I went to art school but instead of becoming a full time artist, I moved to New York and started working in not-for-profits hoping I would have time to paint after work. Well, that didn’t exactly go as planned. 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, I was a caseworker on Staten Island. On 9/11, I was in lower Manhattan rushing to get to the ferry when the 2nd plane hit. Although I can’t erase the sound or the sights out of my mind, that wasn’t the only reason for my PTSD symptoms. It was the planes overhead and the constant military presence in the subways. It was visiting ground zero with my boss (who lived there) and feeling overcome by all of the military checkpoints. It was seeing what was no longer there. And there was also an incident with a client’s mother that I can’t forget and don’t want to re-live.
Despite the stress and anxiety, I moved forward. I love helping people and decided to get a MSW. I don’t think I knew or admitted to myself how completely stressed and overwhelmed I felt. I did self-care – I painted, worked out, spent time with friends. But the memories and anxiety were taking a toll. My therapist at the time told me to literally stop to smell the roses. I tried and couldn’t. Being in the moment felt impossible.
Four years later, after being completely burnt out as a social worker and therapist, I was laid off. You know those times when people say they are grateful for something awful that happened to them? Well this was one of those times for me. Although I had this huge cloud hanging over me that I couldn’t shake, I finally had time to really pick up a paintbrush again and started to incorporate art back into my life with an intensity I hadn’t seen since art school.
Soon after my (then) husband and I decided to move to Chicago to start a family. There we were, caravaning our car and a small u-haul from NYC to Chicago. Once we got 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.
I strive for my work to embrace the calm, quiet, simple aspects of nature. Be that through an image of a bird perched on a wire or a view of a landscape with a large open sky, I love capturing these moments on canvas. It is important to me that my art gives the viewer a sense of peace and evokes feelings of freedom while celebrating the beauty of the world around us.
Elisa Ann Lindstrom paints stylized interpretations of American landscapes.
After participating in pop-up shows in New York in the early 2000s, Elisa opened her first Etsy shop in 2007. She was involved in local art fairs from 2010 to 2014. Now Elisa’s work can be seen in a number of Chicago area galleries and spaces. You can see her work at: Paperish Mess - Chicago, IL; Danon Gallery - Evanston, IL; and Creative Co-Working - Evanston, IL. Her work is online at Etsy and Saatchi.
Born and raised in Evanston, IL, Elisa moved to New York City after graduating from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA. While in New York, she received a Masters of Social Work from New York University. She lived in Brooklyn, NY and later Hoboken, NJ before moving back to her hometown.