Isabella Brouster knows all about making the best of every opportunity. A 2021 University of Missouri-Columbia psychology graduate, Isabella says she had planned to obtain her master’s degree in school counseling, driven by wanting to help people. As it turns out, the self-taught artist chased her dream, ran with opportunity, and now gets to do just that, but with her art rather than her counsel.
“I decided to follow my passion,” Isabella says. “One of my first memories was trying to sell pencil drawings of my favorite characters from children’s books in grade school. I was trying to make them come to life. I would draw me in their worlds.”
While Isabella did take an art class in high school—in fact, she credits her high school art teacher, Christine Sarra, for igniting her love of painting—she never studied art in college, because she “disagreed with people being graded on their artwork.”
Instead of art, Isabella studied the human mind. And the payoff has been that she gets to use both psychology and art in her work now. “A lot of what I do now has a healing effect. When I paint a person’s deceased loved ones or pets or their childhood homes, there is a healing effect. Being able to bring that to life for them again, being able to console someone through my artwork is the best.”
She also paints murals and takes on commissions. She primarily works on oil paintings on canvas.
Isabella presently gets most of her gigs from word of mouth. She also markets her work on Instagram. But most recently, she was hired by City Lifestyle publisher, Kelley Lamm, to render drawings for a series of children’s books that Kelley is writing called, “Oh Olive!”
Isabella isn’t the first artist in her family, although she might be the first paid one of modern times. She says her maternal grandmother and great-grandmother, as well as her paternal grandfather, are all artists, though none were paid for their talents. She did, however, discover a relative on Ancestry.com who lived in France in the eighteenth century and was considered a “famous artist…I actually have a few of his drawings and paintings.”
Isabella says she hopes the opportunity to work with Kelley will give her a wider audience. “I would love for people to see my artwork and recognize that it’s me: ‘That’s an Isabella Brouster!’”
Isabella Brouster also paints alcohol and wine bottles with cocktails next to them. "I love the way liquid looks in glass and the distortion that occurs," she says. "People use them to decorate their bar spaces and to give an art deco feel."