Ciara Barsotti

Hi, My name is Ciara and I make Art

I've been drawing animals real and imagined since I was a kid, and have always loved stories about worlds outside of and overlapping with our own. The Neverending Story, My Neighbor Totoro, and Jurassic Park are just a few favorite stories from my childhood lore. To this day I am enthralled by imaginative realism and the fantastic, and I love to explore my dreamscapes through painting.

I live in Santa Cruz county in California with my husband, Jamison, who is a mathematician. We enjoy the local coffeehouses and I love to hike in the surrounding state parks.

Contact Me

You can contact me directly with any questions about anything, including your favorite coffeehouses and places to hike! Or, connect with me on Facebook or Instagram.


Patrons get next-level involvement in the development of my work. You should become a patron if you like to see works in progress and to be "in the know" about upcoming ideas and projects. I've also got a few great bonus rewards just waiting for you to collect depending on your monthly pledge amount! I love Patreon because it's allowed me to connect with my fans on a much deeper level. Find out more by clicking the button above!


more than you ever wanted to know about me...


  • eggs, toast, and coffee every morning for breakfast
  • playing episodes of "Murder She Wrote" in the background while I work
  • listening to podcasts [current favorites: Art for Your Ear, Astonishing Legends, Criminal]
  • rainy days
  • the woods


  • traffic
  • changing plans (but cancelled plans are a-ok)
  • people who don't read and/or follow directions
  • clutter
  • nuts in sushi (it's a thing and it's awful)

I was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1991, and raised in Northern California with my two younger brothers, Ryan and Logan. My parents worked with college students throughout most of my childhood and I always enjoyed hanging around the grown-ups when we had meetings at our house or went on retreats. When I was twelve, we moved to a small town near Chico, California called Paradise. It felt vastly different from the college town I had spent my short life in, but I loved living in the woods (and I especially loved that I got to have my very own horse on our property). In high school my attention turned to reptiles, and I imagined I would spend my life as a herpetologist, which of course did not pan out.

My first job was at the movie theater and I lasted all of two and a half months... even the free popcorn and movies were not worth keeping that job. I ended up at a local coffee shop, were I met my now-husband of almost seven years, Jamison. He was going to become a mathematician, and I was going to save the world, of course! After graduating high school I took a trip to India to volunteer, and learned a hard lesson in humility when I arrived and promptly became deathly ill after about a week. A two-month trip became two-and-a-half weeks and I came home with my tail tucked between my legs... it was sobering to say the least, and it also made me question my entire purpose in life. If I could not survive without my cozy middle-class Western privilege, what good was I? I spent a few years after that floundering, angry at myself mostly, but also at God and at my entire American society. I suppose all of that comes with being 18 years old.

Jamison and I got married the summer after my disaster trip to India (I knew that if he had stuck with me through that level of sickness and that much mental-emotional tumult that he was a keeper), and after a couple of years of him working full time and finishing his bachelor's degree while I worked as an administrative assistant, it was time to move on to grad school! This is what brought us to Santa Cruz, California, four years ago, and that is where we have been ever since. I decided that since I wasn't doing much else besides keeping a job, that I'd start school at the local community college, first with the intent to become a social worker (I still had a bit of a savior complex), and then switching to art therapy, and finally landing in studio art. I will have my two-year degree this semester, and while I am extremely grateful to my professors and the community at Cabrillo College, that's plenty of school for me after all!

Throughout this time (for my entire adult life) I had been reading, listening, watching voraciously, desperately seeking my purpose in life and trying to figure out what the heck I was put on this planet for. I have to thank my parents, my mentor, my husband, and all of the friends who have supported me from the beginning, and who always knew I would end up with art. Since coming to the slow realization that art is, after all, a worthy way to spend my time on Earth, I have also come around to the idea that maybe it would be alright for me to try to make a living at it, also.

And here you see my rudimentary attempts at reinventing the wheel in a day and age where everything looks new but is really just the same old stuff re-branded. I'm super awkward at this whole "working artist" thing (and frankly I'm still getting used to the idea), but here's hoping I hit some kind of stride soon. Or not. Maybe I'll just suffer in awkwardness for all of my days. That would be alright, I suppose. In the meantime, all I'm really trying to do is make something good and honest, and hoping that others will come alongside me.

If you've made it this far, something must have caught your attention (that or you're just really bored and you should probably put down your phone or close the laptop and go for a walk). I'd love to talk about it with you! Get in touch, I'll be sure to reply within a day or two.