Elayna Shakur has been an artist all her life - it’s a way of life. Her choice to become an art teacher is her way of sharing the joy and wonder of the art spirit she loves so much. She truly has mastered the art of teaching art in a way that gives rise to the creative spirit, rather than confining it with rules that at times can squelch self-expression. Her approach is unique and offers more than the ability to create art, but a healing and profound process to activate the Spirit within.
One of her passions is painting “Outer Space” and weaving it into portrait art. As a portrait artist, her work is seen mostly in the homes and felt in the hearts of people all over the country and beyond. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, she has lived many places including Canada and the Bahamas making Charleston, SC her home since 1990.
Born Elaine Beason, I changed my name to Elayna Shakur in 1985 because it meant "to be thankful". And I am grateful for this life that has been created for and with me, as an artist, mentor, mother and friend.
I define myself as "the witnessing presence", spiritually, but the above are the roles I have played as a personality.Graduating from East High School and Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, I was destined to be an art teacher. Although I love to paint and draw, watching and facilitating others' appreciation of what they are able to bring forth, is even more satisfying to me. I created a method I call "portrait therapy" which allows the sitter to dialog with the portrait I am painting of them as it emerges. This is another way of using my art to facilitate self awareness. Most recently I experienced the most intense and difficult painting I have ever done. This particular painting came after writing a fictional story about how George Floyd and Derek Chavin met in heaven and hatched a plan to bring about racial awareness in a very dramatic way. It was my way to ease into the portrait painting of them. I struggled, emotionally, and artistically. By the time I finished it, I had healed my long held racial wounds. This is a big reason I am thankful (Shakur). My prayer is that my work will be of service to others as they open to their own inner-peace, joy, self-love, and gratitude for all the gifts in Life.