How do you find your creative spark after living years without it?
How do you find your creative spark after living years without it?
Transcript for Take an Art Break Podcast Episode
Okay. Hello Live.
Hi. Hey, live.
Live. We’re live. Me Art world. Art is moving. We are so excited today. We have we are re how does, we had an amazing chat with Sharon Burton and a group of other amazing art advocates. I don’t know, I think it was like a month or two ago. So we’re really, really excited to bring Sharon back today. And Sharon, tell us about yourself and what are your passions and what do you want to change in the world? <Laugh>?
What do I wanna change in the world so much <laugh>? Well, what, first of all, I just wanna thank you all for inviting me to be a part of your podcast. I really enjoyed the conversation that we had. I think it was May, early May.
Oh, it was May Okay.
Going by so fast. But and you all were a guest on my podcast. Yes.
That was so fun too.
<Laugh> Yeah. For world creativity and in Innovation Day in April. So I appreciate you returning the favor. I’m Sharon Burton and I am a creativity coach an artist and a poet. And I am so excited to be here and to talk with you all. My my jam is creativity and promoting that and working with people who are interested in rediscovering, relaunching, sparking, whatever they’re creativity. And my business is called Spark Your Creative. I’m based in the Washington DC area, but I feel like I am a global creativity coach. Especially, you know, coming out of the pandemic and everything. You know, we’ve done a lot virtually to reach out to people. And so I’ve been doing this since 2017, 18, somewhere in there. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And I do one-to-one coaching.
I also do group coaching. I’ve been working with doing artist way groups okay. Using the book The Artist Way by Julia Cameron. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And I am getting ready to launch some new services this fall. Ooh. Cuz I believe that really coaching people on their creativity is more than just traditional types of coaching, I think particularly in these days and times that looking at people’s wellbeing and really working with maybe kind of non-traditional coaching methods that have helped me to, to stay creative and stay engaged in my creativity at some level. Such as I’m a Yoga Ndra guide, and if anybody’s familiar with Yoga Ndra, it’s very much a meditative kind of yoga practice. It’s not based on poses and that sort of thing. And it’s a very good way to clear the mind, body and spirit and to open yourself to creativity.
I’m also a meditation guide saying, you know there’s studies on both that show how really quieting the mind and the body can really open yourself up to creativity. So I’ll be doing more of those types of activities. And also working with things such as essential oils. Hmm. Definitely. And really working with that, you know, essential oils and I’m learning so much working with doTERRA. I’m learning so much about how oils work with not only your health, but really just how it really helps with creativity and really creating an environment that helps you to be innovated and to be open to new ideas. So that’s something that I’m really excited about. So I’m also gonna be un unveiling some coaching packages and services that, you know, combine some of these different modalities with the coaching as well as the traditional coaching.
So I wanna be because I believe in holistic medicine and holistic ways of, of being. I think it’s, and particularly now that we have been dealing with Covid and a bunch of other things in the last year a lot of our nerves are fried <laugh>. So you know, we need to sometimes go beyond just traditional structure to, to get at what we need. And so my, my biggest audience is really working with those at Midlife Over 40 who want to either reclaim their creativity or maybe discover their creativity. And that could mean you know, if you were a painter back in the day and you gave all that up because you got married, had kids, had to get a career, you know bringing, you know, helping you kind of come back to that.
Because as a person who was a late bloomer, as a creative myself, I know how hard it was. I didn’t really get back into my creativity or my art until I was in my late thirties and I had gotten my graduate degree, I had gotten my career going. But it was hard, you know, because it was like for me it was like, well, am I really an artist or is that was something in my head, you know? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, is that a figment of my imagination? <Laugh>. So, you know, and then it’s like, okay, are you gonna go to art class or art school? You know, what are you gonna do? And how are people gonna perceive you? What if you’re not as talented as you think you were? You know, things like that. So I had to really get the courage, and it took a few years, probably a little longer than it should have.
And I felt that with what I do as a creativity coach, is to kind of help people not take it, take as long okay. To do that. If they have a book inside them, you know, let’s see what we can do to get you going if you have. Yeah. You know, if you’re facing Emptiness syndrome, you know, and you want to, to really get involved with art and you haven’t done that, you know, let’s see what we can do to get you there. So it’s, it’s a lot of it is confidence building. A lot of it is pushing past feelings of imposter syndrome. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, a lot of it is you know things that people said to you when you were younger about your work and that stage with you, like, your stuff is crap or mm-hmm. <Affirmative> even sometimes folks that are right there with you mm-hmm. <Affirmative>
You know there’s sometimes you not getting the support that you need to move forward and you know how to navigate that. So that’s what I do and I enjoy it. Out of all the gigs I’ve ever had <laugh> in my life I’ve really enjoyed that. And before that I was doing art consulting and I was also an art curator and I enjoyed those things. But you know, being in the art world from that perspective, is it, it was became a little bit more of a challenge for me because I could see the world changing and I could see that, you know, this was, you know, the art world’s kind of like a bubble, you know, it’s about sales and mm-hmm. <Affirmative> auction and Art Basel and this, and, you know, and I began to realize that wasn’t, wasn’t aligning with who I was becoming. But I felt I always had a great relationship with other artists, and I felt doing this was probably the best for me. And it was, it has been. And I’m, I’m just really grateful for that.
