Elisa Vesta

ELISA VESTA (FEB 27,1964) French Artist, autodidact, has painted the largest Collection (2500 paintings, large and small) of Ethnics characters and indigenous people of Brazil, travelling alone in the wide wild country, by bus boats, canoes, mules, small planes, ULMs, etc


1. Early life

2. Educations schools

3. Studies

4. Paris

5. Ateliers

6. First paintings

7. Chromotherapy

8. USA

9. Freedom

10. Islands life

11. Photos gallery

12. Selected works

13. Brazil


Birth name








Elisa Vesta

February 27, 1964

Paris, France





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Early life and education

Elisa Vesta, born in Paris France, the first child of a Norwegian mother and a Tuareg father, was raised on a boat with no electricity, no heat, no fresh water, in a remote area of the shore near Marseille. When she was 4 years old, her little sister was born. But the baby-girl lived for only 21 days. She died of cold since that year's weather was extremely cold, and the conditions on the boat were very bad.

Elisa's mother, very depressed, was sleeping almost all the time... Her father was learning to deep dive... And Elisa and her mother never knew if he would come back alive each day he went out to dive. Elisa's mother was Norwegian (from Italian and Russian origins) and her father's mother half Afghani, while his father was half Italian and half from the Tuareg tribe of the Sahara desert.

Elisa began to paint at 2 years old, drawing characters she created out of her imagination. She went to school for the first time at 5 years old, but her mother took her out because she was feeling too alone… At 8 years old she began another school in a small village, Port Barcares, located in the south France, where the boat was anchored. Her father now a famous Extreme diver, was constructing underwater foundations for Marinas (Port Leucate, Port Barcares, Port Vendres, Argeles etc... These ports were all constructed by her father).

Elisa's early life began with fishing and digging for sea shells, selling them to restaurants, and in the summers, helping her mother in the fish shop. She studied a lot herself in public Libraries, having a strong passion for books and their contents, finding out information, detailed answers, etc... When she was 10 years old, she studied for 2 years in a Monastery school for which she paid herself by selling the shells she dug and picked on shore.

At school, she was too advanced in the courses, and thus had problems staying interested in the subjects about which she sometimes knew more than her teachers, so she was placed in upgraded levels. But she didn't want to adapt, and with many problems at home, now she had a little baby brother 12 years younger, she decided to quit school and study by herself while helping her mother against the violence of her father. When he died (in 1981), she was 16 years old and took control of her father's under-water construction company, only to pay off the employees and bank debts. She went on to run her mother's little boutique, until she sold it before leaving, at age 19 (1984), with her mother and her 7-year-old brother to Paris to start a new business.

When she had time, Elisa studied with Mr. Collemine the best Copyist of the Marine Painter under the King Louis XIV, (Musee de la Marine, Paris). She also trained in Renato Vassallo Atelier, known for their prestigious art skill for paintings restoration, collaborating in 1985 with the Louvre Museum.

In addition, Elisa studied the Chromo-therapy at Necker Kids Hospital.
One day she decided to paint 20 large paintings in a week. Nobody was willing to exhibit them. They told her she had to wait for the galleries schedules etc.. She tried to fit in the Art Organization of Paris, but everything was too narrow for her.

At that time, Elisa Vesta sold her art to different collectors, and a 30-piece drawing collection on paper made with sepiaink to the House of Japan in Paris.

Elisa lived 8 years in Paris, had a French fiancée entrepreneur, but supported her family all by herself, until she decided to get free from everybody and set up a new life on the another side of the Ocean, in St. Martin, West Indies, an island surrounded by blue turquoise free sea...

She decorated for different hotels and the Watney Family, the founders of the Island.

Travelling to Colombia , to meet Gabriel Garcia Marquez the famous writer of Magical Realism (bestselling book, "100 year of Solitude")... Travelling again and again, to Santo Domingo, Miami, New York... To meet with all kinds of Civilizations, Elisa tried to study the HUMANS... through their cultures, food, TV Programs, their history, in order to figure out the Human Future on this Planet...

