Mystic Visionary. Creatrix. Intuitive Artist. Survivor. These are just a few of the words that barely begin to scratch the surface of describing 13MOONS cover artist, Wrenna Monet. Both captivating in their own right, Wrenna’s artwork and the story of her survival are profoundly moving, unparalleled, and yet somehow still so relatable. It is our distinct honor to introduce the extraordinary, Wrenna Monet.
ABOUT WRENNA MONET
“Born and raised in a small cabin without electricity or running water in the wilderness of the inside passage of Southeast, Alaska. The isolation of island life fueled Wrenna’s young imagination. But in 2010, off the coast of California, working as a deckhand on a commercial squid fishing boat, a near fatal accident left her with a blood clot in her brain, a traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic fibromyalgia, and a near complete loss of identity. The accident that nearly killed her, however, was the spark that blossomed into the artistic passion that is now the motivating force in her life.”
She [Wrenna] now sees life with a transcendental, vibrational perspective. The dimensions [of her] brain injury have opened her up to have been awakening, inspiring and bizarre. She is inspired constantly by her visions and an enhanced sensitivity that affects how she experiences the world. She has turned these gifts into a living engine of recovery and creativity.”
WRENNA MONET ON ARTISTIC VISION
“Art is a doorway between worlds and a bridge of dreams. While some of my work has no apparent meaning, some does. In either case, I allow others to interpret my visions themselves – guided by what they see or need at any moment in time. Painting is my meditation; an escape, and a means to transcend what is in my forever-wandering, subconscious mind. My art is filled with love, light, time, powerful symbology and hidden meanings. Look closely and you may find hidden faces, goblins, spirits, women and other forms – whatever your mind allows. Sometimes I don’t know what I am painting, for often it is an intuitive process. I can sit with the canvas for hours to allow myself to discover what comes out; it’s a magical process that I lovingly surrender to with patience and persistence. I like to see what flows out of the paint unforced and spontaneous, allowing the work to paint itself.”
13MOONS: The story of your life, including how you came to be the artist you are today is probably one of the most profoundly moving and inspiring that I have encountered. From the life experiences you shared with me, to the story of your accident and recovery, to essentially being “recalibrated” as you call it, I was really honored and humbled to connect with you on such a deep level. Can you share part of your story and your personal experience with what getting a second chance at life was like with our readers?
Wrenna Monet: I have come to realize that we are so many different people in our short life, because our paths and mind changes on the yellow brick road. I was raised Pagan/Wiccan, I found my church to be within the woods and nature growing up. I believed that there was something else out there, but I had not connected to it in a spiritual experience personally until I got into an accident and had to re-learn what the human experience is. Call it God, my guides, a walk-in or whatever you want but I had what I would call a divine reincarnation or humble awakening.
When I was seventeen I won Miss Alaska Hawaiian Tropic 2003, which followed with winning another pageant with the title of Miss International Petite Teen Alaska 2004. I was then signed with several agencies, had a manager and left Alaska to chase a dream in the entertainment industry. In my mid twenties I was a very independent woman successfully working as a Screen Actors Guild actress & professional model in Hollywood. I was in Maxim Magazine, over eight magazine covers, on tv shows, was a runway lingerie and swimwear model and was a co-star in the major motion picture, Lakeview Terrace where I had a speaking role with Samuel L. Jackson & Patrick Wilson. But after a while in the city, I felt I had lost contact with parts of myself. So I decided to go home and fish a season of salmon gill netting and remind myself who I am, an Alaskan, a small town girl, collegiate wrestler and wilderness chick. The following year I moved out of Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe to learn how to grow marijuana on a friend’s farm and get out of the city. After a year there a buddy from high school told me I could make about forty grand squid fishing that summer off the coast of Monterey traveling down the West Coast. I decided to take the job, but before I went onto the boat I felt like something was going to happen, so I went home to visit my parents. I had a feeling something big was going to happen and I really hoped that by “big” it meant we would catch a shit ton of squid. But there was something different about this feeling, like I wouldn’t leave the boat the same.
On the night of October 10th, 2010. After a month of living on the boat, about seven hours off the coast of San Diego out at sea on the border of Mexico we mistakenly caught 5,000 herring in our squid net. The only way to get them out was to kill them in the boom block above, making the deck covered in blood, jellyfish and guts. While that was happening a storm picked up making the net swirl into bundles into the propeller. We fought for hours to get the net out of the propeller, and the herring out of the net so we could make another set while our boat danced in about fifteen to twenty foot swells. At some point, part of the net got loose and came up out of the water, and as a swell hit the boat from the right, the bundled-up lead line dropped from above, swung and hit me in the right side of my head. From that moment everything changed.