And yeah, it feels like sort of your life experience has led up to this point
And so last time Lisa and I, I were talking together, we, we were in a, like, I think I defined it as a ugh, kind of mood. We were just feeling super uninspired. And so we talked about, you know, what can you do on those days that you’re not feeling inspired to take an heartbreak when you’re, when you are on that heartbreak train and you know that you need to be on it, but you’re just not feeling inspired. And so I think it’s great to have you as a guest today because I wanna sort of unpack a little bit more about how do you find that spark when it’s been gone for a really long time. So like you were suggesting people who had decades in between their creative sparks be, because I think that we’re coming out of Covid and I just think there are a lot of people out there that first of all need it, need to find it, even if they don’t know they need to find it. But also people who want to find it. So what, what would you suggest for people to, what are the first steps towards finding that creative spark when it’s been, when you’ve been living without it for a long period of time?
Okay. And I think there’s some clients’ experiences that I’ll probably weave into some of my responses, but I’m gonna take it from me. Yeah. It was that way for me. I I was really into art in high school and all that. And of course, you know, your well-meaning parents, you know, they were like, and I, I ca let me just back up. I came out of high school in the late eighties, so that was a very different time now mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. So I wanna put that out there, because some people would be like, well, why wouldn’t you go, you know, it was different. I mean, going to college was about what health mm-hmm. <Affirmative> business administration, law you know, engineering. And, and, and it is hard, you know, money making things, and people were just sort of channeling into that. And so I was channeled to do something different than art school, which is what I really wanted to do.
But, you know at the time, the attitude was that if you’re in the arts, you can’t make money. Now, we all know now that that’s not true. You know, we can be graphic designers, photographers, we are living in a very visual age. And so creatives are like, you know, they really can write their ticket whatever way they wanna go. It doesn’t have to be galleries and art world. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, and, you know, all that. You don’t have to be eeking it out in a studio somewhere, you know, you can really pivot and do some really wonderful, interesting things. Even get into arts therapy, you know? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, there’s just so many levels that a creative and artistic person can do. But at that time, that wasn’t really pushed. So I did the whole I did business administration as my undergrad. I went into public service and nonprofit and all that.
I got my master’s in public administration. But the, the, the one thing for me is to listen to your intu intuition, because if it’s pinging you, and that’s the word I could think about, ping. I kept getting pings. When I finished grad school, I was working, and I was living in Atlanta, Georgia at the time when I finished grad school and was working down there, and I would pass I lived outside of Atlanta at a time. And so if you had to go into the city those of you that are in Atlanta area, you know, you had to take 75 or 85 south if you were up north or whatever. So I’d come by, could come into the city. And on my right hand side, you, there used to be, you see the sign, Atlanta’s college of Art or School of Art or something like that.
It’s now part of Savannah State school of Art, or, or not, sorry, not Savannah State. Savannah College of Art now has that, that campus. But at that time was Atlanta. And I would be like, you know, you need to go there, <laugh>. You know, it would just be this little ping, you know, you need to go there and do the art thing, now you are employable, and so you need to go there. And I was like, you know, and at that time I was like 30, and I was like, I’m too old to be up in the classroom and these kids. And, and, you know, you think you’re an artist. Are you really an artist? You know, you, you did some pretty pictures and stuff, and everybody, you know, are you real? You know? And I was like, whatever. And it was interesting because I, I dip my toe in by going to I signed up for some art studio tours where they would, you know, take you around to see some of the local artists.
And something just said, okay, just, just try this. So I did that. There is a celebration. They, they don’t do it at the scale that they used to do but it was the National Black Arts Festival they would have every year in Atlanta. And I you know it, it just sort of took over the city. And so a friend of mine, I think she kind of picked up about my art thing. I think I might have even mentioned it. And she said, you know, let’s, let’s be volunteers for this. Let’s sign up to be a volunteer for this. And I was like, okay. You know, and something about that experience, I would, I, I, I was trained to be a docent for one of the exhibitions. And this was, this is an interesting exhibition because it featured the artwork of historically black colleges and universities mm-hmm. <Affirmative>.
And I’m a product of two. And so I was like, wow. You know, and it was like their art collections, and it was on tour. And so I was at Clark Atlanta University at the time, and they had a gallery. And I remember them talking about the collection. I remember going to the lectures. I remember just sort of experiencing the art artist talks and stuff. And I was like, this is, you know, it was like something clicked. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. I still have that poster too, from that particular exhibition that I have in my when you first enter my home, my home, it’s just right there. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. But, and it just reminds me of that time, and it was an exciting time to listen to artists and to view different shows. Spelman just had their opened up their art gallery the Camille Cosby gallery Museum rather.
