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Meet Alyssia Strasser

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alyssia Strasser.

Alyssia, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I am a 23-year-old artist, born and raised in San Pedro, right by the harbor. I always have been drawn to the arts in many ways, through playing piano, writing stories, and lots of crafting- but I didn’t pursue the fine arts (like painting) until high school. I was particularly interested in macrame and knot-making throughout my early childhood and adolescence. I was obsessed with making friendship bracelets and made a little business out of it in fifth grade with my business cards I printed online. I grew up wanting to be an artisan but felt I could never achieve that dream, as I harshly learned in 8th grade during career week that artists don’t make a lot of money. I also grew up with poor motor skills in my hands (I struggled to cut and draw in straight lines and had very sloppy handwriting), so I struggled to perfect my art-making skills and was very hard on myself. I always tried to achieve perfection in art, compared myself to other people and their art-making skills, and I felt short. Art was my dream, but I put too many limitations on myself and gave up on this dream in childhood.

I began to paint and draw as a hobby in high school, and I truly loved it. I self-taught myself how to use acrylics and watercolors and continued making paintings into college (where I had to undo all the mistakes of self-teaching, haha). Fast forward to 2017, at 18 years old, and I was playing with different jobs- I tried pursuing web design and, for some time, wanted to teach art to middle school children. When those doors closed, it always led back to pursuing the fine arts, my passion. So, in my third year of community college in 2019, I changed my major to studio arts and set a plan for myself. I told myself I wanted to be a successful artist by the time I graduated from college in 2022. I studied artists through Instagram and social media, saw what they did to get where they are, and applied those things to myself and my art.

I had a few designs made by this time in late 2019 and started to create merchandise to sell, including stickers, pins, and sweatshirts. I had a big vision for 2020 and wanted to design more clothing- but the pandemic hit and brought many things to a halt. I was finishing up my last art classes before transferring to California State University Dominguez Hills, and during those first few months of COVID, I began drawing almost daily on my iPad using Procreate. I feel this is where my digital art journey started, and slowly I found my art style and a way of expressing myself through art that I was fully comfortable with. I started with these cute little suns that didn’t have much meaning, but quickly I began to incorporate more thought into my work as I questioned myself, “why do I want to make art?” My process grew as I continued my education at Dominguez Hills, and within the last two years, I’ve created a large body of digital art and paintings.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Over my life, I think I got in the way of myself when pursuing the arts. It took a long time to learn not to compare myself to others and be entirely comfortable with who I am. Two years before fully diving into the fine arts, I struggled with depression and was in an abusive relationship that I couldn’t get myself out of. This relationship laid on top of a threshold of trauma and sexual assault that happened in high school, but once I broke free and began therapy, I went full force into art and discovered who I truly am. This self-discovery period led to what I create today, as I dove into topics of the subconscious mind and healing from trauma.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a multidisciplinary artist who focuses on themes of the subconscious mind and the exploration of human emotions. My work also talks about facing and overcoming traumatic experiences, leading to healing journeys that ultimately uplift the collective Consciousness. Through my work, I bring awareness to how we treat our emotions as humans, emphasizing mental health as a whole. I create these figures, or “soul bodies,” as I call them, to talk about different emotions such as depression, stagnancy, and even positive emotions like joy and feelings of unity.

Vivid neon colors are a recurring theme in my work as I feel there is so much life and depth in these colors. Each “soul body” has its own color scheme and energy pattern inside its body, and in combination with the colors, these patterns tell a story about that figure’s energy. In addition, some have auras, which shine outside the body and further add to the soul body’s story. Often, they wander in an unknown space leading “somewhere,” which represents the subconscious mind. In this space, the soul bodies come across trauma, memories, and subjective reality based on their perceptions. This alternate reality created in my work can be applied to our daily lives and subconscious thinking.

I often create in both 2D and 3D mediums. However, I primarily work with paint on canvas and digital software to make my work. I start my process by brainstorming, sometimes using free association techniques, writing down everything that comes to mind. I often incorporate meditation practices into my brainstorming process to let the ideas and visions come through. Usually, the work’s title will come through to me first before the composition is worked out. Then, through the materials I use, I create this dimension where the “soul bodies” coexist in their own storylines.

The goal of my artwork and practice is to inspire action on healing and awakening in oneself. Mental health is important and will be an upcoming topic for the next few decades. It is essential for us to address our emotions as human beings and learn how to cope with them healthily. I hope my work inspires that spark of movement to look within and identify these emotions.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
I believe luck has played a significant role in the growth of my business on the internet. The pandemic brought a lot of thought to mental health and our mindsets, and coincidentally, my art merged with these topics and was heavily shared on the internet by spiritual and mental health repost pages. I grew exponentially because of these re-share accounts, allowing me to reach more people. I feel the timing of my art journey within the rise of social media has helped me tremendously as an artist, as I can connect with people worldwide, something that wasn’t as easy before technology.

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