During this experience there was a moment on the boat that I will never forget. I prayed for the first time in my life to the stars and the universe. I was covered in blood and guts and was really scared that we weren’t going to get the net out of the propeller, it was horrific for me with the storm picking up and the five thousand herring caught in our net that were really weighing us down. So, I prayed to the “light” to keep me safe. I prayed that I would make it off the boat, through the storm we were in and said that, “if you let me live I will spread love, I will be the best woman I can possibly be for others, I will try to make the world a better place. Just please let me get through this. Please.”
All I remember is falling to my knees and going into a place filled with stars. Everything was filled with music, in a way. I think I went somewhere else. I collapsed, everything was empty but glowing around me. I stared up into the blood spraying above and the water coming over the boat as I laid in a milky froth of guts and jellyfish on the stacks of led line that I was circling. The captain brought me into the cabin and told me not to sleep because my eyes were dilated. All I remember is how sick I felt but I still wanted to help bring the net onto the boat, but he wouldn’t let me.
Once they got the net back into the boat I was brought to the hospital where I was diagnosed with a blood clot in my brain, fibromyalgia, hyperesthesia ( hyper sensitivity to sight, sound, tastes and touch), vertigo, post trauma amnesia, short term memory problems and chronic headaches, among other things. I eventually was checked in to live as an inpatient at an neurological rehab center for brain injured people to help me regain my strength and abilities again.
It was hard to get my words out correctly, I couldn’t walk straight, had left spatial neglect where at times I couldn’t work the left side of my body and my hand would claw up. I then had stroke-like symptoms from the blood clot, forgot how to get home eventually, forgot all my passwords, peoples names, and eventually a lot of my life became a blur. At the time shortly after the accident my memory span was between 15-20 minutes then I would forget stuff. Thankfully, through time that has become better and I can now make new memories but not everything sticks. I then had to live under the care of my mother because I didn’t know the difference between putting a fork in the microwave, and not putting a lighter into an oven that’s not lit when
the gas was going.
I forgot how to cook and do regular life things to take care of myself. I would get lost, and sometimes didn’t even know it was happening. It was scary falling apart and seeing my life fall apart and not being able to do anything about it. This experience changed me, it was extremely difficult and debilitating. But through time I have made it part of my “super power,” so to speak. I have done a lot of work to get back to where I am today, healthy, functioning, independent. This experience has humbled and taught me so much. I went through many ups and downs with not wanting to accept what has happened to me throughout my healing, but ultimately it has come down to me being thankful and realizing maybe I wasn’t on the right path. Maybe I needed some sense knocked into me by the universe, to get me to where I am today.
A second chance at life to me is going through an awakening or close death experience. It’s like all you knew is completely erased, it can be painful, our egos are slapped in our face, our worth taken away, our identity meaningless, our bodies not ours & reminded that we are nothing. That our existence is but a grain of sand in a multi universe. A second chance at life to me is really reclaiming yourself. Learning what our purpose is truly after loss, honoring the divine body and vessel we inhabit. Being thankful. Becoming one with our environment in a totally different, more connective and empathetic way. Being deprogrammed to recalibrate oneself to learn, practice and believe not in the mundane and not what we are told to be, do or how to see things. My brain injury has made me believe in miracles, in my magic, and in the healing power of the mind and body.
13MOONS: You are known as a Mystical Visionary Artist. There are so many layers to the word “Visionary”. Can you tell us how it applies to you and in your opinion, what makes someone a Visionary?
WM: I would say what makes someone a “Visionary” is using their imagination, their intuitive and spiritual experiences to influence their creative flow and life, and they surrender to it. It is someone who transforms the physical world into a more wider version of awareness which may include dreams, mystical themes, visions or at times even magical downloads or psychedelic experiences brought to life.
How it applies to me is I often try to surrender to not planning what I am creating, even if it’s a commission. Sometimes I like to have an idea outline but not be one hundred percent committed to it. So I can allow the visions and my intuitive energy to flow through me into whatever I am working with. As artist Philip Rubinov puts it, “we art create-tuitives’.
