Meet the artist.
Born in the small town of Fairbanks, Alaska, I remember as a small child living in our tiny cabin, exploring the wilderness, picking berries in tall, lush bushes, seeing moose and other critters wander through the yard while living off the land. Relocating to the island of Kauai, Hawaii for 8 years with my parents, I was immersed in a very different world but still surrounded by dynamic landscapes- color, lines and form all influenced by nature. Whether it was playing in the waves or playing hide and seek through the vines of a tropical background, my palette of bold and bright colors abstractly playing against various textures became a passion of mine.
Being born with chronic kidney failure, I lost my kidneys at the age of 23 and found myself on daily dialysis, completing life-saving treatments four times a day for six years. I received a kidney transplant but it only lasted six years, rejecting and putting me back on dialysis. Six more years of hemo-dialysis and waiting for a kidney, I was blessed with my most recent transplant on Nov. 14, 2014. I'm happy to say I'm doing well and in good health! We never know how long we have on this Earth, it's my goal to life it to the fullest while inspiring others to find the healing properties in creating. I know all too well how using my hands to create and give to others has taken my mind off my own problems, art has truly saved me.
Creating a life-
Along with having health challenges, I grew up around addiction and not always protected as a child. This created a passion for child advocacy, I was a foster parent for over 10 years and have been blessed to adopt three children of my own. As I went to school for social work, I also explored my artistic drive and pursued art classes. Creating with others helped me connect in a way I've never done before- there was no competition or judging- just lifting each other up with our talents and perspectives.
Each day I am thankful for the air I take into my lungs. I paint with gratitude, for others and appreciation for my environment. I seek to capture the beauty that surrounds us and constantly surprised with what my art says to me. In this way, the painting creates me, not the other way around. To teach art classes, discuss my work and explore life's challenges in a positive way, is the greatest gift. Life is short, create the world you want to live in.
Take a look at my story unfolding. Experience it with me. Life is but a journey and this one will be the most colorful one yet. ~Deb Lestenkof