We had the good fortune of connecting with Becca Elan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Becca, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is essential if one wants to become a successful entrepreneur. Even if a person doesn’t like taking risks, invariably they will tell you that at some point their success was influenced by taking a risk. Risk to me is about not letting fear in but allowing a way to create opportunity and progress. There have been many successes and failures that I have experienced while trying to figure out what will bring me to where I wanted to be.

I think the largest role that risk has played in my life and in my career as an artist is that I am not afraid to take risks because of failure. Failure cannot be looked at with resentment. It must be looked at as an ally, as time given to learning to help steer me in the right direction. Becoming a painter is not what I first set out to do, but it is where I have landed (for now), and I am truly grateful that risk has led me to be able to put smiles on people’s faces through my work. Had I let failure set in, I would never have kept reinventing myself.

Another substantial role that risk has played in my life and career, is that of fueling my passion and faith. After taking the many risks of desiring to create a company that brought smiles to others, I began to wonder what is it that will truly make me successful? What is it that will fuel my soul? What will bring joy to others? What is my purpose on this planet?

I had always dabbled in painting for my own zen, I painted for peace, never for anyone else. I ran prior companies that were successful, but I was not passionate about them. It was as if something was missing. What really fueled my soul was making others happy and painting. One day my oldest daughter, Isabella Parisi, came to me with a brilliant and compassionate idea. For her 16th birthday, she wanted to have a fundraiser to raise money for children that were disabled and bullied. She did not want a party or presents, just to bring goodness to others. She suggested that I sell my paintings at an event to help raise money. I had never thought of doing that before. I was scared that no one would like them. I mean, I really only painted for me. Nevertheless, I agreed to be included in her special day and event.

At first, the fear of risk began to set in. Questions filled my head: what will we do? How will we raise money? Would people really want to buy my art? Would people donate to the cause?

Well, I kicked that little fear blob that was trying to camp out inside me out the door and I put faith in God that all would turn out well. I wanted to make the day special and provide an experience for my daughter that was unforgettable. We decided to make the event an art gallery showing to raise money for Raising Special Kids. I made some calls and got help from a friend that specializes in raising money, Engel Indo from Pay It Forward Tucson. We then invited local artists that wanted to be a part of the cause and were grateful so many came. A good friend of mine, (“Petie”) Peter Dalton Ronstadt, graciously came and performed to provide a wonderful ambiance for the showing. It was a blast, and I felt then my true passion in life was coming alive.

We were thrilled that so many came to be a part of the event and support the cause, and guess what? People loved MY art, I sold every piece, and so my fears of whether people would like what I painted for my zen were quashed. I knew then that I had a gift I needed to share with the world. So, I put faith in myself and began painting more and more. I later then was gifted an opportunity to train under a phenomenal artist, Maryanne Chisholm. Maryanne provided guidance and confidence that I was lacking. I knew I had a gift and wanted to share it with the world, but it wasn’t until her that I knew I could do it. She showed me the way, and the how, to do what I loved, paint.

We later held another art showing for my daughter’s 18th, this one was monumental. We had many more artists than before and 3 bands, including Petie. I was overwhelmed and realized I had jumped off the deep end, but the risk I was taking was actually fueling me with passion.

I knew that being an artist and raising money was what I am meant to do, and so BeccaElan Fine Art was born. I had once risked opening a restaurant, it became successful and we sold it. I later then risked opening a small consulting firm, it was successful. I risked opening a retail store, and other failed businesses, that were not successful, as well. I figured with all that I had learned I needed to put my efforts into what gave me life, painting and raising money. I am a spiritual woman, and so I knelt and prayed on what to do. The answer came to me clear as day, I then knew it was inevitable that if I gave it my all I would start seeing some small wins doing what I was passionate about. That is exactly what has happened. My art business is growing and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to tell you about it and show you.

Risk-taking should always be looked at as an affiliate of yours. Taking risks has helped me to be driven to the right opportunities, which has led me to where I am today. Risk-taking has allowed me to see life and business as a visionary. So, when I hear someone say risks are scary, my answer is this: Yes, yes they are, but without risks, one would not learn. Failed risks aren’t always negative, they provide the most valuable lessons a person can learn. Risks help shape the future.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

My art is created as tokens of love for those that inspire me. My journey began painting for my zen, and just for me. Now, I paint not only for my zen, but to share happiness with others, and to show my children that if you love what you do, life is peaceful. My children are my world, and so being an artist is inspired by them. I say this because I want them to enjoy every aspect life has to offer, and what better way to show it than to live it doing what I love.

Each piece I create is for a purpose, to bring joy to the one who beholds it. Through my art, I desire to bring joy, and through the sales of my art, I donate back to the community. I created BeccaElan Fine Art to serve others with enthusiasm through beautiful pieces that bring visual joy to others. In order to truly serve though, I donate a portion of the profits to those in need.