Sometimes when I am painting I get what I would call downloads, which are visions and things that I normally wouldn’t paint or know how to paint, but I surrender to what comes forth. I am fundamentally working with it to guide me and become a conduit most of the time. Then I find references to help me bring things to life more.
Being a Visionary isn’t always a beautiful thing, we often feel a lot and maybe I am just speaking for myself but having an open mind means we experience and witness life differently cognitively. Sometimes that’s why one likes to create things to escape from the world and go into a place that is within themselves. I feel at times we all want to escape reality somehow and this type of art for me personally has helped me to tap into a powerful and healing outlet of not really caring about what others think, and just going for it. I feel like visionary art is a reflecting kaleidoscope, showing what’s within ourselves, the good and the bad and turning it into something visual. We need to see things sometimes to believe or feel them and visionaries of all sorts help with bringing dreams & nightmares to life basically.
13MOONS: Can you walk us through the journey of birthing one of your paintings, from that initial spark, to the creation process, and how you know when a piece is complete?
WM: I like to light candles, have some incense going and make sure my dogs have been let out so I don’t get distracted. I like to paint at night or in the evening so my mind is calm, often that’s when I am the most creative.
It depends on the painting and if it’s a commission or not, but usually I try to sometimes have a feeling or vision of what I want to create and try to feel the emotions behind that before going into it all. I also sometimes like to ask the painting what it wants me to paint, I sage it and sit with it. Most of my creative process is me just sitting and looking at what I can see that comes forward after I have put paint down and given it an intention. I use chalk to go into drawing what I see after I put an acrylic foundation and imprimatura down. If I don’t use chalk I use transfer paper to put the drawings I drew of the vision or idea onto the canvas. Then I go in with Casein usually, or Acrylics and like to finish with oils and casein. After that I do local glazing to create depth and transparency. I enjoy working in the Mischtenik, but I experiment with other techniques as well. I am always experimenting in a way and I feel I still am learning as I go.
A painting I feel is never really done until it’s sold and out the door. Sometimes I have to tell myself to walk away from the painting, because I love doing detailing work and know that I can go overboard. That’s why I like to have a few paintings going at once so I can switch my mood up if I start to get sick of one so I can come back later with new eyes and new energy to put into it.
13MOONS: You’ve painted live at events like the Re-New NYE Living Prism Event in Portland this year and various music festivals. What makes painting in front of an audience such a unique experience?
WM: Painting in front of an audience is super fun because I vibe off of the energy of the crowd, lights and music. Where ever I am in the world at that time I get to meet other creatives, show my process on stage as a live act or in a gallery where I get to mingle in person with the audience. It’s a fun way to share my art & tell the story of the paintings or the art that I am selling and connect deeper with others who resonate.
I really enjoy live painting because I get to turn it into a performance. Sometimes I try to plan out ahead of time how to bring the painting to life quickly so that it is eye-catching and part of the show or I just go for it. Vibing off of the live music really helps fuel a different type of style for me. It makes me paint faster knowing I am being watched, whereas if I was at home I would probably take my time more and not take as many chances which makes it exciting. I really then get out of my own way.
13MOONS: I know for many artists, myself included, the process of making art almost takes on a meditative quality. Can you describe how art acts as a spiritual and healing experience for you as the artist, but also for viewers?
WM: Painting has become my form of meditation. I get to shut out the world, be with my thoughts and go into my own realms. It has become a healthy outlet for me to process whatever I am going through. It’s a way to escape reality to go into our dream self, to purge emotions into pictures and visions. I have found that intuitive painting has allowed me to tap into my subconscious more and download things that I normally wouldn’t know how to create or know that I was capable of.
I play with trust to bring forward whatever I see on the canvas after I put my first layer down and then surrender to allow the painting to paint itself even if I have a concept I want to create. This process is super fun for me. I like to allow things to flow and sometimes not have a direct plan or approach. This process has helped me to tap into creating paintings like Revelation of Eve, Ancient Future and others. Where I take dreams, personal experiences, psychedelic experiences and my sensitivities then turn them into something for myself and maybe others. It is healing for me and also connective to others I have found that resonate with the imagery, emotions and colors in my work. Each person could perceive and feel a myriad of things based on their own phenomenological experience.
13MOONS: Your body of work contains several incredible pieces of self-portraiture, including this issue’s cover piece “Revelation of Eve”. Would you say the use of self-portrait as a medium has been a way of reclaiming parts of your identity that seemed lost after your accident? Can you also share your intentions behind this particular piece?
