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Meet Trailblazer Alisa Simpson-Fulghum

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alisa Simpson-Fulghum.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember and at the age of ten, won my first art competition. My family moved several times during my childhood, so I didn’t grow up with close friends and being raised as an only child, I spent many hours drawing and coloring. Art became a “friend” that was always with me. Beginning in elementary school, I was sketching on everything, and all the way through high school, I was creating drawings for my family, classmates, and teachers. I was even asked to paint the school mascot on the new gymnasium floor. I had a wonderful art teacher in high school who believed in my abilities and encouraged me to hone my skills daily. I remember one of the first times in high school that I felt I could be an artist as a career was when I traded one of my drawings to an optometrist for my first pair of contact lenses. It was so exciting to think people valued my work! My desire to create art was rivaled only by my love of animals and nature, and bringing them together became my passion. It has fostered in me the desire to capture the beauty and complexity of the organic and biomorphic.

After high school, I attended the Savannah College of Art and Design but had to leave before completing my degree. My father became gravely ill and I was needed at home. After his passing, I felt a bit lost, as he was one of my greatest supporters, and my art was no longer my number one priority. It took a while for me to get back on the correct path. I married my high school sweetheart who had joined the Air Force and we traveled across the U.S. living in at least eight states including Alaska and Hawaii. I spent over a decade working different jobs before I was able to complete my degree and pursue my passion for creating art full time.

My education includes instruction at Gulf Coast College and the University of Alaska where I completed my Bachelor of Fine Art degree. My mediums of choice are drawing in graphite, colored pencil and pastel, and painting in oil and acrylic. I also enjoy working in mixed mediums when the subject matter seems to call for it.

I do not consider my education complete, but continually strive to learn and improve my skills as an artist. I do this by attending art workshops and demonstrations, and watching online tutorials. It is also nice to have a network of local artists to meet with and exchange techniques and ideas. Working full-time in my studio, I have participated in many juried and judged exhibitions, winning multiple awards. I have had solo exhibitions and work with clients on numerous private commissions.

The term Artist is not only a description of what I do but who I was created to be. I consider one of my greatest accomplishments to be creating artwork that people connect with on a deep and personal level. There is nothing like the feeling of having a client tell me they are deeply moved each time they see the artwork I have created for them. It validates I am on the right path for my life.

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?
Life is full of struggles… some larger than others. Life has a way of trying to beat you down at times and the first time I felt that very strongly was when I lost my dad. Not long after that, I lost my mother. I was far from any semblance of home trying to raise our two children on my own and hold down a full-time job while my husband was deployed for many months at a time. As I tried to get back to creating art, there were negative people criticizing my dreams and reminding me that the odds were against me. We were moving every 18-36 months, so there was never the feeling of putting down roots or being settled. Some of my struggles were self-induced by listening to negative talk and not making the right decisions to put myself on the path to my own happiness.

I was listening to what others thought I should be doing with my life and pursuing making money instead of making art. It took many years of working different jobs and feeling miserable to a degree in all of them before I began doing what I needed to do. Occasional free-lance commissions for clients were the bright spots all along the way before I was able to come to a place where I could create art every day again. I didn’t stay in one place long enough to become established as an artist in any community until I moved to Texas in 2008.

Please tell us about ASFulghum Fine Art – what should we know?
I create original works of art every day in my studio. One of the most rewarding things I do is work with clients on projects that they absolutely love to have in their personal and professional spaces.

When I’m not working on a private commission, I travel and take hundreds of reference photographs and then use those references to share a moment in time from my experiences. I tell a visual story people can relate to in some way. I get excited about the play of light and color on a subject, and the feelings that are evoked. My current focus is equine art and I cherish the time spent with my horses as much as the time spent in my studio.

What sets me apart from others is that no one else has had the exact same life experiences that I bring to the drawing table or easel. This vision is the gift that I share with all who are open to receive it through my artwork.

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
My favorite memories from childhood come from spending time with my father. In the outdoors, whether we were at the ocean or the mountains, or anywhere in between, there was a life lesson to be learned. He taught me to garden, take care of animals, and appreciate this very precious gift of time we have here on this Earth. He instilled in me to be the eternal optimist, to never give up on myself or my dreams. And while many re-locations made me feel like I never had one place to call home, it helped me to be flexible, creative, and to adapt and overcome adversities.

He taught me to laugh and to find joy in as many things as you possibly can. He encouraged me to pursue my art from a very young age because he was the first to recognize it was who I was created to be.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Liz Wright Pantall, Gary O’Dell

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