We had the good fortune of connecting with Rawan Ita-Diaz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rawan, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor behind my success is connection. Connecting with others is key for my artistry to grow. I create artwork that is expressive of my emotions and life experiences. Painting is part of my healing process. It lets the world see a glimpse of my life. I could shut the world out and continue to paint for myself and my own journey, but what good does that do for the world? When I paint, I represent myself and others like me. I paint our pain, trauma, grief, hope, and love that we each feel.
When I make something that someone else connects with, a special relationship develops. They get to take a piece of my story home with them in the form of an intriguing art piece. Without creating and nurturing a connection with artists and patrons, I cannot succeed as an artist or as a part of society.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My art captures trauma. I paint the pain of living with PTSD, depression, anxiety, and adjustment disorder. My paintings show the evolution of my life; the good, the bad, and the truth.
I began painting as a means of therapy after being hit by an SUV in 2017. I became limited in my mobility and felt lonely. To get through the emotional trauma, I immersed myself into painting. The process was very cathartic for me, mentally. Physically, painting causes me pain. The permanent injuries and chronic conditions I developed make it physically difficult to create art. It is not easy most days, but I paint through the pain.
Over the years, I shared my work on social media and art selling platforms. To become a professional artist, I had to also become a social media guru, marketing director, web designer, sales promoter, photographer, spokesperson, and so much more! I wear many hats in my art career because being an artist alone is not enough to get the work recognized.
It is a very consuming path, but it is one that helps me grow in ways I would never imagine. One of the biggest lessons that I have learned is to never give up on myself. In all things, I became my biggest advocate. I invested in myself by taking risks that scared me, but I learned to have faith. Whether personally or professionally, letting go of yourself is never the right option. I have learned to understand my worth and appreciate my abilities – wherever they are at the moment.
Making art creates fulfillment and purpose for the chaos I have been through. The more I shared my work, the more I realized I was not alone in my suffering. My circumstances are unique to me but the pain I feel is relatable to everyone. Showcasing my trauma through art is humbling and terrifying. I felt compelled to share my story so that others could do the same. I wanted a culture that allowed us to be vulnerable and sensitive. I knew that there were people who could relate to feeling limited and challenged by life. This led me to create a community through a nonprofit I co-founded called The Art Spread. It is where we can be open about our pain and show the world how we can use our brokenness to create beauty.
It took leaps of faith and self-reassurance, but I am proud of putting my story out there. If I had stayed silent in my suffering, The Art Spread would not have existed, nor would I have as an artist. By dedicating my life to bringing awareness and promoting inclusion, I have been blessed with incredible collaborations. My work is on the cover of art books, my story is shared in multiple print and online publications, and my art has been exhibited internationally.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When I make my way to Los Angeles from Detroit, Venice Beach is my favorite go-to spot. It is filled with culture, art, unique shops, diverse groups of people, and lots of exciting activities. Walking around LA is an opportunity to spot iconic architecture such as, The Broad Museum and the Promenade Plaza. Grabbing a warm drink from Phil’z coffee and picnicking at the Maguire Gardens sounds like an ideal afternoon. For a unique shopping experience, Poketo is a fun choice for home accessories and charming artisan gifts. My favorite art shop in all of California is Artist and Craftsman Supply. Whenever I visit the west coast, I am sure to grab art making goods from there. Afterwards, painting en plein air at Hollenbeck Park is the perfect way to end the trip!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, God’s love and mercy is why I am alive and able to share my art with the world. On January 20th, 2017, I could have died after being struck by an SUV. Instead, God protected my life and guided me towards a purposeful way to live it.
My family and husband have been an encouragement since I started on the path of art and entrepreneurship. They showed me the potential I have and how my work is what the world needs. My dad pushed me to dream big and take risks. He made me realize that my art is worthy and valuable. Being an independent artist is sometimes scary and unsteady.
Fortunately, I collaborated with Nadin Said in 2020 to start a non-profit called, The Art Spread. I felt like I was not alone anymore. Now, I have a community of artists and patrons that support my dream of a more honest and inclusive art culture. The Art Spread honors stories like mine and spreads awareness on critical issues that I, and many others, face alone. With this organization, we can show our true selves in the art we make and uplift each other as we battle life.