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Artist of the Month - July 2004

When the teaching door closed,
Aliesha found one open to her Art

by Carrie Switzer

Aliesha Pilley is Moab born, but raised in a town outside of Chicago, Illinois. At 25 years old, she has come back to her roots, and her family, to pursue the work of art in the place that inspired it.

To hear her optimistic view of life and art, it isn’t obviously that serious health problems due to a rare cancer led her away from a teaching career. In that adversity, Aliesha has found opportunity, almost a freedom to pursue her dream because the dream, and her five-year-old son Raiden, is what is important to her now.

“I had a tumor, and went through a bunch of stuff with that,” Aliesha said. “I have since decided to live life, to live my dream.”

Aliesha has always liked to sketch. She remembers her first sketches were of horses. She has fine detail in sketching people, faces, hands; scenes from nature. She likes to use a Number 2 pencil.
“People have given me art sets and wonder why I don’t use them,” she laughs. “I like to use these pencils.”

Aliesha has experimented with ink, as well, and still prefers the pencil. Her leaning toward this medium carried over into photography, where she likes to experiment with black and white nature scenes. In recent months, however, Aliesha has found new ways to illustrate flowers and people with color.

“On this one I sort of made a cartoon out of my sister pumping gas,’ she said. ‘I especially like the reflection.”

And there is a mirror image – from the photograph you can’t tell anyone is pumping gas. Aliesha’s sister could have been standing by a lake.

“The digital camera is new to me,” she said. “It’s fun to work with.”

In addition to drawing, photography and acrylic painting, Aliesha writes poetry, She has a collection of about 100 poems, and has had one published, twice. She was invited to a conference of the International Society of Poets in August, where she was nominated as Poet of the Year for 2004. She regrets being unable to attend the conference but has taken the honor seriously and will send more poems off.

Aliesha’s particular talent, however, may be in publishing children’s stories she writes and illustrates. Working with her son she comes up with practical ideas and story lines, and beautiful corresponding illustrations. Aliesha has joined the cyber world only recently, having purchased a new computer, and will be putting fingers to keyboard and sending queries with the stories.

“I don’t do this for a living, it’s really more of a hobby,” Aliesha said. “I would really love to publish books of poetry with my art, and I’d love to publish children’s books. If I can get something out there to share with others, I would feel really good about it.”

She says her son Raiden is her “best inspiration.”

Aliesha said poetry is something she never imagined doing, but has since written poems for family that seemed to open a new channel of expression for her.

“I do my best art when I have something on my mind, or when I’m bothered by something,” Aliesha said. “It comes and goes, and I don’t do it every day. It’s very hard to sell art by itself. I just like doing it.”

Some of the more saleable art may be Aliesha’s jewelry, which she has quite a collection of. Aliesha beads and puts designs together, and has been doing so for a long time.

“I think I do it because people like it,” she said. “And I enjoy doing it.”

Aliesha said Moab supports her at a time she needs it and in ways she needs supports. She continues to have medical work done in the Salt Lake area, and she has family in Moab.

“I can’t do a lot of physical stuff, so I figured I still have a great mind, let’s use it,” she said. “Maybe someone, somewhere will be touched by something I do in a positive way.”

Aliesha’s work adorns her walls at her home, which she has made into a pseudo-studio. Raiden takes an interest in her work because it involves him and so does she. Aliesha said she’d be happy to show her work and will take orders for drawings, photographs, jewelry and painting. She can be reached at 259-0658.

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