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Meet Angela Grissom

Today we’d like to introduce you to Angela Grissom.

Angela, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born and raised in Oklahoma by a family versed in technology. My mom was an accountant and my dad was a programmer for the University of Oklahoma. My dad was always working on computers, so art and expression through art was never something that was introduced to me. Most people in the arts have done it since they were young, but I never thought that was a possibility for me as a child. I thought art was something you had to be good at, and since I didn’t know anything about it, I never explored it. I was very shy growing up and was scared to death of expressing myself. This caused a lot of problems for me because I had yet to discover a proper outlet. I explored a ton of extracurricular activities in school, but would always quit pretty quickly. Nothing ever felt right for me. So I continued to struggle through life with what I later discovered was mental health issues. I hid behind alcohol for the longest time, as it was the only thing that brought me out of my shell. I eventually went to college and got a degree in Information Technology thinking that was the path I was meant to take. It was all I knew how to do because it was what I grew up around. Well, that didn’t make me happy at all. I was never interested in it…I just fooled myself into thinking I was. So I continued to float through life confused, depressed, unhappy, and full of problems. I had been internalizing my feelings for so long that I barely knew how to function properly. I never really had many friends because I was unable to form deep connections. This led to an even deeper unhappiness.

It wasn’t until my late 30’s that my life was finally transformed forever, Thanks to the help of a friend, I discovered my creative abilities and natural talent. I had finally found the outlet I had been seeking my entire life – I discovered art. I found my passion for painting…and that passion ran deep. At last, I was able to let go of all of the years of pain and confusion that life was causing me. All those years of internalized emotions melted away and onto the canvas. I felt like I had a purpose like I had been reborn, I eagerly began my new life of learning how to express myself through the paintbrush. I began living and breathing art. I became prolific and started producing a painting a day for years…sometimes as many as five in one day. It was the ultimate therapy. Painting became as important as breathing for me. When I paint, my emotions completely take over. It’s how I process my emotions, and the canvas is where I leave them. It helped bring my mental health issues to the surface instead of numbing them with unhealthy alternatives.

I am a self-taught artist because you cannot teach how to paint with pure emotions. But I was so deeply passionate about my craft, that I decided I wanted to educate myself. So I enrolled in Studio Arts at the University of Central Oklahoma. I got a job at the University of Oklahoma’s art museum, Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art, as a security guard protecting the paintings. In school, I took other art classes and explored other mediums. I really enjoyed working with wood. I made a wooden Yo-Yo by hand, and it was entered into a school art show. After a year of education and a few local art shows, I decided that my sleepy town was no longer the place for me. I knew I wanted to live in a city where I would be met with the same pace I had set for myself – I was moving fast. I was producing more art than my little apartment could even hold. I had done over 400 paintings in the three short years since my discovery. I chose Los Angeles because I knew it was booming with creativity, So after I finished the semester, I packed my things, rented a u-haul, and with the help of my wonderful partner, moved across country to the amazing city of Los Angeles to start my new life.

Since living in LA, I have discovered more than I ever thought possible – I found myself. This city has incredible opportunities at every corner, and I am discovering more creative outlets everyday…acting being one of them. I am currently pursuing that along with my art business, Angela Grissom ART.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Wow…yeah…it has most definitely not been a smooth road. I’ve had more struggles than I can even remember. The most important one being my mental health. I personally feel like mental health awareness is the most important thing in the world, and I wish there was more focus surrounding it. I wish people didn’t feel like it meant something was wrong with them. I have embraced mine, and it has helped me learn even more about myself. Since I discovered art, I finally put away the unhealthy substances and found help. I went to a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with extreme attention deficient hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, ocd, and bipolar disorder. I was actually very relieved by this awareness. I knew that the right medications would help the symptoms I had been struggling with my whole life, and I have never been happier. Me and my paintings are the story of my journey of healing myself…the pieces of my life documented as I move past each struggle I face in life. When I paint, I am able to completely clear my head and work from the heart. I never feel as completely free and confident as I do after I paint.

Please tell us more about your art.
I am an artist. My business, Angela Grissom ART, are my works of art. I focus on Abstract Expressionism. I started with acrylic on canvas, and slowly moved onto oils. I am currently exploring non-traditional mediums such as digital art. Since my mind interprets abstract images very easily, I enjoy encouraging others to see the world through my lens. I rarely title my works because I prefer the viewer use their imagination to find the meaning in it themselves. I like to hear what they see, how they feel. I don’t want to tell someone how to do these things. I let my work speak for itself.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
The scholastic book fair. It was an exciting day for me. Also going to the library and checking out the maximum number of books. It was thirteen at the time, I enjoyed mysteries and thrillers with some Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High type books sprinkled in.

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