My Story: Proof Love Wins

Contemporary expressionist artist Layla Messner


HI, I'M LÁYLA, and I grew up in world where if the word "impossible" meant anything, it just meant the beginning of a journey.

I'm the firstborn daughter of Reinhold Messner, the legendary alpinist and explorer, but I didn't grow up with my siblings in Italy, spending the summers at Juval Castle and traveling internationally. Instead my path was one of finding emotional safety and connection in a harsh and unforgiving world.

My childhood was spent in Canada with my mother. She worked as a caretaker for provincial parks and I spent my early years in the backcountry. Sometimes it would be just us in us in our cabin in the wilderness, with no other humans around. The resilience and determination I learned in the backcountry was vital, as I faced significant adversity growing up. Trauma and abuse left me with the emotional scars of all ten Adverse Childhood Experiences identified by the CDC-Kaiser study.

Refusing to let those experiences define me, I chose instead to harness the power of creativity and emotional awareness as tools for healing and transformation, going on to earn a Master's Degree in post-traumatic growth. My personal journey towards healing ignited my passion for helping others discover resilience in love and life.

As a creative entrepreneur, I'm continuously seeking fresh and innovative methods to inspire and connect. Whether through my art, books, or transformational talks, my mission is to create a safe haven, where others they can feel seen, heard, and accepted for who they truly are.

My journey has taught me that true resilience comes from finding emotional safety and connection in the face of adversity. Thus, resilience is not only a strength we find within but also a gift we give each other. My message is, "You are welcome here."

My goal is that when you see one of my paintings in a gallery or hang it in your home, it makes you will feel 100% welcome and safe to be your full, natural self.

If that sounds good to you, I'd like to invite you to join Láyla Sanctuary (aka my email list). It’s like getting a virtual hug from me in your inbox. And trust me, I give really good hugs. You can learn more here.



A portrait of designer, artist, activist Dani Redfern, with colorful paint powder on her face.

"When I look at Layla's artwork, I'm able to connect to my deep emotions. I feel like she's tapped into collective pain and joy; she's painting what thousands of women have felt for thousands of years and she's transmuting all that suffering. It's an alchemical transformation and it's very spiritual. She takes things that are of the soul, of the human condition, and captures them in paint.

Layla works magic through her art. The magic she works is healing, chain-breaking magic. She wants to free people of anything that makes them feel trapped or powerless. 

She's been through all these things that allow her to understand foundational truths to being human and so her work is easy to resonate with. There are a lot of experiences people have in common that create the same types of pain, wounds, and trauma. She paints about difficult things, but her paintings are easy to understand and leave you with a sense of optimism."

- Dani Redfern, Award-winning Designer, Writer, and Neurodiversity Activist


A photo of world-renowned Alpinist & Explorer

"Layla is an individual, creative personality, which she expresses impressively in her paintings. At my request, she has conjured up the imposing Howse Peak on canvas, which will be displayed in my new museum in South Tyrol."

- Reinhold Messner, World-renowned Alpinist & Explorer, Founder Messner Mountain Museums


A farmer in his field

"A symbolic artist who documents her process - and as an added bonus she is on time!"

- Bruce Schmaltz, Producer and Curator of the Sandbox ii Exhibition


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