Today we’d like to introduce you to Sonya Shannon.
Sonya, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I create art with the intention to uplift and remind people that they are more than what they see in the mirror, more than their paycheck or profession, more than their relationship or lack thereof. I call this artwork “visual medicine:” it enters our eyes, awakens our hearts and minds, and opens our souls to a new understanding of life.
My background is feature film special effects (VFX) and digital animation, or CGI (Computer Generated Imagery). After studying classical hand-drawn animation, I was a pioneer in today’s digital effects field. Artistically, I’m fascinated by light, color, the dimensions of space and time, and how to draw and paint highly realistically. I’m also intrigued by surrealism and the metaphysical—what happens in the spirit realm. Visual effects was a great fit for me because it fuses geometry, phenomena like fire and snow, and layers of composited imagery into a seamless “virtual reality” that looks highly realistic.
In 2014, a friend suggested I make a deck of angel divination cards, similar to Tarot. At first I resisted this idea because I was trying to finish a graphic novel. The next day, I got what’s called “a psychic download:” the entire deck of cards appeared to me all at once! The “Transformation Oracle”—44 cards and a book—was my first project. I learned about local shops who did large-scale and other kinds of prints, such as DuraPlaq, Morrell Printing Solutions, and Reed Imaging. After working out the costs, I scraped together about $6,000 and rented my first booth in the Body Mind Spirit Expo at Denver’s Merchandise Mart.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
After 9/11, my husband and I moved from greater NYC straight to Boulder—a very cool place—but no New York. I was not sure how to connect with let alone market to vegans, yogis, shamanic healers, and so on—yet my business depends on it! Fortunately, I made some great friends in the metaphysical business who taught me about the sacred spots in Colorado. They took me to gather water and herbs from spring creeks, meditate at stone formations, and camp in tipis. I got very serious about Kundalini yoga and meditation and discovered New Thought—a metaphysical approach to spirituality—at Mile Hi Church in Lakewood. Everything I learned helped me adapt to Colorado and create the business I have today.
Still, I often feel like an ocean sailfish tossed in a mountain creek. With such a beautiful environment as we have here, art seems less important to the average Coloradan than, say, sports. At times it’s been hard to find the best venues to sell my artwork, discover what formats people will buy (greeting cards and small canvases), and gauge how to price prints for this market, so I teach classes and do readings to flesh out my income. My art form is very expensive in terms of time and skills. Transporting prints, keeping inventory, and doing shows takes grueling effort. Same with many failed attempts before I learned how to market online. Mostly I focus on reminding people how special they are, and that’s been good for business, too.
We’d love to hear more about your art.
My latest product is the Higher Self Portrait, a custom artwork and reading that helps people step into their full glory by revealing it to them visually. The process involves an intake session, a photo shoot in costume, and then many weeks of delving into sacred geometry, soul journey, and the radiant aspects of the client’s being. It’s like Miracle-Gro for empowerment!
I specialize in capturing visions from the mystical realm and rendering them into highly realistic artworks. I’m always delighted when people respond to the artwork’s healing energy, storytelling, and affirmative messages to apply in daily life. I license artwork for use on websites, book covers and illustrations, and sell prints to display in lobbies, offices, and homes.
I am most proud of reaching spiritual communities like the Center for Spiritual Living (CSL) folks at Mile Hi Church, the Masonic Lodge of Golden, and a Women’s Shelter in downtown Denver, each of whom has a piece of mine in their permanent collection. I create art to raise awareness of important issues like the environment, domestic abuse, child sexual abuse, LGBTQ, and Native American rights. I am proud of the number of people I help each day through the Transformation Oracle card deck, readings, and the Higher Self Portraits. Above all, I am proud that I was able to ford many challenges in the early days of CGI and that I stuck with a difficult newborn art form to do what I do today.
What sets me apart from others is my level of technical ability, aesthetic knowledge of art and its symbols, and my deep, sincere passion to help people spiritually. I do not work from ego: I come from love, kindness, and the hard work of staying in connection with the Divine in this time of great global change—”the Awakening.” Lots of people do “soul portraits,” but I have yet to see anyone else create realistic, mystic portraits, and write evocative personalized messages from the spirit world, including the meaning of the art symbols and geometries.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My proudest moment happened this February at the end of my art show called, “Gifts from the Realm” at Mile Hi Church. The Senior Ministers came to personally thank me and one of them bought a painting. Countless people came to express gratitude and praise for the artwork. The Director of Facilities seemed deeply sad the work was coming down—his office was across from the main wall of paintings. I thought he was on the edge of tears not to see these works every day.
- Canvas Mantras (artwork with affirmation written around edge) $200 | 24″ x 16″
- Greeting Cards $6 | 5″ x 7″ w/ envelope
- Altar Icons $33 | 5″ x 7″ with easel stand & affirmation card
- Higher Self Portrait $3,500 | includes original artwork + detailed Interpretive Reading
- Address: Sonya Shannon Visionary Art
4916 Black Vulture Grv.
Colorado Springs, CO 80916
- Website: higher-self-portraits.com, sonya-shannon.com, transformation-oracle.com (community site)
- Phone: 720-308-3759
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sonya.shannon.artist/ (@sonya.shannon.artist)
- Facebook: https://facebook.com/sonyashannonartist
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/sonyashannon