In 1998 a car accident left her  paraplegic , and unable to move >specialiste told her she will never walk again.

In 1999 Elisa just to prove she  could do whatever she wants , she travelled to Canada in a cold  October , intending to cross the whole country on a dog sled...But even though she had all the support from a native Canadian Indian very skilled in the wild way of  life ...She was to weak.... Some months later , after making a deal with the TV Canal Plus , she arrived in Honduras to discover new places to set up a TV Reality  Survivor program on a Island , new genre in Europe ...

 She crossed the Country during a   month , went to Tegucigalpa the Capital  met with one counselor ,of the President  Carlos Roberto Flores , declined a proposition of cultural organisations, and went on with he traveling Nomad Philosophy.

Elisa have a big obsession for the Caribbean Islands... Reminding her , of the boats where she grown up... sea, freedom, peace... and Solitude.

In 2002,  with 80 % of handicap... She decided to get lost in The wild wide Brazil... The journey last for 10 years. Travelling by anything who can move her ...on the 88 Millions of kilometers of this Big country  from the south to Amazonas from Est to West , by canoas , boats , horses, buggys , donkeys, ULM , on motos during 6 years ,  small planes , bus, cars etc...



During these 10 years Elisa painted more than 2500 paintings of Indigenes


BRAZIL BRAZIL ....Elisa set up in different places , she particulary Symbiosed with BAHIA , Black Etnies mixed with natives indigenes , revealed very specials Magics of the life style of these People ...

Elisa traveled almost of the time when she had the strength...From Bahia to Porto Velho 4 days  bus  and  4 days boats and MANAUS the city of the lost souls...117 degrees Fahrenheit...100% Humidity...

Elisa made an appointment, in 2007, with the famous Dr. Francisco Ritta Bernardino owner of the Amazon resort Ariau (Jacques Cousteau, the filmmaker and Diver, gave Ritta the Ariau Concept, when he visited Amazonia and Ritta constructed Ariau Amazon Towers a luxury, eco-friendly treetop hotel some months later in 1982). Unluckily Ritta, called away upon the loss of a very dear friend, was not available to view Elisa’s artwork. So, lost in Manaus on less than a shoe-string budget, Elisa totally loses herself in the Amazon forest, where money doesn't mean anything... fishing and living with the Amazonians surviving very well in the natural environment.

The following year, in 2008, on Boipeba Island 6000kms from Amazonia, with balmy weather, transparent waters, mangroves, and plenty of peace and quiet on its deserted beaches off the southern Bahia coast, Elisa set up, and painted 500 large paintings, due to the fact that in Valence, the nearest town by boat, she had made a good deal with a merchant of canvas fabric who gave her almost a kilometer of canvas because it had some minor defects; so Elisa painted, painted a lot.

By 2009, Elisa is in Salvador de Bahia, Imbassai (a little sleepy village which is often called one of the last paradises on earth) in a little beach house, very Spartan life indeed... with 400 kg of art paintings, pigments, canvases, books, etc... Again, she created a collection of hundreds of small size paintings, living in a beach favela and after she sold the art, Elisa immediately bought and barbequed a whole lamb, everybody with a full belly...to celebrate the FIESTA IN LA FAVELA !!!!


- Living and painting all over Brazil, rejoicing in the Amazon, Elisa created the largest collection of art memorializing different ethnic tribes and their culture in South America—900 large paintings (0.53 X 1.40 m) and 1000 medium and small studies. Elisa never uses photos to depict the visual appearance of her subject (after reflecting on the inner significance of the person’s natural environment and the person's expression of character and moral quality) she lets the alchemy of the moment manifest itself through her sketches.

Elisa’s art focuses on the subject’s inner essence (from her, the artist's, point of view). In her mind, indigenous ethnic groups, living as they do close to Nature, mirror the animal and plant worlds in design and color. She explores how indigenous people assimilate the powers of Mother Earth and use Nature in their cultures’ crafts, music, foods and in the evolution of behavior and sharing; and how they employ Nature’s colors to protect their own skin and spirit, and to catch luck when they go to battle, or hunt and fish; or to empower seduction and celebration or healing ceremonies. -

- This symbiosis enables indigenous ethnic groups to transfer Nature’s power to another nameless unexplored dimension and Elisa captures and communicates this magical transformative dimension in her paintings. She uses all of her senses and, in an alchemic manner, connects observers to the painting through their sense of smell, touch, sound, sight and even taste of the original organic soil.

