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Creative Voices

Artist Elle Luna on Her Path and Her Journey

By Summer Wilson

Inspiring designer, artist, and writer Elle Luna has an amazing story filled with dreams, art, nature, and voices from above.

Elle Luna was working as the lead designer at a San Francisco startup when she started having a recurring dream—night after night, for months. It was a vision of a white room with large windows. She didn’t know what it meant, but the dream was so powerful that she decided to try to find the white room. She did (on Craigslist, of course) and moved in. But once she’d moved in to the room of her dreams, her next thought was “Why am I here?” And in a loud voice, the room answered her, “It’s time to paint.” So—for the first time since college—she began to paint.

Torn between a demanding full-time job and painting at night, Elle was having difficulty committing to either fully. She decided to take a huge leap of faith—to follow her bliss and begin painting full time. Unsure of what was going to happen, she nonetheless felt that she was on the right path.

Elle published an essay on her experience; titled “The Crossroads of Should and Must,” it quickly went viral, and she decided to extend the post into an illustrated book with the same name. In the book, she lays out her theory of the paths of Should and Must. She explains, “Should is what we feel we ought to be doing, or what is expected of us. Must is the thing we dream of doing.” 

Elle followed her Must, and after some very productive time in her studio craved some solitary time outside in nature. She bought a Westfalia VW camping van, packed up a few of her favorite things (including her dog Tilly), and hit the road. Her experience has proved to her that the studio of her dreams is not a physical place but a place within, and she can go there whenever she needs to.

Learn more about Elle and her work in this stunning video profile, shot on location in Occidental, California. (Click to watch.) And then read this behind-the-scenes account of the two-day video shoot.