Becoming an artist was not what I set out to do in life. Creating BeccaElan has not been easy. I once wanted to be a doctor and began going to school for that. 30 days from going to med school, I shifted gears to work and earn a degree in the film industry. The love I had for the arts outweighed what I thought society wanted me to do. There I grew and had many opportunities that allowed me to do well as a filmmaker, but then life took another course. I found myself a mother and felt that I needed to be close to my children more. The film industry is one of long hours and travel, which is magnificent, but not what I or my children needed at that time. I then opened a restaurant, and to run it efficiently got a degree in Accounting (I know boring, right lol). The accounting degree was challenging, but it soon led me to open my own firm which I ran for many years. Being an accountant and business consultant was a great job, but something was missing. I needed life, passion…art. So, I took up my hobby of painting. It brought me zen again, but BeccaElan was not born yet, she was still in a box of a sort.

I have been told by so many that I need to be structured, that I should fit a mold of some sort. It was like they were trying to fit me into a box. A box society makes. So, for many years I painted on the side for my escape from reality. As stated before, I was on a path to becoming a doctor, but then tried to escape to the arts in film. I then came back from that, dabbling here and there, to run a business, become an accountant. Yet, I still felt like something was missing. So, what did I do? I went to law school to become a lawyer. It was one of the hardest paths I took. I am grateful I did it, but I still found myself escaping to my place of relaxation, painting. I felt my soul was lacking. I mean I loved the legal world, and still do, but a piece still felt unfulfilled. So I kept searching for my zen.

Zen to me means calmness in my heart, mind, and soul. To find peace one must look within. One must overcome the challenges of the day and seek the solitude of the mind. I began reading many books on self-fulfillment to find peace. I would confide in my dear friend, Pearry Teo, what I was learning, only to come to find out he had earned a Ph.D. and had answers to my many questions. In those conversations and readings, I realized that one must accept who they are, the dark parts and the light parts, but most importantly love who they are. Art is my peace, it allows me to find me, to love me. This I teach to my children, Isabella and Shannnley. I hope that they carry this on, as well as everyone who is reading this. The world is a beautiful place that provides inspiration, but peace comes from within. “It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

This is what I did, work at it. My daughter, Isabella provided an opportunity for me to grow. I cannot thank her enough for being the kind-hearted child that she is. Without that opportunity to realize we can help raise awareness, funds for those in need, and part of it could be through my art, I would not be where I am today. Her desire to give to the world, led me to my mentor, Maryanne Chisholm, who then guided me with a loving spirit to become BeccaElan. Born Rebecca Harmston-Parisi, but re-born as BeccaElan. ‘Becca’ comes from my God-given name meaning captivating and servant of God. ‘Elan’ comes from the meanings: with spirit, energy, and enthusiasm. I felt the name fitting for my journey of being a great artist that gives to others.

“You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems, but by confronting them courageously. You will find peace not in denial, but in victory.” —J. Donald Walters

“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” —John F. Kennedy

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in sunny Tucson, AZ. So, if my best friend (that is from here) came back to visit me for a week-long trip I would have to say our itinerary would look like this:

Our first couple of days in Tucson, we will explore the majestic Santa Catalinas. The Santa Catalina mountain range encompasses Tucson to the north. This range is 250 square miles of peaks, ridges, canyons and waterfalls. Such a beautiful place to go site seeing and hiking. These mountains include my favorite spots, Sabino Canyon (known for hiking trails) and Mt. Lemmon. Mt Lemmon can be reached by the scenic byway, which is the only paved road to lead up to Mt. Lemmon and the Santa Catalina Range. It is one of the most scenic drives in Tucson.
I love nature!

Our second day, would be to explore Reddington pass, a high mountain pass between the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Rincons. Reddington is another of my favorite spots to go four-wheeling. There are many places to explore there that can only be seen using four-wheel drive. In fact one of my favorite to explore and sit in nature is Chiva Falls. The waterfall is majestic to say the least.

Day 3, would be to site see and relax in downtown Tucson. It is such a wonderful mix of historic Tucson and new, contemporary developments. It has become a trendy place indeed. The San Agustin Mercado District is an open marketplace that houses many eclectic style foods to fit every palate. We then would move into visiting the oldest historical district, the Barrio Viejo. Here, we can view historic architecture, and many local artists. Finishing the day out by driving around to see the street murals. These art pieces are gorgeous and set Tucson apart.

Day 4-5 we would go to Tubac. Tubac offers an array of premium art galleries, unique shopping, and dining. We would be able to partake in hiking the Tumacacori mountains, and then return to visit a relaxing spa, have dinner and view the glorious sunsets of the Southewest.

Day 6-7 (if it was in January, February), we would then spend the days at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. This is a fun place to eat good food, wine taste (as she loves wine lol), see extraordinary gem and minerals, and mingle with people from around the world.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are many people that I would like to dedicate this shout-out to: My parents, for always being supportive in my dreams and aspirations; my children, Isabella and Shannley, for being the reason why living life with passion is so important; my sister Helenna Knighton and niece Ashley Knighton, for believing in me always; my mentor Maryanne Chisholm, for showing me and teaching me that I can be a great artist; and Pearry Teo, for helping guide me to see the real me. Jordan Brown, for always supporting my dreams and being a positive voice in my life. I have so many more shout-outs I could go on and on lol, but I won’t for now.

Website: https://www.beccaelanart.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beccaelan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BeccaElan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beccaelan/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.