Buffalo native, Liag Zeppetello, retired early and moved to Sherman, NY in 2013 to begin giving a higher attention to her artwork. She has been in several local shows, but there was a lingering frustration on how to get herself out there on her own as an artist.

“I have never owned a shop before, and in November of 2016 I went into Eight Limbs for a massage and – totally spontaneous – the opportunity presented itself, as I saw the space available.” The first things she noted were the beautiful atmosphere, positive environment, and the ease of building and maintaining relationships with the people there. “It’s relationships with people first,” says Zeppetello.

“The Imaginal Realm comes from a book by Stephen Harrod Buhner – Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm: Beyond the Doors of Perception into the Dreaming of Earth, which discusses how people use to live in a metaphysical background when we were completely immersed in the natural world, and how indigenous people still live today. [And] the theme of the shop, which is right in the name itself, is art and gifts of the earth experience – the experience of the earth itself and our perspectives of it. Admiring the earth and what she’s going through, and focusing on becoming more aware of our beautiful planet. When considering pieces for my shop, I always come back to this: ‘Is it consistent with my idea of living in harmony with the Earth?”

Opening day for ‘The Imaginal Realm: Art and Gifts of the Earth Experience’ was Jan. 18th 2017. Zeppetello knew she wanted certain artists in her shop right from the start. Two of her main influences being Westfield, NY resident Nancy Nixon, who she said to be “an anchor in the art world,” as well as Carrie Tredo. Who is well-known for her hauntingly beautiful Tree Spirit sculptures.

Faith: How long have you been creating art?
Liag: With gaps in my decades, probably since I was five years old. It’s something that was integral to me. After highschool, I had to make the tough decision ‘Was I going to continue with my art, or do something else?’ and I wimped out. Never wimp out. Keep going.

Faith: Professionally, what is your goal?
Liag: To get customers in here!” she jokes.

“My goal is to get people to know about me, and about the shop, which is always difficult especially when you’re new to an area. More importantly, passing on the message of getting back to our roots when it comes to the importance of our planet.

Faith: How would you like to see art impact our community?
Liag: Local art is flourishing in this area. I would like to see art impacting the community by helping people become more aware of what’s happening in our world, rather than going out and purchasing items that are mass-produced. As the saying goes, “infinite growth on a finite planet doesn’t work. Art is an extremely powerful way to convey those thoughts and help people to be mindful of their choices.

Art reflects the changes that are happening, but also reflect the changes that can happen – and our story can always change.

Faith: Who have been your biggest influences in the art world?
Liag: I have two close friends who are both artists [Bellavia, and Fred Hatt] who have been the most positive about me and my art, and making me understand that I am an artist. Knowing them has made me get back into my art in a serious way. However, what I do in my art, which is a whole different question, isn’t influenced by artists per say, but being open to experiencing the world through spirituality.

Opening up to larger concepts and ways of seeing existence and the universe, and opening up my mind to being able to see whatever else is out there. I tend not to look to other artists for inspiration.

Faith: What does having this establishment mean to you?
Liag: One of the things I’ve learned is that, at least for me, I cannot be a solitary artist. I need to also relate to the world, have relationships with people – the internal world as well as the external.

It also does indicate a signpost along my journey, because I can point out the time where a bunch of things happened and I shifted my energy. It’s been the next step in the flow of a journey, and it’s been very meaningful to me to have taken that step.

Faith: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers?
Liag: “Come in!” she laughs.

The Imaginal Realm is located at 141 Chautauqua Ave. in Lakewood, NY.
Hours: Wednesday thru. Saturday 12:00PM – 5:00PM
Phone: (716) 998-8927