Sheila is a contemporary artist who creates 1-3 dimensional art installations, drawings, paintings, sculptures, and photography. Her works have been featured in exhibitions across North America and at the Liberty show at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Her art is always a visual interpretation of her internal landscape, which is significantly influenced by external landscapes. Her collection of work is an indirect reflection of her colorful, turbulent home, Miami.
Miami, where multi-cultural history and the future clash on a daily basis, is a luminous kaleidoscope of raw, sincere emotions and harsh realities; urban tension mixed with profound beauty, compassion, and optimism.
What was your first inspiration you can remember wanting to paint/draw?
The Art Institute of Chicago is what inspired me to paint and draw when I was a child. I remember my mother taking me there when I was eight years old and I recall standing in front of a Matisse and my heart stopped. I told my mother I wanted to come here every day and she said that I still had to go to school, but that I could go to Saturday classes there all summer. And I did.
Who are artists that inspire you?
Matisse, Anselm Keifer, Francis Bacon, Alice Neel, Roy Lichtenstein, Yayoi Kusama
What has been the most challenging moment in your career?
I think that being an artist in undergraduate school and the mother of two was a bit hard. I had to manage the creative outpour while balancing the artwork, the career, and motherhood. In retrospect, I evidently passed this on to my daughter and son, who are both practicing artists themselves.
What has been your proudest moment?
While I was exhibiting at Alex Rosenberg’s Gallery in New York City, I was asked to participate with my piece “Two French Girls” in an exhibit of art and memorabilia depicting Lady Liberty that opened at The Louvre. I was one of the two contemporary American painters whose work was chosen for the exhibit. The Franco-American Committee, a group of French and United States citizens, organized the show to commemorate the Statue of Liberty’s 100th anniversary that year at the Louvre, Institute des Decoratifs, “Liberty: the Official Exhibitions Centenary.
What do you consider your biggest challenge or weakness?
For me the biggest challenge is getting a steady art dealer that will be both a mentor and do really good at selling my work since I am not interested in dealing with the sales.
What do you consider your biggest strength?
I am always coming up with new and inventive series and embracing new technology at every turn and learning from the present. Creating my series iPaint on my iPad has brought me a large exhibition schedule including museums, Hong Kong Art Basel and Apple stores all over the world. The work is translated from the iPad onto canvas, paper or metal. The largest piece created is 5 x 6 ft.
What was the greatest lesson you learned from a mistake?
That everyone makes mistakes. I am not embarrassed by them- I try to correct them though.
What do you love most about what you do?
The act of creation is quite a gift and I feel very blessed to have this in my life.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My mother always said that to me “just go for it” and I have always done exactly that. I do not have hesitations; if you stop to question something too many times you may not end up doing it at all. I do not fear trying new things.
How do you define happiness?
Inner peace and joy in one’s family. Good health is also a plus.
What book has made the biggest impact on your life?
I really enjoyed Walter Isaacson’s books about Steve Jobs and Einstein. I always enjoy reading books about people who are original and have creative thinking.
What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
MY GLASS HALF FULL ATTITUDE. My energetic and youthful disposition- I like to give people joy when they look at one of my pieces. Critic Peter Peter Frank, who has followed Elias’s work for almost three decades said, “she is one of the few artists that paint about the optimism instead of the pessimism of life.”
What higher purpose you aim to achieve through your art?
I like to bring an awareness of new directions and individual inventiveness.