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“I make art to feel still. Art helps me feel free and helps me to grow internally.”
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Selah Rose always had a love for art, but it wasn’t until she was faced with chronic illness and disability that she was brave enough to consider it as a career.
As a child, she fell in love with color while watching her cousin draw. Though she admired his style, she was much more interested in abstract art. Selah remembers being excited about opening her new boxes of crayons and a variety of markers. This love for the abstract followed her into adulthood where she attended Gateway Arts, an arts program located in Boston, MA for individuals living with mental disabilities.
Art has helped Selah express feelings she could not find the words to explain. She states, “Art has helped me focus on creating and helps me to let go of anxiety, and has helped me to not have to deal with constant reminders of things that have been difficult for me.” Her creative outlet helps her move through different aspects of life, like entering into her senior years, seasons of loneliness, and navigating a chronic cardiac diagnosis which resulted in a quadruple bypass surgery. Art, to Selah, is a meditative process.
She describes her creative process as sacred. She starts with a hope, a feeling, intention or problem, and then gets inspired. “I put my favorite music on and let go and watch as parts of myself merge, blend, resist, like, dislike, dance and expand to create a beautiful work of art.”
Through her creative process, Selah realized that she does not have to be perfect. She has learned how to walk away from projects and take breaks when her work feels less enjoyable or productive. She states, “It’s like catching a fresh breath and going back to the sacred, calm, inner space,” where she allows herself “to let the work become.” This practice not only applies to her art but to her life.
Her favorite medium is alcohol ink. “I love how I can let it merge across the paper and let go of total rigid control, and let it be what it will.” She also works with pouring acrylic paints and resin markers. She shares that fluid-inspired art has helped drop barriers and pour out her soul, emotions, and love into her work.
Selah's artwork is defined by fluid forms of colorful inks, often with a lustrous finish. The pools of color bleed into one another, creating layers of vibrant and light-catching organic shapes. The swirling effect creates a sense of lightness and mystery bringing to mind a primordial lake, semi-precious stones, or a magical elixir. The artist's touch is visible in occasional drops and long applications of water, creating expanding lightly hued areas within the currents of rich saturation. The careful selection of and pairing of colors brings a dreamy play of light and shadow to Selah's soothing abstract compositions.
Selah loves to look inside the minds and souls of others through art. She relishes in the uniqueness of individual art practices. Even if two people have the same visual style or preference for media, every artist has their own creative fingerprint. Selah believes, “We are all individuals but so very connected.”
Selah is proud that she was able to become a mother to multiple adopted children while living with a disability and overcoming tragedy and loss. She is grateful for the support of mental health professionals who have guided her through tough times. When asked about her greatest accomplishments, Selah shares, “I have accomplished being my artist self, and allowing myself to be seen.”
In terms of goals, she dreams of having her artwork exhibited in a gallery for many people to see and learn her story. She is eager to connect with new creative peers and people who are interested in her work. Above all, spending more time with her family is something Selah looks forward to along with the hope that she can earn income through her art despite living with a chronic neurological condition.
In the community, she has volunteered as a mentor and advocate for children. She is passionate about child welfare, mental healthcare, movements against racism and gun violence. She hopes to see the world change for the better so her children and grandchildren can live in peace.
In her free time, Selah enjoys spending time with her two cats, children, and grandchildren. She loves to cook, learn about art, and practice her faith. She’s grateful for the opportunity to work with ArtLifting and is excited to get closer to achieving her goals.
ArtLifting champions artists impacted by disabilities and housing insecurity by connecting their art with socially-conscious customers . Learn more here.