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This is

Our Story

Some of the messiest parts of life propelled Atlas Art Press into existence. You may know them well yourself or know someone in them. We know the mess is real and we’re here to help you reveal the beauty in it. Here’s how it started:

 
 

 

HOW IT STARTED

A Journey from Dark to Light

 
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I knew it was coming, but so close to the last one? It was the fourth loss of life in three months [with more coming]. I was crushed for my friends and family who were the closest to the lost. I was mentally walking towards this next funeral with a nicely overflowing rucksack of heartbreak and emotional exhaustion slung over my shoulder. It wasn’t just the loss of loved ones, my life had been wringing tears out of me for 14 months (read more here).

Armed with the usual safe lineup of weapons (counseling, prayer, exercise, yoga, support from friends, etc), I began to responsibly combat my sadness, stress, fear, and anxiety. Gazing at my two young daughters made me feel intense gratitude and love, but my well of weariness was still brimming over. Releasing what was held captive inside to the outside, became a necessity. Vigorously scribbling words and pulling out my dusty pencils and charcoal to sketch became my outlet. I was pulling from the dark in my heart and looking at it in the light on paper.

What happened? Writings turned into a blog (then atlasoflight.com). Sadness began to dissipate. Art creations accompanied the writings. I felt release and full of joy, not weariness. People saw. People read. I was blown away. I reached out for feedback. Others could relate. They felt what I felt. I was asked to create a custom sympathy gift of art and writing. Then again. And again. I found there was a deep desire to communicate with those in the messiest parts of life, but most people don’t know how. We were born from messiest parts of life. The mess is real and we’re here to help you find beauty in it.

 

Atlas Art Press creates bold, inspired gifts for those experiencing the messiest parts of life. When you don’t have the words, our products speak, replacing weariness and despair with courage and grace, so you can confidently face life’s challenges. 

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founder, chief creator

Sarah Nelsen

Woven through each strand of my identity, is my steady, life-giving heartbeat for inspired, bold visual communication. Armed with a BA in graphic design & integrative arts and a handful of Masters courses in sustainable design, the creative arts is in my bones. For more than a decade, I’ve owned and lead a successful boutique graphic design & photography studio, Sarah Nelsen Designs. 

 

The strands of my life tapestry are being woven with the roles of wife, mother, sister, daughter, entrepreneur, artist, singer, designer, survivor, witness to heartbreaking trials of close friends and family and witness to the undeniable power of God. I love people and their stories. My husband and two daughters fuel my creativity and teach me what the qualities of love are along with my friends, family, and the strangers I come to know along the way. 

 

Having studied abroad in Australia and resided in the mountains of the West (Jackson Hole, Wyoming) and the deserts of the Southwest (Rancho Mirage, California), I’m currently settled in the hills of the Mid-east (Pittsburgh, PA). I always have yearned for the richness, simplicity, and rejuvenating qualities of natural outdoor spaces and you might find me hiking with my kids and great dane boxer or paddleboarding on the local lake. It is here in Pittsburgh, I grew up, left, and returned. That alone is a story in itself and with that, I will leave you to explore Atlas Art Press.

 
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