WM: Creating self-portraits is quite a personal experience for usually we’re not staring at ourselves in the mirror for hours studying every wrinkle, scar, hair, lighting and molecule which needs to be captured. It forces one to really look deeper into one self, and at times that is a difficult process. Accepting age, our body changing, the hard times, noticing things about ourselves that we never really focused on before and honoring bringing that to life in an image even if it is not pretty. It may be quite difficult in terms of how we view ourselves; others may not see the same thing, but that can be the point.
Revelation of Eve was created during a time in my life that I had just gotten out of a toxic relationship. I just turned thirty and lost my first child at four months. I decided to dive deep into my study of art because I didn’t know what else to do to help my heart heal from the loss and grief. I also wanted to get as far away from this man as possible. I was really excited to be a mother, it’s all I have ever wanted, to be a mother because the doctors in the TBI facility told me I would never be independent enough to be a mom. I remember telling them, “fuck you, that is not my story.”
I just couldn’t accept that was my destiny, to not be independent or a mother just wasn’t in my cards for my life. So I worked really hard to get myself back to a stable, functioning and working life. That took schooling, studying English again, psychology, going back to college and going through years of physical therapy, cognitive therapy, speech therapy, neuro-optometric therapy, memory therapy and learning brain bending techniques. I found out after I was hit in the head that if someone doesn’t get help within a year of the accident, their mind won’t get better, in fact it can get worse. But I also learned that not one single brain injury is the same, everyone’s mind, body and soul will heal differently depending on their will to do so. So when I found painting to be my healing outlet while recovering at home under the care of my mother, due to isolation and during my hospitalization I knew that I really wanted to tap into this more because it seemed like it was really one of the only things that I could remember and found joy in it amidst my pain, suffering, and animosity as to why I just didn’t die on the boat. So I dove deep into myself, deep into art, because I didn’t really know what else to do and I didn’t feel I had a purpose to live anymore feeling like a child in a grown woman’s body.
I painted Revelation of Eve while studying at the Vienna Academy of Visionary Art in Austria 2017, under the guidance of Amanda Sage, Laurance Caruana, and Jonthan Solter.
I found it hard to paint Eve in class because I was processing so much, and felt I had become the odd girl in the corner crying with her headphones on while painting. I was, I felt like I was dying inside and didn’t really want to live anymore. So I brought Eve to my apartment and surrendered into a process of really allowing the painting to help me forgive myself and accept my darkness, the emptiness I felt, to become the light. I painted her with my tears, often drunk on red wine and smoking hash to help me purge, process and transform my inside pain into something beautiful. I really learned from this painting how to turn pain into beauty.
Eve is a self portrait, but symbolizes that all women are queens. That we must keep our crown on straight in a world that just wants to break us, to sit tall through it all with a smirk so to not show weakness, to water our garden within baring our heart and soul to keep the flowers inside oneself nurtured and fruitful for the bees to take our honey, share our knowledge and turn it into more life. The honeycomb chest symbolizes keeping our heart sweet in a world that is sour and learning to protect our heart space with love instead of hatred and anger. The Kundalini three eyed snake represents the darkness, awareness and balance we must honor and cherish within ourselves for without the dark parts there would be no light to come through. Within the three eyed serpent’s mouth, lies an egg with a fetus. This was the last thing I added to the painting. It was the hardest part for me to paint because it was my way of saying goodbye to my unborn child and honoring my baby that I know I will find again someday, when the time is right.
Eve balances in her hands her external world and internal heart-achoke, symbolizing how we share a part of ourselves like the artichoke to be eaten, and thrown out, but no matter what even if someone gets pricked or if our heart dies it will grow back stronger, more purple, beautiful and juicy to do it all over again each year. Balancing what’s inside with the outer realms has been the biggest learning experience for me as I have had to re-learn what the human experience is and reprogram myself. This painting I will never sell, to me it is such a healing piece because it is my most powerful image of personal transformation for myself. I don’t think I could ever part with her, until I am ready to really say goodbye to that part of myself.
She reminds me of my power, my growth, and to stay strong even through trials and tribulations. She reminds me that I am not alone as a woman, and that a lot of women have lost children like myself, whether we wanted to or not I don’t feel that that’ll ever be an easy experience for any woman.
Eve shows me in her eyes and posture how far I have come and reminds me that I have a long way to go still.
