Twisted Heart
Blue Portrait


Artist Statement: As an artist, stories, leftovers and scraps are my life force. I’m a scavenger, telling stories through mixed media art, movement, music, and text to make reimagined meaning from catastrophe. I’m a “Detourist,” embracing unexpected routes as opportunities for creative growth, and the opportunity to build a culture based on empathy and inclusion. Literally reassembling the fragments of my life, after a decade of life-shattering trauma, pushed me to create a roadmap where there was none, reframing my own narrative as I begun to reassemble the broken shards of the life I once knew, as a sculptor would reassemble broken glass into a mosaic. I learned that resilience comes from the hope that as artists, we must create ourselves, out of these dismembered parts of our lives. I create to find the commonality, as well as the distinctiveness, in all of our “life detours.”

These paintings were created when I lost my digestive system. I also wrote nearly 40 songs in two months to process the events as they were unfolding, including the resurfacing memories of abuse by a trusted mentor. I journaled to rediscover the connection I had always found in nature. And I made art to paint the faces back onto trees – the friends who had always guided me. Although initially frightening, the journey ultimately proved empowering as I began to reclaim the woman in me, that sexual abuse, a coma, and 28 surgeries threatened to overpower.

Bio: Amy Oestreicher is an Audie award-nominated playwright, performer, and multidisciplinary creator. A singer, librettist, and visual artist, she dedicates her work to celebrating untold stories, and the detours in life that can spark connection and transform communities, giving four TEDx Talks touring her multi-award-winning musical, Gutless & Grateful, internationally and has recently published her memoir, My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful, and is releasing the self-narrated recording the audiobook for her CT Press Award-winning autobiography in November 2020. See more at

Cover Photo Original Art by Amy Oestreicher