Judy Isaksen

North Carolina, USA

"So Many Souls" is a piece I created out of sadness and despair. I painted this on the day that our national death toll topped 1000. I was trying to express the pain of so many souls dying alone and their helpless family members. I couldn't even imagine how they were feeling. All I could do was create something that alluded to comfort; as such each of these souls--of all different colors--are floating upward to safety and peace.

More generally, I have long dabbled in painting as a hobby, but after returning to the creative process after a decade of not touching art, I am joyfully surprised at what is pouring out of me. I am an intersectional feminist, and I care deeply about equity of all people who are marginalized and live precarious lives. My daily work and activism centers on these concerns, which naturally bleed over into my art. I have found my artist’s voice!  

Judy Isaksen, "So Many Souls" (2020)
Judy Isaksen, "So Many Souls" (2020)

Judy Isaksen, "So Many Souls" (2020)
Judy Isaksen, "So Many Souls" (2020)


I primarily work in two genres: expressive portraits of strong, powerful women along with expressive and neoexpressive abstracts. The common theme in both genres is boldness. I am color-centric, and I express my emotions through color. Strong emotions—empowerment, confidence, feistiness—are what drive me to paint my subjects; I seek out bold people living bold lives. My subjects move me, and I, in turn, hope my art not only moves people but that my art itself also moves.