Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lisa Mejia

Name : Lisa Mejia

What do you do?
I am a Belly Dancer, specializing in Tribal Fusion and Cabaret Fusion styles. I am also a henna tattoo artist, painter, costume designer, and jewelry designer.

Where can we find your work?
I perform at coffee shops, restaurants, and belly dance festivals (sometimes as a solo dancer, but also with my troupe Raks al Khalil). I also do henna tattoos, at our vending booth (for MejiaArts) at local farmer's markets, art venues, and art festivals. I design and make most of my costuming and jewelry that I perform in.

What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough?
I'm inspired by other belly dancers, as well as Flamenco dancers and Bollywood dancers. I sometimes have a difficult time staying motivated to be creative (especially during the months of January and February), but I'm usually able to break out of it, by spending time with my husband who is in a constant state of creativity.

What do you think is more important content/finished product or technique/process?
As a dancer, I would say the finished product because I get that rush of energy from performing live and seeing people enjoying my performances. But as a costumer/henna tattoo artist, I would have to say the overall process of creating.

Who are some people who influence and/or inspire you?
My husband inspires me to keep going even during my darkest hours. I'm also inspired by the ladies in my belly dance troupe Raks al Khalil, and my Mom, who has always encouraged my creativity.

If you could be any fictional character who would you be?
Maya, the courtesan/dancer from the Mira Nair film "Kama Sutra-A Tale of Love"

When do you get your best ideas?
In the morning, or when I'm really bored at work.

What materials/tools do you use most to create your work?
Fabric, sewing and beading needles, coins, chain swags, fine silk veils, a bellydance sword, and my body.

Are you self taught or formally educated? How do you think that has influenced or affected your work?
My first dance teacher was my Mother (who was a belly dancer in the 1970s). I have taken several classes in many styles of dance throughout my life, including Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Bellydance, Flamenco, and East Indian Odissi. For the past 6 years I've been a member of the San Jose-based belly dance troupe Raks al Khalil. I learned how to do henna from a friend of mine, a couple of years ago. She was from India, and taught me about the traditional mehndi designs. I took many classes in costume and jewelry design while I was in college.

What would your creative work taste like?
Really good homemade hummus and pita bread, followed by Greek honey yogurt.

When you are not creating what do you like to do?
I love to read books and watch movies, spend time with my wonderful husband, play with our feisty little bunny rabbit Lucky, and travel.

How did you learn to access your creative talents and gain the confidence to put it out there for everyone to experience?
I used to be very timid and apprehensive about my creativity (mostly because my Dad and his family were not encouraging my creative aspects-they wanted me to be an investment banker....blech). Once I got into college and was surrounded by other talented writers/artists/musicians/dancers/etc., I was able to overcome my shyness and my apprehensions, and just put everything out there.

What advice would you give others just beginning their creative adventures?
Do what you love to do, and don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it.

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