And it was just a lot popping. And it was just an interesting feeling. And I was like, wow, you know, this is, it. Just something was like, I came home mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you know, it was just like, there was this feeling like, you belong in this. After I moved here, I decided to get involved with art curating and that sort of thing, because still I didn’t trust myself as an artist. I hadn’t taken any studio classes. I didn’t, I I just didn’t have the guts <laugh>. And I’m like, well, at least I can be a round artist. I can sell art. You know, I could do mm-hmm. <Affirmative> mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And so I did that for a number of years and a couple years, and then it just kept, I kept looking at stuff. I’m like, you know, you can do that. You could do that. So I think when, when you decide that you want to get creative after a while, it’s really giving yourself, giving yourself permission to explore, you know, and, and to be open to whatever comes to you, you know, whether it is let’s go to a gallery show and see what’s going on, a art talk.
Let’s do a tour of studios. And, and that’s really, for me, as an artist, it was really cool because you could see artists actually do demonstrations and that sort of thing, and you can get the juices going. But I think really finding, putting yourself in the areas, in, in the, the kind of environment that is about what it is that you’re interested in. If you’re a musician, going to a local cafe that has a, a live musician person, you know, playing, doesn’t have to be, you know, these big, well, right now we’re, we’re kind, kind of moving back into the stadium, you know, rock and all that type of stuff, you know, music. But, you know, just start small, you know, and, and not put yourself in a position that you don’t feel comfortable, but put yourself in the arena of what it is that you’re interested in and, and, and just sort of just sort of court yourself back.
Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And that’s the best thing I can say. Being around artists and art as a curator was one of the best things too, because I got a chance to get into these really deep discussions with artists about their work. And I also had some really good supportive people around. One of my co-curators that I worked with, we did some women’s history muff themed art shows. And we really, we were, we were jamming, we were <laugh>, we were, we were kicking butt. And she started messing with me like, you know, you need to put your own art into this. And I’m like, I’m a curator. I don’t do that. Uhhuh <affirmative>. And then you’re like, she was like, no, no, I, she basically dared me to submit art for one of the shows. And I did. And I had started taking studio classes, started drawing, and I got, you know, and I kept getting good feedback.
And I was fortunate, you know, cuz the work wasn’t really all that great at that time, but I got got but the, you know, one piece is that piece up there with the red, that’s one of my early pieces that was a mixed media piece. And I was really into adinkra symbols and different kinds of textures. So that has burlap in it and all that, and has a lot of texture in it on, and I just keep it up as a, you know, kind of like, okay, this is where you came from. I became very interested in collage and mixed media, and that’s where I kind of landed. And I enjoy that. I am working on a series now that I think is really important for the times. But I think why am in, in large, it’s, it’s really kind of doing little bit of experiment and then going to, you know, take some studio classes.
It’s not that intimidating. If you’re older, don’t worry about it. Because now there’s a lot of people in our age group that’s in those classes and doing the same thing, you know, because we are all reclaiming our creativity or feeling like we’re ready to try it. And, you know, and I’ve just was a little Bain and ego, you know, like, oh, you know, these kids and stuff, but, you know, and really 30 wasn’t bad, you know, but that’s just where I was at the time. I think you also should be gentle with yourself about it. And not go into it with like, okay, I’m going to be a bestselling author, you know, I’m going to be all the no, you know, I just wanna, I’m just gonna write some short stories. I’m gonna write some poetry. I’m gonna, and you know, it’s interesting, even from that point of view, as a poet, I wrote lyrics and stuff as a teenager, and I guess that is a form of poetry, you know?
And I, I was one of those people that probably should have went into the music business because I had, I could, I I could hear the music. Mm. I could tell you the instruments and everything for all of my songs, and I would write them out even day. There are songs I can, you know, I could sing ’em. Wow. And I never sung them. I never, you know, I never took a in none of them. Right. That ended in high school too. And I was dealing with a life situation right before Covid actually that led me to start writing poems. Hmm. And I was like, okay, Sharon, you’re an artist. You know? Cause sometimes we put ourselves in these mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, sit, you know, I’m an artist, you know, you don’t do that. You know, and I was writing, and the next thing I knew I had like 30 and 40 poems.
Wow. Yeah. Dealing with this situation. And it was a situation where I felt it was a situation where I was placed in a situ, a situation where I could not voice how I felt. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> about the way things happened. It was like, the person that was involved kind of like cut me off. And I was like, well, how dare you cut me off because I am going to say what I have to say about this. And it’s, it’s actually deeper in, in a, it’s coming from a different place than what you think it is. You know? And it was just sort of, kind of outta anger, I guess. You know, like, how dare you shut me down <laugh> and I’m gonna talk and I’m gonna hear that story. And so that’s what I did, but I didn’t realize what I was doing. And that some of it was quite good because, you know, I was sharing it with some people and they were like, whoa, you know, what are you gonna do with this? What are you gonna do with this? And I ended up writing a chatbook and I shared it. And and it was interesting to compare that experience with the art experience.
