rad is Smad actually came about from the art therapy that I sought for myself when my kids were younger. At the time I wasn’t creating art. I wanted to get back into creating. My son was about 5 and really into monster trucks. I was providing art therapy to at-risk children with extreme behavior and emotional issues. The book teaches children how to deal with sad and mad feelings. The second book is a best seller and was just translated into Chinese. It supports creatives who want techniques to manage anxiety and depression.
I’m in love with your current art series! What does it do for you?
Thank you so much. My art is my self-care. It uplifts me and my intention when creating it is to bring that energy to the canvas. I want to resonate at a high frequency so that people can see it when they view my work. I incorporate the Golden Ratio which actually gives it an underlying harmony that is found in nature.
What are the biggest challenges at the moment?
I would say that I have a lot of amazing projects going on. I have an art making membership group called Creative soul Society. I have my online programs, my family and I’m writing another book. So, as I’m expanding I’m bringing in support. I have a team that I work with to keep me on track. Right now it’s moving forward with my big vision and managing the moving parts.
What your plans for the future (career, parenting, art)?
Continue to show up and serve. Continue to show up and create. Continue to show up and love.
Who inspires you?
I definitely get inspired by artists on instagram. I love Lisa Congdon, Ashley Longshore, Audrey Kawasaki, Hueman, I have a ton. I try my best to put blinders on for my own art. I really want to be authentic and make art that is true to my soul.
What advice do you have for fellow art mums?
Make yourself a priority. Self-care is not a luxury, it's a necessity. As you care for yourself it will have a ripple effect on your children. Show them how you can make yourself happy. And don’t be ashamed of getting help when you need it. Be honest about where you're at, build a team of support around you, you're worth it. You have the biggest and most important job in the world!!!!