With Captain Wells, we have had the opportunity to meet a lot of people that inspire us. We have become friends with a lot of different artists who continue to push and inspire us to create. However, we have also met people with inspirational stories outside of the convention circuit.
One such person is Tamela Wagner (TamelaBlessed), who I met while teaching in Tonganoxie, Kansas. Tamela was a paraprofessional and was in my classroom several times a week with the students she worked with. As we continued to talk, her love of art became more and more apparent and she eventually became comfortable sharing her art and her story with me.
Today, though we don’t work together anymore, I still keep tabs on her work through her social media accounts. Below is a Q&A I sent her just to get a better understanding of her story and her artistic process.
CW: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your art.
T: I’m a late bloomer. At 46, I found art during a very challenging time in my life. I was healing from a brainstem surgery, spinal cord surgery and strabismus surgery. I was diagnosed in 2011 with a genetic brain disease called Cavernous Angioma which basically are clusters of abnormal blood vessels that leak blood causing stroke like systems and depending on the brain bleed, death.
CW: How long have you been creating?
T: I’m 51 now so..5 years
CW: Why did you choose to do this type of art?
T: I started painting rocks which lead to paper then canvas as I began to feel more confident. My sister-in-law brought me a box of paint and brushes and a small canvas one day to try and lift my spirits. I was feeling very depressed because I physically couldn’t do much. Now I look back and realize that it was one of the best gifts I was ever given. The gift of expression and creativity. I loved art in high school but that was the extent of it.. I wish I could go back utilize the abilities I didn’t know I had inside of me.
CW: What are the links to any websites and/or social media you want us to share?
T: I have a Facebook page where I offer available work. It is TamelaBlessed Art Creations (https://www.facebook.com/TamelaBlessedArt/). I also have an Instagram tamelablessedart (https://www.instagram.com/tamelablessedart/) where I post photos and my studio happenings. A website is coming soon.
CW: What are you working on?
T: I’ve usually got several things going at once. I’m creating several canvases for a future show. Sunflowers are on my mind right now.
CW: Any cool, new things coming up?
T: No, just working with galleries to promote my art. Working in two events for next year. Mid-American Nazarene University is featuring my art in their Library the month of April 2019 and doing an artist talk and Lenexa City Hall Gallery is hosting a Tamela Blessed Art Solo Exhibit the month of March.
CW: How can fans get your work?
T: I sell on Facebook and in the galleries I’m currently in, The Artisan Market Liberty, Mo., The Creations of Hope Gallery in Topeka, Kansas, Soon to be Leaping Llama in Topeka, Kansas, Perky’s Cafe in Basehor, Kansas. I also like to stay active in donating my art to charitable causes such as Art for Angioma Alliance.
CW: Do you display anywhere?
T: Just depends but I am always looking for new opportunities
CW: Where do you see your art/business in 5 years?
T: I’m hoping to be a full-time working Artist who is still sharing my story of what God’s done, how I’m inspired by life and to keep bringing awareness to my disease Cavernous Angioma. I’ve been successful in selling/donating almost 500 creations in the last 3 and half years and also sent to 7 countries so far and 38 states in th US so I hope to conquer more of the world with my art and testimony.
CW: What is your goal?
T: To keep creating, sharing and spreading my joyful, colorful and hopeful art. To inspire others to have hope and faith when an impossible situation arises because I am a testament that with God all things are possible. To bring smiles to faces and happiness to people’s hearts when they look at one of my paintings. I want to keep evolving as I continue to create. I’m self taught so I literally paint from my heart. I try not to put too much thought into what I’m doing (if it’s right or wrong’ because I feel like when I do I run into creative blocks so I’ve decided to enjoy and not to obsess.
CW: What’s your motivation?
T: What God has done in my life and to glorify him for giving me a second chance and gifting me with painting a year after all of my surgeries. I am inspired by life, color and new beginnings are one reason why I love flowers and butterflies. I am also motivated by the stories from people who have purchases of been given my art and now my story and art has touched their hearts and made them happy. When I get an email or a photo of on of my pieces framed it makes me want to stop everything I’m doing and paint a new piece.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to either me or Tamela. Thank you for spending a little time getting to know another awesome artist. I encourage you to follow TamelaBlessed on social media to see more of her work and to follow her story.