Yeah. Cuz it, it sounds like it was faster because you, it
Was faster yourself
Yeah. And I mean, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t take any classes on creative writing. I just went from the heart mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And it you know, I didn’t formally publish it. I just did the, the Kinkos thing and put something together and gathered some friends and did. But it, but it, it was sort of an exercise in creativity, in courage. And it also showed me how far I had gone, because when I did the art thing, you know, it took me like almost 10 years to get that together. I mean, whereas this was just like, I’m angry <laugh>. And they weren’t angry poems, you know, it wasn’t like angry, you know, but it was just, it just stuff coming out of my heart. Yeah. And I felt I needed to say those things and it, it, it came out very well.
And I do plan to eventually, I’m still writing you know, about all kinds of different experiences now. But it, it was an interesting thing. And I don’t know how to claim that, except that when you, again intuitively, if you feel that you want to express yourself, whether it is visual art, whether it’s writing music, whether it’s, you know, writing a book or a novel, just go ahead and do it. You know? Yeah. But be gentle with yourself. Don’t, when I did the poetry thing, I did not go into it saying that I’m going to submit to journals and all that. That just was not me. And my philosophy really has changed a lot about my creativity. It used to be even with my art, oh, I want to get into this amount of shows and this, and, you know, jury shows, and I wanna show with this person and all.
It’s about my ex self-expression, but it’s also because we’re living in a hurting world. It’s about what can I do through my creativity to help bring joy or you know peace or bring some kind of message. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, you know I, you know, I’m at a age now, you know, I’m not really trying to be a superstar of any of this stuff. And there’s nothing wrong with it, you know? And there’s nothing wrong with the art, art world, you know, galleries and all that. There’s some really good people that are in those worlds that have been supportive of me that I call my friends. And there’s nothing wrong with, not with, you know, submitting to high-end, you know, journals and being this published poet. You know, if that’s what you wanna do for me again, as part of my evolution as a person and having seen all sides of, you know, the high end part of creativity and art and, and what that world is, I realized that for me, I felt more alignment with seeing my creativity as, as a healing tool.
Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, because I think artists are healers. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> and I, I see us as just as important as, you know, yoga teachers or mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you know, people that are in the so-called traditional healing fields. You know, when we think about Covid, you know, what brought us the most comfort, music, art. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. We’ve been on Instagram. We’ve been on YouTube, we’ve been on a lot of different platforms. You think of, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the verses thing that’s been going on with oh God, what is his name? Mary to Alicia Keys. Oh, if somebody’s in, in that can tell me who it is, <laugh>. I can’t think of. I can see ’em, but I can’t think of. But he’s a, a hip hop artist and a, a rapper and what he’s been doing throughout his time, but particularly in the r and b and you know, black music.
He’s been bringing a lot of people from my era together, <laugh> I’m a Gen Xer. So a lot of the popular musicians and people of my, my my time and some others, but been sort of pairing them kind of like this verses thing, like, you know, oh, I love it. Versus so-and-so if it’s a girl group, it’s another group that they’ve put together or, you know, famous, you know, singers and people. And it’s been like a phenomenon. You know, you get to watch this live folks that you haven’t seen in ages, and they still look good and sound good. And you’re like, wow. And then you start thinking, oh, I wanna buy some of their music again. Cuz that may be, but it makes you happy. It was live, it’s live. You have a lot of the art has pivoted to online.
A lot of it has been reflective of the social unrest that we’ve been experiencing and giving voice to people visually about what’s going on. And a lot of artists have come out of the woodwork and have done some wonderful illustrations of some of the the young people that have been taken from us during this time. As well as Covid. Matter of fact, I, when I was over at Delray Artisans the other day, I hadn’t been there since this whole thing happened. So I was like, wow. And they had this outdoor quilt thing kind of in the sh the shape of the word hope. And there was and I’m gonna post it on Instagram this week, hopefully if I get a chance to do that. And it’s just like artist interpretations of their feelings about covid.
And it, it had images of like physicians of people that people lost you know, their interpretations of the, of the virus itself. But, you know, those are the things that people can look at. And that’s how civilizations and everything, that’s how, that’s part of history. You know, when we think about you know, art history, a lot of art back in the, in the middle ages and everything was used to communicate things about religion and God and those kinds of things. And, you know when you think about civilizations prior to you know, millions of, well, I guess thousands of years ago, you know, you look at cave paintings and those types of things, those are, they were ways of communicating. They were ways of giving hope and they were ways to educate people. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And, you know, I think when we think about the arts, it’s more than just auction numbers.