"When I am in my sketches, I'm sharing the consciousness of the subject and the natural environment. And I have no awareness of the mechanics. The sketch and the subject join in another realm and they do what they do in their own magical environment. I try to let their understanding come through me give natural durability, equal to that of the cave paintings that were discovered in the first caves on Earth. Cave drawings have been preserved throughout the centuries thanks to the kinds of techniques she adapts that enable her canvases and paintings to endure in all climates—from very cold to very humid and hot. -




Mid-2009 and 2010 found Elisa painting and decorating five luxury hotels, and selling to different collectors. She ended her Brazil adventure in 2010, but that was only the beginning of a new one. Elisa departed from Brazil in April 2010 and arrived in Guadeloupe, the French Caribbean Island, where she painted a nice collection of natives' portraits. A few months later, she arrived in Mexico. For a long time, dreaming about visiting the Frida Kahlo home/atelier museum, Vesta finally visited that museum in Mexico City. Over a two-year period, she travelled all through Mexico, painting more than 400 pieces depicting the latest ethnic people of Mayan descent, the peoples of the Chiapas and indigenous people in Oaxaca. During the same period, she visited Belize, Honduras, Chile, and Brazil again.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was elected President of Brazil in 2002 and Elisa liked him dearly, but when he was succeeded by his former Chief of Staff, Dilma Rousseff ( a dear friend of his who had been a guerilla companion in the seventies and eighties fighting for Democracy), Vesta decided to move on to her next adventure. And 2012 found Elisa painting again at the most beautiful shore of Mexico—Tulum, Quintana Roo at the Riviera Maya.


Art Market

The Vesta Mexico collection 2010/2012, for the most part, was sold to different galleries and collectors. In 2013 Elisa travelled in Europe and Dubai with the remainder of that Mexican collection.

Almost all of this Mexican collection has been sold to several private collectors and to a gallery in Belize which has more than 200 pieces of Elisa’s artwork. Elisa's collections have been sold to Maison du Japon, Avenue de L'Opera, Paris; Bank Votoranten in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Denmark Embassy in Sao Paulo, Brazil; French Embassy, Brasilia, Brazil; Hotel Tatuapara, Praia do Forte, Bahia, Brazil; Hotel Ibero Star, Imbassai, Brazil; the architect Mrs. Lourera from Salvador de Bahia, Brazil; and other collectors from Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Italy, Mexico, United States, Uruguay, etc.

In addition to painting, Elisa Vesta redesigns hotels, restaurants, and beach houses: Hotel Porto Da Lua, designed by Wilson Reis Netto from Rio, Oscar Niemeyer's collaborator, who had been elected successor of the famous architect Le Corbusier of the Academy of Architecture at La Sorbonne University, Paris; Casa da Nati, Dende Loft houses, Boipeba, Brazil; Mucuje Village Arrail de Ajuda, Bahia, Brazil; the Tulum Gypsy Loft beach house, and Tulum White Castle beach house, in Quintana Roo, Mexico, and more.


Big Ideas

But Elisa has some other BIG ideas on her mind... the "Magic Realism" she had connected with very early in her life, as a child, and in addition she has always been fascinated with the Schrödinger's Cat Concept… So, as she said in 2002, when she set sail to get lost in Brazil:

"If I have the bad luck to survive... I will prove to the planet that the Scientist Erwin Schrödinger was VERY RIGHT…"

Elisa knows she is everywhere and nowhere at the same time, which is similar to the cat being alive and dead at the same time. Regarding the unpredictability of future events and to explain the existence of parallel worlds, Elisa also says that she can exist only as long as she is acutely aware of both herself and her inseparability from the natural environment.