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Bold Journey

Bold Journey

by Aliza Marton

Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Aliza Marton. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.

Aliza, we’re thrilled to have you sharing your thoughts and lessons with our community. So, for folks who are at a stage in their life or career where they are trying to be more resilient, can you share where you get your resilience from?

I would have to say that my resilience comes from, thank God, having had the ability to overcome a number of difficult challenges and to learn to accept and manage the challenges I have yet to figure a way out of.

As a child and teenager, the school I went to did not provide an official art class so… all my classes were unofficially my art classes. I wasn’t really academic. Creativity and imagination occupied my mind. Lost in my own thoughts I would draw on everything! My parents and teachers definitely did not appreciate this.

My father lost his job when I was 13. Financially there were always challenges. Always working little jobs here and there I never made my own dreams a priority. To buy clothing and other necessities I worked in office jobs, babysat, waited on tables, and always found some kind of work to get what I needed. Life got busy and no one wanted me to “waste time” with art. To be an Artist was considered to be an expensive habit and always had the word “starving” attached to it.

Life continued to keep me busy. I always had 1-4 jobs at any given time while finishing a degree in psychology and education at UCLA. I got married to a wonderful man and we built a family together. My creativity went into teaching young children, raising a family, and cooking. At that point in time I never even entertained the thought of doing something solely for myself such as painting. As a wife and mother taking care of everyone else, it’s easy to lose yourself in everyone else’s needs.
At age 37 I attempted to make time for sketching . I went to an art store and bought myself a sketch pad and pencils and slowly began my dream. Just as art was starting to become a part of my life, my son was in a near death accident. I happily shifted all of my time to caring for him (along with the rest of my family), nursing him back to health through physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy for the next few years. At age 39 I discovered I had Hashimoto’s disease after surgery to remove a tumor on a parathyroid. A few months later, I gave myself the most wonderful gift – a painting class that met once a week! I sat next to my 12 year old daughter and began to paint as she had been for the last 7 years. It was so much easier to sign my daughters up for art classes then to allow myself the opportunity. I had to fight myself over so much guilt at doing something good for myself. I really thought it was the most selfish thing.

Once I began to paint, I could not stop! My head is always swirling with ideas. I love painting with a passion! Over the years, I developed different autoimmune diseases that have made simple things more challenging. Over the last 13 years, I have come to realize that not only is it ok to do good things for ourselves but by doing so, we have more to offer. Having survived various traumatic experiences, I learned to express myself and to heal through art. Being timid and shy as a child, I have learned to break out of my shell by expressing myself through art. Wether through traumatic experiences or through physical challenges, I have found the gift of artistic expression healing in so many ways. I try to make empathy a part of my relationships and I am motivated to create art that touches others deeply. I am grateful to be able to teach this to my students. Through painting I have learned to trust myself, experiment with different materials, and free myself of judgement from others and, most importantly, from myself.

Thanks for sharing that. So, before we get any further into our conversation, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and what you’re working on?
I began painting 13 years ago. It was love at first sight! It became a way of expressing my innermost thoughts and dreams. Although I had very little experience, the few people who saw my paintings begged me to teach their children how to paint. This idea did not make sense to me since I had so little experience myself. Everyone kept encouraging me with comments like, “I know you. Whatever you don’t know you’ll research and learn.” Some were so persistent. I called the person who ran the studio where I first started painting to get her thoughts and her response surprised me the most. She said, “Aliza, you have to teach! You have so much patience and I’ll send you students”. From there I began teaching two classes a week and grew from there. Today, I am teaching less and painting more myself. I have some of my art in The Messengers Gallery in Santa Monica California, I have some pieces in Neshama Art Gallery in Hollywood Florida, and I just finished a couple of workshops for the National Jewish Retreat in Palm Springs California

Aside, from living the dream of becoming an artist, what is really so special for me is seeing collectors develop a deep emotional connection to my art. There were many people who saw certain paintings and began to cry because it touched them in some way. Sometimes letting them know it’ll be ok. Providing hope and letting them know they’re not alone. We all go through challenges. One man bought a piece and came back to me the next day that he learned more on the subject and the painting has greater meaning to him now. These are the experiences that I treasure in sharing my art and make me realize the challenges I have overcome are not for nothing.

If you had to pick three qualities that are most important to develop, which three would you say matter most?
Looking back, I would say, never letting go of your dreams, you are worthy of joy and fulfillment. As a mother, I think it was always easier to take care of everyone else’s needs. To do something for myself felt so selfish. Adding oneself to the juggle of responsibilities is not a bad thing. It’s not just ok to take time for yourself to create but beneficial to everyone around you. For those of you just beginning to find your voice through art, don’t be afraid to share. Create what is in your heart and be true to yourself.

One thing I learned while painting, is that time flies when you truly enjoy what you are doing! After painting through the night, one might think that I would have no energy left. What I found though, is that when you are passionate about what you do, you become energized! Art feeds my soul in a way nothing else can. It’s like the air we breathe. It’s integral to who I am. I can’t believe how long I denied myself of this personal intrinsic need. I may have started my journey late, but better late than never. You can’t know if you will succeed until you try.

If you too are someone who feels guilt when taking care of your own needs and pursuing your desires, picture yourself sitting with a child on an airplane. The flight attendant always says to put on the oxygen mask first before assisting a child.

One of our goals is to help like-minded folks with similar goals connect and so before we go we want to ask if you are looking to partner or collab with others – and if so, what would make the ideal collaborator or partner?
One of my greatest joys is speaking with my collectors and hearing their stories of how they have seen their personal journeys reflected in my paintings. While I certainly want people to find my artwork beautiful, their recognition of the spirituality, emotion, and evolution that each piece represents is the most rewarding. I have been blessed to have had a number of opportunities to collaborate with artists, musicians, and speakers of all kinds. The most powerful have been with those who share my passion for connecting deeply with individuals and with groups who find peace, joy, and comfort through these shared experiences. The beauty of art is that it can be interpreted in so many ways. Often, two people will look at the same painting and see totally different things. One’s unique history, thoughts and emotions blend with the images they see to create a truly personalized experience.

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