Ara-Lucia was born and raised in Southwestern Michigan. As a girl, she learned about photography and composition from her grandmother, Ginger Andrews, an amateur photographer. Ara-Lucia shared her grandmother’s passion and pursued photography and drawing at the Texas Woman's University and choreography at Mills College.
In 1997, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Arts from Northeastern Illinois University. On graduating, she received the University’s Award for Overall Integration of Conceptual and Experiential Competencies.
Throughout her artistic career, Ara-Lucia’s work has explored the basic human need to be seen, known and understood. Her recent works - acrylic paintings and drawings in charcoal and ink - take observers on a journey through time and space in a quest to fulfill that need.
Ara-Lucia’s photography, paintings and drawings have exhibited in over a dozen group shows and four solo shows including the ARS Gallery in Benton Harbor, Michigan (2017). She was honored with a residency at the Ragdale Foundation in 2004.
Ara-Lucia has also studied extensively in the mental health field and is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Ara-Lucia lives, studies, and creates in Chicago, Illinois.
Growing up as a bipolar child in the rural 1970’s was heartbreaking. The augmented way I perceived life frustrated my family; I was regarded as the child who exaggerated and lied. At 29, when I was diagnosed and began taking medication, I was no longer the exaggerator, but I was left with a profound desire to be understood - a need that fuels my work.
My current work explores this desire through visual storytelling. The story is told by two female characters. The first woman, who I call Her or She, is a luminous, immaculate presence. In Her company, it’s possible to experience a deep sense of being known. The second woman - I, Me or My - is the human narrator. As a whole, the work tells the story of My attempts to locate Her in space/time, and to remain with Her, where I experience a profound sense of acceptance and grace.
I draw the figures using charcoal which can be brushed or blown away with breath, emphasizing the fleeting nature of our connection. One of the medications I take for bipolar disorder causes a hand tremor that can distort the drawings’ marks. These marks represent the dichotomy of my rich spiritual connection with the woman against our inability to be present with one another. She resides on her plane of existence and I on mine.
My drawings include physics texts, ancient maps and symbols. These establish the path through space/time I must travel to be with Her. The women’s clothing, representative of many eras, underscores their drift through time. When the drawing is complete, I ask the figures to tell me the words for the drawing. This text is written in cursive as the drawing’s final act.