It’s more than just the big art fairs. It’s about healing. It’s about education. It’s about giving voice to people that don’t have voice. And I think that that’s, when you think about the creativity thing, I think that’s the other thing too. When people are looking to get back into it, I think it’s really understanding what, where you are with it as far as what you see as a purpose, or what is the meaning. How does that align with who you are? You know, are you about, you know, the numbers game or you know, really, you know, hitting it big or are you about self-expression? Do you see it as a way of communicating who you really are? And whichever way it is for you, it is no right or wrong, but I think, you know, kind of being clear on what it is that you see yourself doing, because that helps as far as not being disappointed or feeling that you have to keep up with the Joneses mm-hmm. <Affirmative> with your heart. You know, it, it should be a natural way of expressing who you are without a whole lot of distractions and, and other things. But when you’re not clear about those things, you can get caught up in some stuff that, that may keep you from really fully reaching your creative potential.
I agree. I was thinking just hearing you and listening to it is about intuition. It’s about, you know, what are you yearning, what is calling to you? But also I think there’s also like, there’s we gotta bust these myths. Like I, I found this incredible article, you know, it’s like these preconceived notions of like what it is. And so the five fears that can destroy an artist, and, you know, we’re all artists right. On many, we’re all artists. But the first one is, I’m not good enough. Yeah. We all know that one. Right. And if people are listening to it, I’m sure everybody thinks this, or number two, I’m not original enough.
You know, number three, people won’t take me seriously as an artist. You know, these kind of like core myths that just need to be busted out of the water <laugh>. And number four, people will steal my work or my or my ideas. You know, that, that fear. And then number five, my work is never good as I imagined it would be. So for me, you know, just hearing you talk, it’s really about coming to like these preconceived mythologies around what is art? Cuz we were talking of is it, it’s about your authentic heart center self, you know, versus like, what is cuz I’ve worked in the commercial art world as well, <laugh>, and I un I know that world and it’s it’s, it’s, it’s not very pretty. It’s like the opposite side. <Laugh>
Doodle and it could actually be a block.
Yeah. Yes. It could
Be a block. I think artists are highly sensitive people, you know, we’re empathetic. We feel things, we pick up on different things. We pick up on the rhythm of life. We pick up on the rhythm of things that a lot of people don’t pick up on. And our sensitivity is a blessing, but it can be a curse. Yes. And mm-hmm. <Affirmative> circumstances like the commercial art world, you know, a lot of us are not built for that, you know mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And you have to have a lot of, you have to have a lot of support and you have to have a lot of savvy to deal with a lot of the underhanded and, you know, and, and again, I’m not trying to say it’s crazy and mean and mm-hmm. <Affirmative> rough, you know, but it, it, it is, it is. It can be, it can be, you know, hard on someone who is about their art and feels, you know, a certain way about it and, and not so much as a you know, this thing to, as a commodity, you know? Right. And I think it’s, i, I really feel for people that are in the world right now because they have a kind of a bubble sometimes. And, you know, there’s been so much suffering and so much things going outside of a, around it. I, I imagine in some cases it can be really rough to deal with. But those myths that you were talking about, can you, can you name ’em again?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So it’s from the website is called skinny artist.com. And so the five fears that can destroy an artist that that’s anybody that’s creative, we’re all creative. Right. So the first one is, I’m not good enough. That’s number one.
Talk about that one. Yeah. Cause that’s really a lot that I deal with with clients, you know, some of them don’t feel that they’re good enough. And I think, you know, the biggest things is really taking a look at a lot of it is a self-examination. Yeah. And, you know, why don’t you feel that you’re good enough?
Yeah. I don’t, I don’t think it’s just the art, right. It’s something else. Right. You just don’t feel like as a, as a person, you don’t feel good enough. You don’t feel like your voice is worth being heard and so mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, there’s a lot of fear with that. And perhaps it’s because of an experience you’ve had in the past where you did take that step. You did open yourself up like you were talking about. And someone squashed you like a bug <laugh>. And it
Hurt. I had a client that was telling me there was a high school art teacher mm-hmm. <Affirmative> that criticized her because number one, she had her own mind. She had, they, they, she was, they were giving us an art assignment and she, instead of doing maybe traditional painting, she just did a mosaic of and the most when she showed me that. Cuz I’m thinking, okay, it must have been kind of, you know, whatever, you know. Yeah. They, they’re kind of hard to do. You know, you, you have to, there’s certain, there’s a very strong talent to doing, you know, working with glass and mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, those kinds of materials. And, and that thing was smoking. Wow. And I said, are you serious? And you know, this woman is like in her early forties now, or at least I think that’s how old she was. But, you know, she was saying she wanted to do a creative project. She actually wanted to do a podcast, but she was con the whole thing of creativity was messing her up. And it was based on this negative comment this woman made about her art in front of other students.
