How Do Commissions Work?
If you have something you would like to see created, simply email me with an idea and we will go from there. I can work within a specific budget and reasonable timeline. Some of my previous work includes grief art, gifted grief art, tattoo concepts, book illustrations, sonogram portraits and landscape.
Don’t hesitate to contact me, I’m always interested in talking about art!
What is “Grief Art”
I am naturally drawn towards the practice of interpreting emotions of grief though art. It began as an interpretation of my own emotions and experiences and then drew the attention of others who related to the work.
I’ve heard different terms for this kind of artwork; memorial art, bereavement art, intuitive art, healing art, ritual art. While all of it fits, none of it defines what I do.
I consider grief art to be a co-creation between myself and another person. I am not an art therapist, or psychologist. What I provide is similar to an act of ritual without religion. Here is the process, which is done entirely remotely/ online:
When you contact me via email or a message service on social media, I will ask what you have been missing. Sometimes, this is not always the passing of a loved one. It can be a longing for a place, thing or acknowledgment of trauma/ ptsd. This initial contact will allow me to assess what you are looking for and see if and how I am able to help. There is no cost for this initial consultation which is entirely confidential. Once I get a sense of the scope of the project, I can give an accurate quote. Depending on the amount of detail:
Sonogram Portraits: $180 (small)
Small pieces: $200 - $300 (7-10 days)
Medium sized pieces: $300 -$600 (8-12 days)
Large sized pieces: $800 - $1200 (14 days)
Via email, I will ask you a number of questions. I may ask you to write your story. This writing process is unrushed and done on your schedule. I am not looking for a polished product, in fact the more “raw” the better. I welcome spelling errors and all manner of descriptions!
I will follow up with specific questions, commonly related to music or songs of importance, colors, places and other details that are specific to your experience. I may request photos. The writing process is your own and in my experience it’s an important part of honoring your grief, emotions and healing.
Once I feel I have all the information I need; I will take a period of time from hours to several days to convert our written conversation into symbols. I rarely do portraits of people. I’m more interested in capturing how something feels in a healing format. My goal is to bring feelings of anger, fear, loss, love and grief into a healing space.
Once I have developed a concept, I will create the physical art piece from there. This is done using ink and watercolor on watercolor paper. There is an ancient vocal ritual called keening which is the closest act I can describe to this process. Keens were women who paid respects to the deceased and expressed grief on behalf of the family. Instead of a vocal act, mine is visual. Both are creative expressions.
When the artwork is complete, I provide a letter explaining the symbolism. Depending on how much information I was given before the artwork and its size, the letter can be one paragraph or up to two pages. The letter will include care instructions for your art and a reminder of the importance of UV protections for the longevity of your art.
Via email, I will send a picture of the completed artwork with the letter. You will then be able to see it. There are no revisions on the artwork. If you do not wish to purchase the artwork at this point, there is no obligation. I take no offense.
Once you have reviewed the artwork, you can purchase it via etransfer or paypal. The original artwork is shipped via shipping box, larger works are sent in a tube mailer and delivered in 8-10 business days. Digital copies can be provided. I never share artwork online without permission of the person who requested it. A large portion of my work is related to pregnancy and infant loss which can often be something people do not want shared even without using real names. Sharing is at your discretion but know that every story has the power to heal and can be an amazing anonymous gift to someone who can relate to your experience.
Purpose of Grief Art:
Healing is at the core of grief art. Creating conversation is another component. Grief is complex and looks and feels different for every single person. My hope is making art and speaking about grief, death and loss can remove the stigma attached to death and promote acceptance, healing and peace. I consider myself both an artist and messenger. I believe our relationship with death directly enhances the quality and meaning in our own lives.
A Story of Early Loss
co-created with: "T"
Thank you to the mom who commissioned this piece for allowing me to share it. This woman experienced pregnancy loss at 20 weeks. As with many people I’ve worked with, milestones can refresh grief and make it feel very raw. In this case, it was what would have been an upcoming birthday for daughter “N”.
- mom always associated N with butterflies. Perfect symbol: beautiful, delicate, feminine and transformative
- The right side of the wings represents the gift of rainbow babies (term for babies born after loss)
-female silhouette in the center of the wings in yellow is mom. Yellow used because she often felt her greatest peace while standing in the warmth of the sunlight
-behind the female form/ silhouette is a cocoon symbolizing the transformative experience of both motherhood and loss
-left wing, which appears black and white is exact replica of N’s sonogram. For many women the sonogram picture is all they will have of their baby and is very special
-bottom of each wing if you look closely are silhouettes of baby girl faces. One who has passed and one who lives. These two have a special connection
-Text is mom’s favorite quote:
“It is said that women in labour leave their bodies. They travel to the stars to collect the souls of their babies and return to this world together.” Added: sometimes babies stay in the stars, waiting to welcome their family home at last.
-portrait sonogram is doted with silver representing the stars
I have been so fortunate to connect with this woman and hear her story. I hope this piece will bring healing and joy to her and her family and that her story may bring awareness and warmth you.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss:
I feel particularly called to work with those who have experienced miscarriage, infant loss or traumatic birth experiences. Creating art for parents who have experienced loss gives them a tangible object that honors their child and experience. In some cases, parents may not have even had the opportunity to have a sonogram picture of their child. They may be grieving completely in private without the knowledge or support of family and friends yet their grief is no less than any other kind of loss. If this has been your experience, please do not hesitate to contact me as I’ve heard many stories of this kind of loss.
A Grief Story Is A Love Story
Below are stories shared with permission by the families. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
An Angel Is Born
co-created with: Friend of a Mother (Gift)
This is a drawing of baby “S”. It was determined baby S would not be able to live outside the womb so his mom and dad gave him the best possible life inside the womb they could.
His mom’s close friend contacted me to make something special. Every part of the drawing holds significance. For example Baby S’s dad has his hand on his head, gently touching his sons ear to symbolize the auditory nature of their relationship. Mom could feel him, but he heard his dad too. Moms hand holds him up, sustaining him, sharing him with the world. Baby S was gifted with an incredible mom who consciously chose to try to feel joy so she could show her son that feeling. They spoiled him with his favorite sweet drinks, talked to him and told his story so that he would be known to the world and have an impact. It worked. Thanks to the bravery of his parents to share their story through a blog, many people, myself included connected with Baby S.
I feel like he was the manifestation of pure love. His mother birthed pure love. Baby S passed away December 2020. He proved to be as fierce as his parents, living an entire hour after his birth, I believe his parents even got to hear his voice. He was held tightly and reassured he was loved until his journey was complete.
Many thanks to Baby S’s parents for allowing me to share this. This little baby has been a great gift to me, helping me understand my purpose in doing grief related art, showing me what the purest form of love looks like, proving to me it’s not the length of time you have but how it’s spent. Thank you baby S.
It’s amazing how much you feel and resonate with my story. It feels like you’ve been there from the beginning. This is definitely going to help me with this grief journey. I don’t normally open up that deeply to people but I knew I could trust you and felt safe.
Cheyenne, thank you for capturing all of my feelings as S’s mommy, our families love for S and for each other and S’s entirety in this drawing. We now have it framed in our living room and I stare it every single day. Thank you for seeing us and sending this beautiful piece of art for US! We will cherish it forever!
You can also find my work as part of griefdeck.com which is a free, private, online tool for those experiencing grief.