Marisa Avila Sayler is a Los Angeles native who works in drawing, painting, and sculpture using both traditional and experimental media. She earned a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art in 2005, and an MFA from California State University, Fullerton in 2009. An artist since childhood, Marisa has always supported her art practice with more traditional career paths, namely education. Her teaching and educational field experience ranges from art exploration with special needs preschoolers, to traditional undergraduate drawing and painting instruction, to doctorate-level lecture, curriculum design, and administration. Since 2018, Marisa has focused solely on her studio practice with occasional guest teaching, workshops, and visiting artist lectures. She has exhibited in numerous Los Angeles galleries, institutions such as the Torrance Art Museum and the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, CA, and her work is in private collections all over the world. Outside of the studio, Marisa and her spouse of 15 years are guiding their two exceptional young children in the art of being explorers of this universe.
I like to invent other worlds born from this planet. Fantasy, fiction, the most alien of earthly animals and plants, absurdity, parenthood, kids’ shows, dreams, weird religious stories, and cartoons are delicious fuel. I love fungus and jellyfish and Precambrian swimming things and animal patterns and worms and insects and candy. Almost everything I put into my paintings is symbolic. Rainbows are our connections, fangs are my defense, eyes are because I See You, hearts are my love messages, mountains are home, daughters are power, snails are a sanctuary and refuge, patterns are camouflage/tribal markings/the patchwork bits of quilts made by the hands that came before us, and so on forever. I have always had a loosely held mythos in my mind and in my art. The mythos is my own invention, which gives credence to the ghostworlds of hallucination and imagination. I take what I like from existing belief systems, mostly the ways love, hope, tenacity, faith, and humanity is presented within their framework. I throw out the inhumane and uncompassionate ideas, and invent my own fantastical, blasphemous gods and myths.
When I share my work, I am sharing the beautiful, terrible, blissfully weird and complicated bits of existence that we all experience in our tenuous positions in this universe. I think we all want to connect in some way, particularly when it feels as if we are being engineered to turn against one another. Art is a wormhole that enables me to be able to connect with others wordlessly, through color and shapes, and across time and space.