I went to art school but instead of becoming a full time artist after I graduated, I moved to New York City and started working in not-for-profits. The plan was that I would have time to paint after work. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. For the next few years I worked in different not-for-profits (awesome) but I didn’t get a chance to really work on my art (not so awesome).
In 2001 while in lower Manhattan, rushing to get to the ferry, the 2nd plane hit. The trauma of that day, the constant sound of war planes overhead, and the military presence in the subway was overwhelming. Yet, I loved helping others and got a MSW. I don’t think I knew (or at least admitted to myself) how completely stressed out I was. My therapist told me to stop and smell the roses, but that seemed impossible. I tried self-care, painting, and working out, but the memories and the anxiety continued to take a toll.
Four years later, after being completely burnt out as a social worker and therapist, I was laid off. You would think that was terrible but it was the opposite. I finally had time to pick up a paintbrush again and started to incorporate art back into my life with an intensity I hadn’t seen in years. Soon after I decided to move to Chicago and drove west. Once out on the open road – that was when it happened – I saw the sky again. It was so big and blue and beautiful. It felt so freeing. And I remember taking this deep breath. This was what I had needed all of these years and I hadn’t even realized it.
Shop Evanston Made: Elisa Ann Lindstrom