Salis was raised in New York City and Massachusetts and spent formative years in L.A. and South America. She's mixed/Black and the daughter of Black Historian Sterling Stuckey and granddaughter of poet Elma Stuckey She studied drawing and sculpture at Columbia University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. She studied painting and illustration at The School of Visual Arts and in the studio of portrait painter John Murray, both in New York as well. She completed the professional four year atelier painting program and teacher training program at Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia. As well as being a visual artist she is a musician/composer. She co-founded art and activism collectives and a radical community center called Better than Television.