Isa Zapata was born and raised in Cali, Colombia. From a family of artists at heart, Isa developed a passion for the arts at a very young age. Just like her mom, they’re both eternal learners and that was something she embraced growing up. She played the guitar, tiple and flout before she shifted her attention to painting and ceramic classes. A childhood filled with arts and surrounded by nature, along with roadblocks and failures along her teens and adult life were key elements that would later ‘paint’ the path towards her unique style and successful career.
Dedicating her professional life to being an artist was something Isa and her family didn’t see possible. Nobody in her family saw fine arts as a successful career. For her family it was more of a side hustle/hobby that could become a successful venture with a little bit of luck.
Isa then studied Business and Marketing, putting her dream to create art in the back door. During her college years, she fell in love with Marketing and this newfound love gave her the strength to continue in school and eventually graduate. Now with her degree in hand and an old dream in her [always stylish] back pocket, she did what every recent grad does; found a job and started building a future. Right after graduating college she was hired by a multinational company, where she spent three years in the corporate world. Due to some personal events in her life, she left her job, friends and family and without knowing anyone moved to the United States.
Now in Miami and after many years of not looking back at her childhood dream, she started painting again. But this time she couldn’t create any realistic paintings she used to when she was a kid. But instead these childlike, colorful and naïve characters were coming out to life. It took a couple months for her to realize she had found her new style. A style that would open the doors to many opportunities to make her dream come true. But not before some lessons that were taught by many failures – funny how that works, right?
Isa’s artistic background is as colorful as her art; from a children’s book illustrator, fine artist, muralist, designer and brand development. “I don’t like to use labels because I feel labels limit ourselves. Creativity is unlimited so why do we limit ourselves by adapting to a label? I consider myself a creative person that is able to illustrate and write a book, create a series of fine art pieces that make people escape and tap into a different world, design clothes, I can create a brand and concepts that tell a unique story, and the list goes on..as a creative person, what we can bring to this world is unlimited and unique.”
We can say Isa’s successful career is backed by an extensive media coverage. Her art, personal story and philanthropic efforts have been highlighted in over 50 media outlets in the USA, Colombia and Mexico. Such as NBC6, The Huffington Post, Miami Herald, CNNE, Univision, Telemundo and many more.
As important as her need to create is her need to help the ones in need, mostly kids and dogs.
Her philanthropic waves have reached outside of any planned result. Isa was the creator of “Artistas Unidos Por Dani” an online auction that raised funds for Daniela Ojeda, a Mexican girl who needed a 60K life changing surgery. “Dany came to me because someone saw my interview on NBC6 and contacted me to donate money for her surgery, I wish I could just write a check, but I didn’t have that amount of money. But I felt I needed to help, and the only thing I had to offer was my art and the creator power to come out with the solution to raise the needed money. I created a character inspired on Danny and called “Danni la hadita” and gave up the rights to her family so they can start a business to help their cause. After a few months I came out with the idea to also create a silent auction, I started by donating a big original piece by me, asked some designer friends for donations and people felt connected and inspired and we ended up gathering donations from Mana (a signed guitar by the band), Ricky Martin (a singed book and poster), El Canelo (a pair of signed boxing gloves), Kim Kardashian (a signed perfume), William Levy (his favorite shirt signed on the back), David Villa (a signed soccer ball) and the list goes on and on.* It was just pure magic, people started jumping in and calling their famous friend for a quick favor. All this made me realize that we all can help if we really care to do so. I didn’t know any of these celebrities, but the universe has a funny way of putting all the pieces together when it needs to.”
Daniela Ojeda dressed up as Isa's character "Dani La Hadita"
Artistas Unidos Por Dani Online Auction
Dani changed Isa’s life, she realized how much she could do to help. Following the success of helping Dani, Isa’s helped other kids from rural areas of Colombia... making it possible for them to have life changing surgeries and improve their quality of life.
All her phases as a licensed artist, a published children’s book illustrator, designer and a fine art artist shared the same purpose, to inspire people and awaken their inner child.Three years ago, Soulmates was created by chance. It was fate and here’s Isa telling the story herself:
“Soulmates are a way to keep people connected with feelings of love, and by them having the image of their Soulmates right at their feet, it would keep that connection/feeling awake most of the time. That’s also the reason that in Soulmates the characters are facing the person. On the business side, I wanted Soulmates to be part of the solution by giving my production to artisans and supporting this troubled field. Mass production is killing not only our planet but the work of artisans. And the most amazing part is that we are helping senior dogs with each pair sold.”
“I’m so proud of what we’ve built so far. And I’m excited for what’s is coming ahead. Every client picture, testimonial or message telling me how much they love the shoes or how much the person they were gifted to love them is truly amazing. We put our hearts and soul in every single detail, each pair is custom made from scratch for each client, it doesn’t get any more exclusive and unique than this.”
In their short life, Soulmates has become the go-to place to get the perfect gift for the person that has it all. All the way from the artistic process – of which Isa closely shares with her clients – up until the preparation of each box, every single step is carefully done and filled with love and gratitude.
Supporting senior dogs and raising awareness that dogs are family is something you’ll find on all of Isa’s projects.
Isa lives and works in Brickell, with her Soulmate Alex and her two rescued fur kids James and Nero aka Gordito.
Cool facts about Soulmates:
Celebrities that own Soulmates Shoes:
Why helping senior dogs?
Three years ago we found a senior dog on the street, the poor thing was is a very bad shape. The family never came forward, so we brought her back to health. Three surgeries and many struggles after, she was finally ready for adoption, but it was extremely difficult. We saw firsthand how little possibilities of a happily ever after a senior dog has. So thanks to Rosita we now help seniors by donating to rescues or directly by covering vet of needs of certain senior dogs.
What’s been the most difficult character to draw and why?
Jennifer Lopez! OMG, I always loved JLO and her focus in business has helped me through so many times when I started working by myself. So when I got the order (someone close to her ordered them as a Christmas gift). I was super excited (LIKE DANCING AND SCREAMING EXCITED) but when I started painting her I felt so intimidated, I felt like what if I fail? It was stressful to say the least. And I had to go to Colombia for my mom’s eye surgery and I remember painting her on the plane and when I arrived home in Cali, I showed it to my family (around 30 of us get together every time a family member comes from another country) and they all had different opinions. But everyone agreed on the same thing... she doesn’t look like JLO! For the character to come to me it took almost two weeks. When I presented it and got it approved I was finally able to breath. She’s so freaking awesome it’s impossible to capture it in a small pic 😊
After all this year what is the common Soulmate for most people? Their partners, kids, dogs?
DOGS! Lol I can say most of the people that buy Soulmates for them ask for their dogs to be on them. So I guess we all love our dogs more than everyone else 😊
How much does it take you to paint the art for a hand-drawn soulmates?
It all depends of the inspiration, but average 4-6 hours per person and that’s on a good day 😉
Isa at her studio
What do you enjoy painting more?
Dogs and women.
Some TV clips from Isa’s interviews:
Isa Zapata Selected “NOTIMUJER DE LA SEMANA” by Notimujer CNNE
Artistas Unidos Por Dani Interview
NBC6 Live interview
Isa Zapata Telemundo
Isa Zapata on CNNE
* Press coverage for Artistas Unidos Por Dani: https://bit.ly/2LzrHjC
Isa Zapata's brands:
Isa Zapata Fine Art
Bio by Jeronimo Mezzadra