Questions I answered that were sent to me as part of an assignment.
When was the first time that you remember realizing that you are a creative person?
I don't think I realised personally so much as being told by outsiders. My mother is an artist and ever since a young age if I did something artistic people would tell me I got my talent from her. As I have gotten older I have realised that this is not true, that being 'creative' is something you get only from yourself and not from others.
When did you know that this was what you wanted to do with your life? How did you get started?
I didn't truly start getting passionate about my art until this year. So, in turn, it was this year that I decided an aritst was what I really wanted to be. I started painting because it seemed an impossible road. My life at the time wasn't difficult to me; the papers I were taking in college weren't challenging, nor was my job. It was too easy to 'become' somebody or something, to follow the path. I wanted something much harder to contend with, I wanted a challenge. I think life is about challenges. I think I fell into painting that way - the path was dark and unclear and firey...that appealed to me.
What traits, if any, do you think that creative people have as compared to people who are not creative?
I think creative people, as cliche as it may sound, have the ability to see much more beauty in the ordinary things in life. And also in the darker things. Also I find most artisic types are less judging than the norm...when they see something different in society they are astounded or inspired by it...they are rarely offended because something is different.
Do believe that your training has influenced what you create?
I believe that the people around me and the key figures in my life as I was growing up have influenced my art more than anything else. My art is an extension of myself so it follows that the people who shape me are the people who shape my art. Also the mediums I use bend to each individual work. As far as training...it's a beautiful tool to have someone shine their flashlight down the right road for you, but you are the one who has to decipher the shadows as they appear.
Have you ever felt that your personal expectations have limited your creativity? If so, how have you dealt with this?
Yes. Absolutely. My expectations are high and when I fail to meet them (as I almost always do) it's very easy to get discouraged. Contrary to popular belief, depression doesn't drive every artist. For me the longer it takes to reach my own goals the longer it tends to be that I procrastinate on them and painting one piece alone can become a difficult thing. To deal with this sort of behaviour I have to either run with first inspiration *immediately* or respark my inspiration halfway through by watching/being around other artists or around my subject matter.
Have other people supported or inspired you? Please explain.
My sisters, my brother, my husband. These people have inspired and/or supported me. My mother and father who have shaped me...these two have also shaped my work. The people who have commissioned work from me, taken the time to look at my product and comment on it, or the people who have submitted photos for my online projects...these are the people who inspire me. The people on the street who are visible and real, who I can reach out and touch...these are the people who inspire me.
How have you dealt with any criticism you have gotten because of your creative endeavors?
You just have to shake it off. People like to read their own things into art, and sometimes they just read things wrong. That's okay. As an example I have wonderfully mixed reactions to my project 'share your tears' (an online project which encourages people to take photos of their tears so I can turn them into works of art). The people who understand it understand the beauty that surrounds it and are really touched by it's meaning. The people who don't understand it think that I'm a depressed kid drowning in pain. When those people write me and joke about mixing prozac into my paints or seriously set about trying to 'cheer me up', I have to shrug it off. It's the same with any misunderstandings or criticisms...people are different so you just have to handle the different reactions and keep on going. The best you can do is say 'hey, at least I'm being noticed'.
Do you ever feel that you have to censor your creativity because you don't want to offend anyone?
I do but only because I am trying to sell my work. I live in a very conservative area and what to me may be a beautiful nude is seen as offensive material to a select group. If money didn't come into play I probably wouldn't censor anything for anyone, but in order to make a living and keep painting I do have to censor for my market.
Do you do anything special to get your "creative juices" flowing? Please explain.
I exercise first thing in the morning. It seems so simple but it really helps. By the time I get home I am so full of energy I find it impossible to sit down and waste time online or in front of the TV. It really powers me into working and gets my mind spinning. Also I am very much into singing and dancing and acting the fool. It's a way to loosen up my body. Painting can be a very intense process and also a very lonely one. Sliding down the banister whilst yoddling gives me the...spark and break...I need to keep painting throughout the day. Listening to music that resonates with my emotions also makes me eager to paint and create - a sort of 'me too, pay it forward' type of thing.
Does your work convey a specific emotion or message?
I have many ideas for witty politcal statements or comments on society that I could convey through my work but I never end up painting them. When I get down to it I don't want to shout out about controversial or popular things - I just want to paint. I want to paint the things around me that I see that are beautiful. I want to paint people as they are so that is what I am trying to do. Perhaps you could say my message is simplistic beauty, the beauty in every man of every shape. And I hope that's what people see when they look at my work. I hope they look at my portraits and see past the outer layers of skin/eyes/objects and into something more universal and connecting, into the deeper beauty and being of man.
If you could be any object, what would you be? Why?
I would be a tree. Because they are deep rooted in nature, timeless and ancient, they know all the secrets and still they stretch and grow towards the sky with reckless abandon, leaves dancing and twinkling in the sky. It's beautiful.
What are your words of wisdom for someone starting out in your field?
Experiment. Experiment with everything and never stop moving. Try new mediums and new ideas constantly and don't stop experimenting just because the world is happy with your work. Find your own passion and then build on it, twist it, soak it and drain it. But most importantly, listen to yourself. Do what *you* want to do. Everything will evolve from there.