The Artist behind it all.
Meet Aleisha Nelson, the 24 year-old artist and business woman behind Art By Aleisha. She commonly describes herself as a software engineer by day and an artist by night, living in and working out of San Francisco, California.
Being from Minnesota originally, Aleisha was intrigued by the concept of year-round 70 degree weather and sunshine that could only be found on the West Coast. At 18 she swapped pine trees for palm trees and headed out to California to attend Santa Clara University. As an undergrad, she studied Computer Science and Communication. After earning her bachelor’s degree she went on to pursue a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering and eventually accepted a full-time Software Engineering position in the Bay Area.
Throughout her life, especially during her time as a college student (studying mostly mathematics and technical concepts), she was always looking for ways to satisfy her passion for creativity and design. And that’s why we have Art By Aleisha.
In the spring of 2015, Aleisha began selling some of her paintings from her dorm room as a way to make some money on the side of school. That Fall, she spent 6 months studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa and returned home with a fresh sense of adventure and a new love for travel.
Attending a college so close to San Francisco meant a lot of day trips to the city and back with friends. Inspired by the many different and culturally unique neighborhoods she ended up exploring, she decided to create her first neighborhood map. She hung it up on her apartment wall and soon her friends started asking for maps of their own. Then their friends started asking. Suddenly, Aleisha was making maps of cities across the globe and shipping them to people in places across the United States.
In 2016, she officially launched Art By Aleisha and that fall applied to her first large-scale San Francisco Craft Fair. She is extremely grateful that West Coast Craft accepted her into their new-artist scholarship program, giving her the opportunity to put herself and her own work in front of a live audience for the first time. At the fair, she had the time of her life, connecting with the artist community and with her customers. Now you can find her at events all over the Bay Area and even in other U.S. cities.
Her primary focus these days is on her neighborhood maps and travel posters. She's always been fascinated by geography and she loves to travel, but she believes the best part about making maps is the opportunity it provides for her to learn about the many places that other people hold near to their hearts — and more importantly, why. Whether it's the city you grew up in, where you went to college, studied abroad, or that special place you visited with your family or a loved one - everyone knows a city they'll never forget, and everybody is from somewhere. So why not turn that city into a piece of art, hang it in your living room or above your bed, and let it be a constant reminder of that special place.
To tag along on my art journey, see live videos of my artwork being made, and to stay updated about events I’ll be heading to next — follow me on Instagram!