* Also Known as: The Sand Goddess and
Outsider Folk & Photo Artist
Humanitarian / Philanthropist
Holistic Lifestyle Transitions Specialist & Consultant
Victim Recovery Facilitator
Thriving Survivor of Cancer, Abuse & Neglect
I am Ms. Rachel E. Milano; Humanitarian, Outsider Folk Artist and Activist advocating on behalf of women's awareness issues and survivors of violation to include; Sexual Assault, Childhood Maltreatment, GLBT and Domestic Violence. Uniquely, I call myself an Artivist, using all my creative energy to advance the awareness of these issues. While my sand paintings depict diverse subject matter, a vast majority are mission inspired and multicultural. I have been a sand artist since the age of nine, using sand art as a gateway to healing and escaping the horrors of my youth.
The most distinct quality about my sand paintings is that they are one-of-a-kind originals that can not be reproduced; they are a fusion of primitive and modern art captured in the sands of time. My use of sand as both a permanent paint and sculpting medium, enable me to create a unique sense of movement with this natural element, bringing a new textured dimension to the world of art. My work is not like that of the spiritualist and yet holds spiritual value. It is not like that of the beach sculptors and yet I can sculpt a permanent beach, complete with sand sculpture. I have bonded the worlds of sand as both spiritual and tangible, nontraditionally.
Since 2007, I've been a published author, completing book one of my trilogy, The Mosaic with inclusion in additional publications internationally. Though I have had no influences in the advancement of my style and have been unsuccessful in discovering artists with the same discipline, I remain a believer in the appreciative value of my works. As well as my poetry writings and performances, I am producing a film called "Alive to Thrive" and I continue to use my voice creatively in radio and motivational speaking, delivering the message of survivor restoration through lifestyle transformation. From Canvas to Campaign, my work will outlive my voice carrying with it this cause. I am an artist who is called by many names but for my work with sand, I am known as The Sand Goddess, creating my own techniques and using the medium of sand in an extraordinary way.
"When I was a little girl, I searched for safety in the most unusual places. It was a challenge to find a roof over head as I could find no protection, no comfort, no place to safely sleep at night. One day, I found myself in an after school program called Brownies, a division of the Girl Scouts. It was my saving grace. Brownies enabled me to find safety and security... even if for a moment here and there. As part of the program, we girls attended many field trips but most of all, we were given the freedom to be artistic! It was there that I learned sand art and sewing.
I loved the sand and the ability to color it and use it to create patterns, shapes and even lamps! In fact, at the age of 11, I moved to Pittsburgh to live with my adoptive parents and the first gift I presented them was a lamp I made using a wine bottle. I had a social worker at the time who sent me some pre-colored sands and tools... the rest is history.
As a child, I stained the sands using various colors...some I custom created... then I carefully placed it into the bottle in layers, forming a beautiful piece of practical art! I was so pleased. To date, they still use the lamp... some 27 years later. I fell in love with sand art! My social worker, at the time, purchased a sand art tool kit for me
As time went on, loving life became more of a challenge and I drifted from my artistic passion. As a result, so much of my artistic energy began to bottle up. Forgetting what I loved most, I took to writing poetry and prose, still... it didn't seem to empty my soul of its creative passion. Then, in 2007, I moved closer to the ocean, where I planted my feet into the sands of Savannah Georgia and instantly recalled my first love. I took a large bag of sand from the beach and went home eager to put my hands to doing what I knew best. This time, however, I decided not to limit my creativity to coloring and arranging sand... I devised a way to paint with the sand. Indeed I continue to fall in love all over again, finding myself with my 'head stuck in the sand'.
Most of my life, I've used art as a healing tool... a method of decompressing from stress and stabilizing my inner balance. In addition to my photo art work, I enjoy sculpting with my hands and painting low relief and high relief pieces with acrylic stained sand. With each work, I prepare custom colors so that no two pieces are the same. The images I produce are formed in 'my mind's eye'. I title my works to deliver messages of healing and inspiration. With the completion of each work I remain grateful to the omnipotent power that pours out these ever abundant rations of creative passion, enabling me to manifest more life.
For a long time, I've painted in private, inspired by the will of mankind to survive beyond traumatic experiences, painting the human response to life, immortalizing the human soul expression through the sands of time. My technique and medium are rare in the world of art... so much so, that I have become known as The Sand Goddess by admirers.
People always ask me why many of my pieces either have no heads or no faces. My reply remains the same. With works that have no heads, I aim to reveal the contradiction. Since I primarily do woman's awareness art, I take the approach that many people fail to see the true beauty of a woman, never truly accessing the heart of her mind. As awkward as it feels to see a headless woman is as awkward as a woman feels when she is gazed upon merely for the reflection of her surface attractions. With works that have no faces, I endeavor to compel the emotions of the pieces simply by replicating body language. If you see it... maybe you will feel it too!
When I am commissioned, I deliver with passion. My works have a life of their own. My niche is awareness art, particularly pregnant women, the most beautiful moment in time. Here, in the shelter of the womb, is where child safety begins. It is within the safety of the womb that we apply our nurturing instinct towards our children. Deliberately, these pieces are part of my created works which not only speak to the general health awareness issues of women but also to that of child abuse and neglect.
I am pleased to be able to capture the history of breast cancer awareness using the medium of sand painting. What better way to preserve history then in the sands of time! My passion is to bring awareness to Child Abuse, Neglect and Maltreatment by all means necessary. Care for our children and the future of humanity begins in the most sacred of homes... the womb. Thus, my appreciation for the moment of conception is evident in my maternity works.
It is my hope that my work stands the test of such time and speaks to the heArts of those who value and appreciate it's uniqueness. 100% of the proceeds from my works go towards my humanitarian efforts and to those who share a like minded interest. As well as being a single mother of five, I devote a majority of my time offering free Lifestyle Transformation & Facilitation services to maltreatment survivors internationally. So my art is Healing Art not just for me... but for all those it supports. "My Art exists to help heal the heArt!" Please visit my other web sites to see how I am serving the communities at large.
Regarding my skill, I am not a trained artist, however I am a naturally skilled and applied artist. The method, technique and style are uniquely my own. I have yet to find anyone who does what I do or how I do it. My work has life, it is emotive... how do you feel when you look at my works?
On an individual basis, I have made history both as a woman and a woman of color, being the only woman to have pushed 825 pounds 250 miles for a humanitarian cause. (See image and link at top of page). I reflect my passion for the sanctity of life through my works... even through myself, an ever evolving work of art.
I am so confident in the uniqueness of my work that I extend this public invitation:
"If you find anyone in the whole of the United States of America who has a recorded history (prior to January 2009) of professionally selling works using the dual media of sand and acrylic as their primary medium for the purposes of painting and sculpting folk or abstract in 3-D, I will paint you an original of your choice theme at no cost."
~Ms. Rachel E. Milano