Through this painting I have found that I am a shadow worker, at times a rainbow worker but a lot of my art I don’t expect others to love. That isn’t my goal. If it’s not a commission and based off of someone else’s visions I enjoy creating what helps me to see and remember the beauty and hardships of life. I hope my art can somehow maybe someday help that one person who has also experienced trauma, tragic loss or other things and undergone what I would really call divine reincarnations to empower them through the imagery and personal spiritual experiences we all taste as a collective in our own way.
13MOONS: You have studied with some of the most impressive artistic masters in the world, including David Woody, Michael Fuchs, Amanda Sage, Laurence Caruana, Jonathan Solter, Adam Scott Miller, Daniel Mirante, and Autumn Skye Morrison. Are there any other specific artists that have inspired you? Can you describe how they have influenced your own artwork?
WM: Each teacher I have worked with has been amazing. I am extremely grateful to have been able to study the different techniques and work with each of them internationally. I love how each artist has their own styles, process and energy they bring to the table.
I enjoyed working with Amanda Sage & Daniel Mirante, who both taught me the Mischtenik painting process while studying at a painting seminar in Ventimiglia, Italy. Amanda taught me a lot, she made me really fall in love with painting because she showed me what I was capable of after her class, “Painting with Light” that I took in LA in 2016. That’s where it all really began, I was hooked and had found something I really loved. She made me fall in love so deep with painting that I followed her classes around to Italy, then Austria.
I have also really enjoyed working with Autumn Skye Morrison, who’s acrylic soul portrait class in Mexico taught me more within one week than I ever thought was possible in acrylics, she’s extremely talented in capturing emotions and vibes which really inspires me. Jonathan Solter blew my mind teaching me perspective, mix media techniques as well as architecture, forms and how to make things glow. Michael Fuchs the son of Ernst Fuchs, I studied with in Byron Bay, Australia in the spring of 2019. His class I painted an old lady from a photo and he taught me realism, lighting, and was very helpful for getting me out of the fantasy stuff and into realism more. Laurence Caruana was a great teacher and showed me how to paint with light, different perspectives, layering and the mischtenik as well.
I feel very blessed to have met an all time favorite artist of mine, Alex Grey. Alex taught me how to paint ears when I was invited to paint live at his home for the first full moon gathering of 2018, at The legendary Chapel of Sacred Mirrors.
I am grateful for them all and for doing all that they do as creators and teachers. I hope to next study someday with Boris Vallejo & his wife Julie Bell to practice my fantastic realism more, they both have been idols of mine since I was a child and works just blow my mind. I also hope to someday study with Philip Rubinov Jacobson, whose work I just love and who is also a student of Ernst Fuchs.
13MOONS: Aside from original paintings and prints, your art can also be found on tapestries, yoga mats, clothing, and so much more. Is there something special about seeing your artwork come to life in both a decorative and functional way?
WM: I just graduated recently from my second year of studying small business management and entrepreneurship at the Oregon Coast Community College. So this is very validating and exciting for me to see where I take my art and how I can get it out to the public more on merchandise. It has been a fun and challenging learning experience learning how to run a small online business during covid. I am excited to see what happens next or how I can get my stuff into more stores and make my art more accessible in all the ways.
13MOONS: Do you have any upcoming projects, shows, or collaborations that you would like to share with our readers?
WM: I’m really excited to be teaching my first big workshop at the Oregon Coast Community College this Fall! I am working on my third book cover for “Healing From the Tree”, a manual on using runes in energy healing practices, written by Author Ubbe MacLean. My last book cover for “Unstoppable Beacon”, was a number one Amazon Best Seller, written by author Anthony John Amyx. My first book cover was on how the healing power of mushrooms have transformed the planet, called “Ancient Psychedelia; Alien Gods and Mushroom Goddesses.” written by Author Josh Bempechat
I’m finishing up my autobiography, which has been turned into a screenplay in collaboration with Rolando Gomez, and we’re having fun with that. We’ll see what happens.
My 5th podcast interview on “Down the Rabbithole” came out recently; that was a really fun interview. I’m also having fun expanding my offerings in my catalog of eco-friendly clothing, blankets, tapestries, yoga gear and home decor.
CONNECT WITH WRENNA MONET
To shop her artwork, please visit wrennamonet.com.
For inquiries on originals, illustrations and live painting opportunities please contact. Wrenna@wrennamonet.com
Fire and Ice – A short documentary about Wrenna’s story of survival