Yeah. And I think the reason that it’s, you can hang on to something like that cuz everybody has that story. Lisa calls ’em art wounds. Yes. And everybody has them. And for a while I’ve been thinking, why, why can’t we get over them? <Laugh> why is it takes so long? And it’s because it’s so attached to you as a, as a person that you, you hold onto it, you know, the, the whole standing in front of a room nude and, and just like being there as how people describe, showing your artwork to people, you’re extremely vulnerable. And it’s almost not even just showing your nude, it’s like showing you from the inside out. It’s showing like your, your hopes and your dreams and your fears and your every absolutely everything all at once on this thing. And then having everybody trash it and then trying to get over that in a couple of minutes, it’s gonna happen.
Right. Wow. <Laugh> you’re talking about self-expression, right? You’re talking about bearing your soul. Right. And when you talk about, why don’t we get over something, somebody, somebody said, okay, when you’re thinking about, you know, we’re highly sensitive, a lot of us mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, and you are young and you’re impressionable and you want to, to make a good impression, you want to be seen and somebody just douses you with that. I’ve heard people say art school is brutal, you know? Oh yeah. It’s <laugh>. You know, and again, you’re young and you’re, you know, you’re trying to make a difference. I dated this guy who was a brilliant artist. I mean, he was designing people’s prom dresses when he was in high school, that kind of stuff, you know, off the college. And they were brutal to him. Yeah. They are <laugh> and I really, and he went to a very good art school in Columbus, Maryland.
I mean, Columbus Columbus, Ohio. I can’t think of what the name of that school was. But anyway you know, and it, it, it, he, he hasn’t even really dealt with it since then. Yeah. You know, and you know, when we think about that, you know, it’s about really deciding again, where you are with your creativity, where you see yourself, where you see the purpose, where do you see your, your contribution, you know I posted recently on Instagram I have two, one with the spark you’re created, but then I have one with me as artists and everything else. And I was actually saying I’m not chasing validity anymore in my work, whether it’s writing or great reading. And I think when you get to this age, and that’s why I think it’s interesting to work with people in this age group because, you know, those kinds of things change mm-hmm. <Affirmative>,
You know, and even if, if you’re still feeling some kind of way about something that somebody said back in the day, there’s a different kind of conversation to be had about the value of who you are today and what you’re bringing to your art or to your writing. You know, and it’s not even based on you didn’t build a career on the art. Maybe, maybe not, but for the most part you did not. You know? And so that kind of validity is out the window, you know, it’s more of, okay, well how do you feel about expressing yourself in this way? You know, what is most important to you? What is that you want to say? What is it that you want the purpose of your work to be? Because if you’re chasing validity, like, and you’re still chasing after your high school art teacher that dogged your work, well, you know, that’s not even relevant anymore.
You know, it’s not about that person. It’s about your happiness and the joy that you get out of your work and whatever else that you feel that it is. And so when you have those kind of conversations and you kind of put it in perspective, look, how important is it that you know somebody who was frustrated with her own work, you know, and didn’t do what she wanted to do with it? Is that even relevant anymore? You know, what is it that people say about your work? And most of the time they said, people love my work, blah, blah, blah. Okay. You know, I even have people do things like, okay, write down what people said about your work. Even if you posted on Facebook and stuff, what did they say? Write that down. Have that in front of you because that’s, that’s what’s really matters. It’s not about the college art professor mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. It’s not about the high school teacher. It’s not even about maybe a parent that said something that was kind of derogatory about your work when you were growing up. It’s about what the here and now we have to bring it to the present, you know, because when we bring that energy from the past, yeah. You’re gonna stay stuck. And so a lot of it is somewhat psychological, you know? Got it. Moving past, leaving the past where it is and starting new.
I have a, I have to add to that because I’ve kind of come to terms with this in terms of like my own self evolution. That what you have to do is it’s almost like those identities are very limiting. It’s a limited belief about yourself. Yes. You know, my drawing professor said, my eyes look like cockroach to his on the figure drawing, no joke. Right? I mean, and I’m 18, what do you do with that? Right. So what you have to do is you have to create doubt in it. Like, why did he say that? Just kind of create this doubt. Like try to dissolve that limiting belief with doubt, and then you kind of just destroy it and then you create a new, like an unlimited belief. So that’s <laugh> that’s what I’ve been working on. <Laugh>.
That that is actually a very interesting point. Let’s get to the other ones I just wanted. Yeah,
Yeah, yeah. Okay. So number two is I’m not original enough.
Okay. And yes, with art, writing, all of that, anything that’s creative, you know, it’s been done.
So interesting. Like, I have an ongoing conversation with my family because I’m of the belief that there was one original thought and that every thought was built off of that thought. And so it’s a joke. My dad, anytime he finds a quote or someone else talking about what being unique is and what coming up with an original ideas, he always sends it to me because I love the notion that my art is built off of my, the past and my ancestors and the entire world has built the world that I live in so that I can build on it. I, I think it’s a beautiful thing. And I think a lot of people, because we’re, we’re like shoved with that idea that you have to be completely unique and original in order to be an artist. That that’s what they’re talking about is it’s, it stops them because you know, and I struggled that with my photography is that I never let myself just shoot from my real gut.
