I am SO excited about this post! I am going to be telling you all about the AMAZING Angie Crabtree! This woman has blown me away and I feel like the whole world needs to know about her. Ever since I found out about her, I have become her biggest fan! Any opportunity I get, I pull up her Instagram and show her masterpieces to my friends. She is the most talented person I know and she happens to live with 2 autoimmune diseases. She is a fellow person with diabetes but also lives with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I had the opportunity to talk with her over the phone and now I get to share what I learned!
Angie was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 12 years old and is about to hit 20 years of living with the condition. She says that when she was diagnosed, she hid the fact that she lived with Type 1. She would even resort to checking her blood sugar in the bathroom! She didn’t open up about her condition until college. I think many of us can relate to the fact that in the beginning, it is easy to feel isolated. Angie focused her attention on art. She had been taking art classes after school since she was 5 years old and eventually went on to attend an art high school. I asked Angie about her favorite things to paint back then and she said all kinds of nature and animals! At 16 years old, she was hired as an art teacher for adults and after college she became a full-time high school art teacher.
FUN FACT: Angie entered an art show as a child and won best of show. It was later revoked because they didn’t believe she painted it lol! Now that’s how you know she was AMAZING even as a child!
Bring on the Diamonds
Angie Crabtree is a contemporary painter whose current body of work uses precious gemstones as a means to unpack the psychology and allure of luxury culture. In 2012, Angie painted her first diamond for an art exhibition in San Francisco titled “Living the Dream.” She posted it on Instagram and got a great response. By 2016 Angie started painting diamonds full time, eventually exploring other gems. What does that mean exactly? She creates portraits of real gemstones onto a large canvas. Just take a look at the gallery below. The details are so real and jump off the canvas. It’s hard to believe these are paintings. Her work is so life-like! Angie says that 1 large painting takes about 300 hours to complete! Woah! A smaller painting can range from 60 to 100 hours.
Day in the Life of Angie
Here is where things get extra tricky- rheumatoid arthritis (RA.) I actually wrote a blog post with my friend Becca who lives with RA. We discussed the similarities that 2 women with 2 different autoimmune disorders share. Enter Angie- who lives with both! As if the diabetes struggle wasn’t enough, RA affects A LOT. There are days where Angie struggles with flare ups in her joints. Days where she can’t move. Days where it’s painful to just get out of bed. Not only that but Angie says that many of the medications that help her RA, actually make her blood sugar shoot up HIGH. Diabetes is already a balancing act but it throws Angie for an extra loop to deal with RA. I was really happy to hear Angie say that she decides to put her health first. If that means she has to change deadline, so be it. Her health is what keeps her going and able to work which makes it extremely valuable.
When I first saw Angie’s art I was BLOWN away. I was stunned, and I still am today every time I see her work. Any human who can create this level of art deserves all the accolades. In addition, I was really proud to see that a fellow Type 1 was this talented and was living her dream regardless of all the struggles. Before I spoke with Angie, I didn’t know she also dealt RA. Now knowing that she has multiple things that could hinder her, yet she still lives her best life is very inspiring. Even Angie herself acknowledged that she has to push herself harder than some and it brings her satisfaction to know she can still pull through to achieve what she wants. She’s Angie first. An artist second. A woman living with autoimmune disorders in addition plus many other awesome things.
I asked Angie what she wanted people to know about what it’s like to live with 2 autoimmune disorders while still working her dream job. She wants us to know that it is HARD. There are many tough days and often T1D and/or RA get in the way. With that said, she wants to remind us all that we can do whatever we set our minds to! Reaching your dreams while dealing with any struggle makes it that much more gratifying. Don’t let anything stop you!
I hope by sharing Angie’s story you feel inspired to keep reaching for the stars. Whatever it is you want to do, DO IT!
Feel free to reach out to Angie on Instagram! She would love to connect with more people living with diabetes and would even love to participate in charity events. She would also love to meet and connect with other artists! Tell her I sent you her way!
To learn more about Angie, check out her website HERE. Plus she sells some awesome cell phone cases with her art printed on them in her SHOP! And don’t forget to follow along with her on Instagram!