Elizabeth D’Angelo — artist, spreader of love and hope, illness warrior, and force of nature — often paints with her arms pinned to her sides due to severe weakness and muscle spasms from advanced ME/CFS. In the midst of an illness that keeps her confined to her 12 × 12 ft. bedroom, she makes vibrant work that has captivated a loyal following. Painting is her meditation, her grounding rod, and her calling, but it is the connection with others through her art that inspires her the most.
Before her illness began, D’Angelo taught art classes, workshops and private art lessons in Atlanta, Georgia, and considered herself an undercover life coach, using art to help people to transform their lives. She was featured in an HBO documentary, received a grant from the Fulton County Arts Council, participated in an artist residency at the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, won the Coordinator’s Choice Award at the Candler Park Fall Festival and won Best in Show at the Inman Park Festival. She has exhibited nationally at the Ormond Memorial Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Lark and Key Gallery, The River Gallery, and The Metallo Gallery.
Colorado-born, D’Angelo’s BFA in Electronic Intermedia from the University of Florida has given her mad skillz to pay the billz (limbs permitting), while M.E. has given her depth, tenacity, and wrinkles.
In general, I begin with a ground, but not a plan. I have decided to embrace the freedom of play in my work. That means that almost all of the time, I am making decisions in the present moment based on flashes of insight for how to solve a visual puzzle. I rarely have a preconceived message for my viewers. Rather, I am using the process as a spiritual practice where I show up, open myself to explore, challenge myself to fearlessly allow whatever I see to become (without giving it a name, forcing it to mean something or holding concern for it’s visual outcome.) I decided to learn how to let go of all of that. And so, I am operating as a channel for divine things to occur and all of the steps happen when they are meant to…. It gets a name, it has meaning and it becomes a finished piece.
Elizabeth D’Angelo was one of five 2017 Visible Heroes Awards Recipients, awarded by Dr Franky Dolan and Randy Ordonio.
This honor today, made by the incomparable Franky Dolan on his birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FRANKY- YOU AWESOME HUMAN-YOU!!!) is such a gift to me. To be seen and recognized as a Visible Hero among millions of sick people, means that somehow my voice that feels tiny today has reached your ears; that I have been able to make an impact on the lives of others in a substantial way, and in a way worthy of honor. This makes me happy! And I know from experience that my happy is your happy! HAPPY YAY HAPPYYYY!!!!!! Haha! Thank you for this joy today, Franky!
“Every chronic illness survivor is a hero. Each year, a few of those survivors reach their spirits so high that they touch the stars. They take their lives and push into their own destiny. Pressing the boundaries of what illness labels us as, these survivors help others to survive, and they are catapulted into a new stratosphere of human capabilities. They are the rare, the few, and the amazing. They become this world’s heroes.”
Here’s a link to the article in Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/invisible-diseases-visible-hero-awards-2017-announced_us_5936136de4b0cca4f42d9cf6