So I stopped shooting from my eyes and I shot from my gut because I had to get out of that composition rules and trying to look like the photographers that were influencing me. And you just, you do, you have to like, remove yourself from those, those myths or whatever that are just mm-hmm. <Affirmative> bombed down with mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And it’s, it’s all about how you look at it. So it is very psychological mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, if you can that statement. And if you just switch it around a different way mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, that becomes a powerful tool as and, and as opposed to a limiting tool.
I think that once you get over yourself being, I just wanna be unique and blah, blah, blah, you know, we’re all unique
But a lot has been done before. So you gotta get over yourself from that perspective mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and just say, okay, it’s been done before. Okay. But no one has done it like you. Right. No one has, no one has your vision, has your thought process, has your, you know there’s always going to be a twist because it’s coming from you. So it’s really about getting over the fact that, you know, oh, it’s been done before. Yeah. But that doesn’t mean you, you can’t do that. You know, there’s organizations that promote art like you all do, but they don’t do it like quite like you. Right. You know, we can talk about all kinds of arts organizations, but they don’t do it quite like you. I’m a collage artist. I’ll, I’ll even show you one of my pieces, this piece here. All right? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>.
There’s, people have done vintage photos before. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> people have done this. This is part of a series that I’m doing that looks at joy.
Hmm. Oh, love it. It’s
Actually looking at joy in the African American community at a time when it was really not as supportive, even though we’re still catching some stuff here. But, you know, it’s sort of looking at this era and saying, okay, what can we learn from this era that can help us with what we’re dealing with now? Okay. Now it, you know what, you look at it, it’s Oh, pretty picture, blah, blah, blah. But there’s, there’s a message in my mind, this is an interesting project because I’m doing stuff differently. Okay. People have done collage. Okay. But I’ve never done, but this is personal. I’ve never done a textured background with my collages on campus. Right. So that’s me, that’s my thing coming out with this. It’s not about other people. It’s not about, oh, it’s been done before. I’m getting the joy because I am building a series that’s based on what I feel is really important to, to look at the past, to inform us of the present in the future, you know?
Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> I’m looking at a particular subject, you know? Yeah. A particular kind of message I want to get. Now, if you look at it, there’s a lot of artists that do that kind of work, but I’m from a whole different ballgame mm-hmm. <Affirmative> mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you know, and I’m not thinking about what they’re doing. I’m thinking about what I’m doing and the series that I’m trying to do, so I don’t get caught up in, it’s been done before. It’s, I get caught up in, okay, how else can I, what other kind of pictures can I use to express what I’m trying to do? Right. So when we think about that, you know, yeah. You are gonna stay frozen if you’re thinking that you’re gonna do something so unique and different. And, and you may still do that <laugh>, a lot of times it happens by accident <laugh>. But for the most part, don’t get caught up into feeling that it has to be so unique and so different because it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s probably not, but no one is going to convey what you’re doing the same way.
Right. And you’re, so you’re also not, you’re not telling your story if you’re, it’s this constant argument of are you making your work for yourself or your, or your audience. And it’s a, that’s a conversation that is ongoing in the art class and the art world is who are you truly making your art for mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And I think I would argue that when you start thinking about your viewer, like it’s a balance. If when you get to that point where you’re thinking about your viewer too much, then it’s not authentic, and then your message isn’t gonna get across anyway. So it’s point, you know, gotta,
How many people have argued with their art dealers? Like, you know, they’re telling them, well, the audience wants this. Right. But you feel like that’s so totally outside of who you really are as an artist. Right. And, you know, that’s, that’s another thing that you have to decide. I think it kind of goes back to, what is it, Simon Sinek, I think that’s his name. He talks about knowing your why, you know? Yeah. What your, why, what does your why with everything. Right. You know, and it, it still applies to creativity. What is your why? What is it? Why are you doing it? Is it for joy? Is it to make money? Is it to be a famous artist? Or is it just, you know, know, is it just self-expression? I see creativity as a way of self-care. Just like people like massage and yoga and all those things. It can get, it can take you there,
You know, to add that. I love that. Why? But I did a like a, an exercise where you do the seven layers of why, so you just don’t say, why, why am I making this art? For who? You kind of like break it down <laugh>. Like, why, why are you doing that? And then again, why? And then,
And then you get,
Eventually you’ll find the real why, and that’s where your passion, motivation, and what you, your greatest potential is, right? Yeah.
Absolutely. Lisa. There’s an exercise I do with people that kind of breaks that down because they may come off with one answer in the beginning, well, why? And then you, you know, and so you bring them to the point where they really get to the bare bones and that’s the piece. Yeah. And when you really get to that, you know, it really kind of addresses a lot of the things on your list there.
Yeah. So I wanna, I wanna like, bring it all together and we can talk all day.
Why Lauren? Why I’m kidding. <Laugh>.
