By Christine Snyder

This week’s featured artist in Honor of Autism Acceptance Month is Mikaela Sheldt, a math teacher turned professional artist!  Mikaela spent her early life as a math and physics student who began dabbling in painting at 17 and graduated from college to become a math teacher for refugee boys.  Two years later, she left teaching to pursue an art career.



Mikaela has described the world as a very loud place, and explained that painting allows her to focus on just one thing at a time.  She is most well known for her portraits, and has described painting human emotions as cathartic and an effective way to process her own emotions.  





Now, Mikaela works as a photographer, writer, and coder in addition to painting.  She enjoys the financial stability that comes with knowing how to code, and believes this stability allows her to feel truly free and confident while painting.  She brings up a good point about needing to have basic needs met in order to pursue one’s passion or potential.



As a person who studied math and art in college, I find this artist to be particularly fascinating.  While some may find it odd that Mikaela switched career paths from a highly analytical subject to the most creative field, I can see the similarities.  When solving complex equations, aren’t we really just brainstorming strategies, sometimes starting over, and creating a plan to solve a problem?  And when making a painting, aren’t we just analyzing the size and dimensions of the paper, adding layers step by step, and trying different pieces together until we get the desired result?  Just like math and art, most problems in the world are not so black and white.  What’s important is approaching the problems with facts, flexibility, and creativity.  I believe that understanding the way artists like Mikaela think would most definitely make the world a better place for everyone!    

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