Carrie Neiss

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Architecture ’93

I graduated from RISD with a degree in Architecture in 1993. Soon after graduation, I started to witness my body whispering to me, telling me I was on the wrong track. This came about after a series of anxiety and depressive episodes, as I tried to work in an architect’s office. Rather quickly it became clear to me that my mission was to become a painter instead of an architect. The shift was diifficult yet necessary. As soon as I picked up a paintbrush, I felt at ease and peaceful on my new journey as an artist.

As I took a deep look inside myself I began making portraits, which I‘ve done for many years now, depicting my inner world as I have journeyed through life. I’ve painted and draw my own spirit and others, as if in another realm or lifetime. I felt more at ease on an etheric plane than on the ground we all walk on. But at one point I began to feel very small and isolated from the rest of the planet. My immune system was depleted, and I became very sick. This forced me to look at my body. My pain brought me down to earth, back from the spiritual plane I was so comfortable on.

I went from doctor to doctor and it turned out that I had a very severe sensitivity to mold. During this time I always kept a portable studio, drawing on paper to document my inner journey. My portraits showed the suffering of my human experience, mirroring my own journey as I felt the pain that was necessary for the healing process to continue.

No longer stuck in my own head, I let life in a little at a time. Through these challenging years I have become more authentic, patient, and compassionate towards others. I am learning not to hide the person I truly am. My health is still challenged, but I trust that the healing which is necessary will bring me to a wiser place of understanding and compassion for life. I am grateful to have been able to express these changes through my drawings and paintings. Aware that I am only a conduit, I embrace the opportunity and ability to draw from within.