Isabela Ford, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, enjoys painting on different mediums, making bracelets and escaping reality through her art. Since she was little, she strived to create whatever she felt like and push her boundaries. Ford also has a very successful jewelry making business.
Ford’s biggest supporter of her art is her uncle, Eduardo Leite, a journalist in Brazil who helps her pursue her curiosity in both painting and film. He has taken her to a number of different art exhibitions, given her tons of books on art and helps her love of music flourish.
Ford’s uncle also introduced her to her favorite artist, Keith Haring, who is said to have paved the way for modern-day pop art by doing graffiti all over New York City. Along with Haring, Jean-Micheal Basquiat and Banksy are two other artists that Ford greatly looks up to.
“I wouldn’t have the biggest influence (Keith Haring) of my life if it weren’t for [my uncle] and [I’m] super lucky I was exposed to such creativity at such a young age,” Ford said. “I really owe it all to him.”
Isabela is not only inspired by these artists, but also by the world around her. She loves to paint or draw whenever she sees something and pictures her pieces in her mind. Sometimes Ford stays in her room and spends hours drawing with watercolors, gel pens and crayons. She also loves painting on a number of different mediums, including furniture, clothing, canvases and other things she can find around her.
The art form in which Ford has been most successful was inspired by her grandmother. Her grandmother’s artistic interest in making jewelry sparked Ford’s, as she would always bring her art supplies, jewelry kits and accompany her to craft stores to find all kinds of fun jewelry materials to work with.
Ever since then, Ford has loved wearing lots of jewelry, especially bracelets, wherever she goes. When she moved from Tennessee to Florida at the end of her sophomore year and started attending MSD, all of her friends and classmates started asking where she got her bracelets from. When she told them she made them herself, they began asking her to make bracelets for them too.
Ford soon realized that she could turn her bracelet making into a business and decided to bulk out on beads, string and other materials. She started selling them by word of mouth to anyone who contacted her. Eventually, her idea involved a booming business with numerous people reaching out and wanting to buy her products.
“When I started selling them, it was really nice and profitable and I was happy about it because it made me feel good that all my friends liked my [products],” Ford said.
For Mental Health Awareness Month in May, she sold over 200 green string bracelets to people in the community and others in thirteen different states. She donated half of her profits to the Bipolar Depression Support Alliance, which funds programs, interventions, therapy and hospitals to aid mental health in the community.
“[The BDSA] helps fund programs for people who need it and aren’t as lucky as I am to have the access to support and resources like I have, so I was really excited about [helping out],” Ford said.
Originally, Ford sold her products through people contacting her on social media platforms, especially her Instagram account where she displayed her bracelets. However, she has removed herself from all social media platforms. Now, she sells her products by request or just for family.