About Lisa

by Lisa Sonora

photo of Lisa Sonora Beam in her studio

Hi there! I’m Lisa Sonora. Thanks for stopping by my virtual studio.

It’s a little messy in here, but not as messy as my actual studio.

I’m an American artist and creative business consultant based in Oaxaca City, Mexico.

Folks often ask about the background in this photo: that’s one of my paintings, it’s eight feet tall.

For more than 20 years I’ve taught experiential workshops that tap into the healing and transformative powers of creative self-expression.

My first book, The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real, is based on these workshops.

What you’ll find on this site:

Inspiration + practical ideas for living more creatively, courageously, consciously.

I believe that each of of us is gifted with a particular genius. With the right tools, nurturing and practice, we can bring this gift from idea into fruition, so that it may of benefit to the people and causes we care about, as well as ourselves.

A few facts about me:

Since childhood, I’ve kept visual journals in blank sketchbooks. My writing illustrated with drawings, collage and photographs.I’ve always combined the visual and the verbal in richly illustrated sketchbooks, or visual journals.

I never considered what occurred in my sketchbooks art, but explorations that helped me survive a difficult childhood, then find my way in the world as an passionate creative, uncertain of her true gifts, or the right medium or career in which to share them.

In fact, I was never formally trained in writing or visual art at all. My educational degrees and professional trainings are in music, therapy, and business administration. But that came later.

I’m a high school drop out. With an MBA.
At 15, I was placed in another orphanage far away from the high school I attended the previous year. So instead of going to high school, I started attending community college, which was life-changing on so many levels. This is where my own creative dreams started becoming real.

You’ll get to read about that in my next book A Cartography of Higher Purpose, a visual memoir that documents my visual journaling methods.

Visual Artist. In 2010-2012, I painted 1008 Paintings as a personal marathon. You can read more about that project on the Paintings page.

Author of  The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real, (link takes you to Amazon) an award-winning book that has helped thousands to solve both the business and personal problems that are unique to emotional creatures and creatives.

Global Traveler. I’m inspired by wanderlust and passion to live life as a daring adventure. I take people on deeply creative journeys — both here and abroad.

My idea of an exceptionally good time includes things like being dropped off by helicopter in the wilderness and having to hike or snowshoe out.

I also love fancy resorts with spas and oceanside pools where I can sip a martini without getting sand in it. Especially if I’ve just hiked down from a mountain or something.

Digital nomad. Since 1996, I’ve lived and worked wherever I have Internet. I’m extremely grateful to whoever invented the Internet. Thank you!

Home base is Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico. Oaxaca is way far South in Mexico, close to the Guatemala border. Oaxaca is both a city and a state (like New York, NY), and is pronounced: Wa-Ha-Ka.

Artist Retreats & Residencies in Mexico

Oaxaca is ideal for artists in so many ways. I’ve created the space I always wished existed when I was visiting here. Come take a look at my artist’s retreat…

What informs my work:

Throughout my life, there have been a few consistent threads that I have pursued passionately, that keep weaving themselves into everything I do.

In no particular order they are:

  • creativity
  • writing
  • nature (the wilder the better)
  • green business & social justice (yes, I do hug trees)
  • heath + healing
  • consciousness (a.k.a. having a rich inner life)
  • independent global travel off the beaten path

I’ve learned a lot in my explorations and experiments over the years, and still remain completely curious about – and fascinated by – the journey we humans are on to live the only life we can. Our own life. Not someone else’s version of it.

Thanks again for stopping by!

with care, Lisa Sonora



Bio for Press:

Lisa Sonora is an American artist and creative entrepreneur living in Mexico, who wants to live in a world where following your heart’s desire is considered practical, and making a living from your gifts is a no-brainer.

Her first book, The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Guidebook to Making Business Ideas Real (Quarry, 2008) won two independent publisher awards and launched a movement that has helped thousands to make their creative business ideas real. The Creative Entrepreneur is used as a textbook in many business, entrepreneurship, and arts programs, including University of Madison School of Business.

As an artist and creativity and business consultant, Lisa’s work has been featured in Business Week, Entrepreneur Magazine, ABC News, San Francisco Chronicle, and in dozens of online venues.

In 2002, she founded a boutique marketing agency focused exclusively on green business initiatives and social justice in San Francisco. She’s designed and taught green and social marketing, and creativity and business curriculum for graduate business, and arts administration programs.

Lisa is a graduate of DePaul University’s School of Music, and has professional degrees in Music Therapy and an MBA from New College of California in Sustainable Enterprise.

A sought after facilitator, she’s led international creativity workshops on five continents for the past 20 years: at schools in Africa, inside tech companies, coach training programs, churches and zendos, and at retreat centers and universities. She trains others to lead creativity workshops in her Creative Journey Facilitator Training, and has a Creative Entrepreneur School in the works.

Her 30 Day Journal Project brings together a global audience twice a year to celebrate the power and magic of creative journaling.

When she’s not consulting or in the studio making stuff, you can find her journeying to foreign lands in search of textiles, trying to take better photos, and adding to her visual journal sketchbooks in cafes around the world.

Lisa lives in Oaxaca, Mexico, where she hosts artist retreats and residencies. She blogs about her adventures as an expat artist at lisasonora.com. Lisa’s memoir, Sketchbooks: My Personal Creative Practice, is comprised of journals she kept during her move to Mexico.

Let’s Connect!

You can find me on Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest.

Send me an email with this link.

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