So the, we were talking about how do you find your creative spark when it, when you feel like you’ve been living without it either, you know, like for a long period of time, or even just coming out of Covid. And so this is what I am hearing from you, Sharon. It’s that you, you listen to your intuition. You have to just, if you have that ping right going on, just just listen to it and give yourself permission
To do that and be open. Right. to su suggestions by your wonderful, supportive friends that might know that about you, that you’re not willing to admit to yourself. And I love the idea of starting by looking at what you want to be involved in, and the, the part where you, you just said that to put yourself in that environment. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> such an incredible advice to just, you don’t have to dive into the swimming pool and start swimming, but you could find a chair on the side and just watch for a little while, and then find the part, the, the place where you can kind of fit yourself in. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. So love those as sort of the beginning parts of becoming comfortable again, with your own creativity. I think those, that’s so excellent. I love that list of, I what’d you, you called them like mythologies? I, I this,
Well, I busting those myths. They are kind of mythologies, right? Yeah.
Yeah. I just, oh man. I think there’s just like so much going on here. And we have, we do a couple people that have given us some hearts and some comments. We have Sherry that gave us a bunch of hearts and told you to tell it <laugh>.
Yeah. That’s my sis. Oh,
Got it. And I like, break down the why. Yeah. And then our dear friend, Beth Benson, active creativity shared is healing energy in the world. What a beautiful series of gifts in this confusing time now. Just love it. Thanks everybody. Oh, hey Steph. Oh, one of my best friends, this conversation. I love you Steph <laugh>. Yes,
Sharon, I would love to like conclude this. If you were to tell that person that’s dormant in their creativity right now, list three things that they should take an uncomfortable action with.
I think the first thing is to, to really listen to what’s being said inside. What, what are, what is the message that you’re getting, that you’re ignoring, or that you don’t think really aligns with you? Just take a look at that, write it down. Write, write all the, the, the things that make you feel that you can’t do it. And then really explore if those things are true. That’s good. Take that list and say, okay, I don’t have the money. Is that true?
Right. Why <laugh>?
True? You know, I
Love that. Is that true? That’s great, Sharon. Is that true?
That’s true. And I mean really, you know, not just surfaced. Is that true? Yeah. The second thing is again, put yourself, like I said, you know, explore being in an environment where that is happening, but be an observer. You don’t have to be in it. If you want to be a chef and you’re 50 years old and you’ve, you’ve never done that. Take some cooking classes mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you know, with the community college, or at least observe on television. You know, there’s all these great cooking shows, you know? Yeah. What are they doing? What is it that that attracts you about it? What, you know, see how you feel about it, and then take an action, take one small step towards that. For me, it was finally getting into some studio classes and did some drawing that, that was scary. But I took that, you know, and it wasn’t that expensive.
You don’t have to, you know, you got rec and parks and you got all kinds of places and then online go, go online, go to YouTube, <laugh> and do some searches on what it is that you’re interested in doing. There’s tons of different videos of people that are doing stuff. Try a recipe, try you know writing some a poetry or, or, or take a a workshop on creative writing. Just try it and see how you feel, you know, and again, find ways to connect with people that are doing those things. And there’s a lot of supportive people that will help you. But, you know, I think it’s really coming back to what is it that is really calling to you. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, no matter how out there, silly. If it doesn’t even make any sense to you, really, you know, for real.
You know, cuz I, I wish I could have done that with some other things. Like, I’m, I’m really serious about that songwriting stuff. I, I really wish I could have just explored that because there was something for me to know, be able to write lyrics and no music in my head. You know, I don’t think the average per, you know, at the time I didn’t really pay attention to it, but I don’t, the older I get, the more I’m like, you know, I don’t think the average person <laugh> as a teenager experiences that, except for people like Prince and folks like that. You know, it, I, I think there was something to that. I just was scared, you know, or I didn’t feel like I could get into that. But I wish I could have done explored some other things, you know, creatively. But I thank goodness that I was able to do that, to explore my visual art and the, you know, poetry and all that later. But I think it’s just also saying that, look, there is no limits to what it is that you want to do. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it doesn’t matter how many mistakes you’ve made in life. Doesn’t matter what’s going on. You can launch your creative life and it doesn’t have to be you know, it, it doesn’t have to be something that has to be so extravaga, you know, you can just take baby steps.
All right. Beautiful. Wow.
That’s, oh, I, I mean, I’m
Still in conversation, <laugh>. It’s like when we’re talking to you, time just like flies by.
No. And I’m like, almost forgot we’re on <laugh> or, you know, recording this podcast. I was just sitting there thinking, oh man, that we’re just talking. But that always happens with us.
Oh yeah, it does. I know. Again, we, we have to do this again sometime.
There you go. Thank you so much.
Yes, thank you. And thanks for everyone who was listening and commenting and we look forward to other folks who haven’t had a chance to listen to the conversation to give us, you know, their comments and other ideas for, you know, answers to this question. So thanks for taking the time, Sharon. We look forward to talking to you again soon cuz I know we will. <Laugh>
Oh most is
Rid of me. That easy. Thank,