OmArtist: Some artists/writers have had a lifelong affair with creativity, while others find the spark later in life, what can you tell us about the Evan Griffith story and how you came to be in this creative space?
EG: I’m a little bit of both, like Star-Lord says at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy. I first began writing stories when I was seven, I think. Term The Termite. A series of stories about a termite who started out with his colony in Africa — whose home was used as a plank in a ship — that shipwrecked off the shore of Florida in a hurricane — where poor Term The Termite struggled ashore after losing his family and friends — and found a new colony — not far from where I lived incidentally.
So it’s been lifelong. This creative compulsion. I ended up in graphic design in New York City. However, when my wife and I opened an art gallery, all personal work went to the wayside for about 15 years.
For a number of years now I’ve been back at it with a vengeance, juggling a successful and demanding art gallery business with family and creative time. Many people struggle with how to fit in their creative mojo with the demands of living, making a living . . . so I riff off that at NotesForCreators.com
OmArtist: Who or what inspires you?
EG: I’m inspired by every creative soul I encounter — in real life and in books and articles.
One of my favorite things in the world is to talk creative shop with other creators. Perhaps my biggest thrill is whenever I get to stand in someone’s creative workspace. It could be a home office, an art studio, a writing niche, or command central at their business. Home-based operations excite me — to get to witness how someone is putting it all together.
I always get a sense of awe standing in someone’s creative space. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a teenager who’s coming to grips with their passion in a makeshift manner or someone who’s running a multi-million dollar business.
I love getting a spatial sense — how their work flows — how they prioritize — if they do! — how they seque into their creative work — what their routines are — what their frustrations are — what their aspirations are — when they work and in what order — when they stop — it’s all instructive to me.
OmArtist: I first came to know of you through your blog “The World is Freaky Beautiful”. Can you tell us how that endeavor started for you?
EG: It began several months before a bankruptcy that never happened. During the crash years it looked like we were going under, like 80% of the art galleries did in our area. We had fended off the beast for several years and had exhausted all resources, exhausted ourselves. Maxed out our credit. Sold our home. Even family and friends were suggesting we call it quits. Some forcefully and repeatedly. (I’m looking at you, Dad.) Even my wife favored that option! I was mostly alone in thinking we could make it to the other side.
Something stirred in me, thinking that if I could catalog the wonders and woes of this period, it might be helpful. The World Is Freaky Beautiful site was born this way. An attempt to suss out the sublime in my worst ever experience. That site has morphed into Notes For Creators . . . which continues that celebration of the creative spirit. It’s a never-ending exploration, personally and professionally.
We never went bankrupt. The art gallery survived and is thriving today . . . part of the credit goes to mining the extraordinary wherever I could find it — in the midst of collapse!
OmArtist: As a subscriber to your mailing list, I was made aware of and thoroughly enjoyed reading your bookito; “Burn Baby Burn, Spark the Creative Spirit Within”. Can you tell our audience about the book and how this book came to fruition for you?
EG: Burn Baby Burn is all about connecting to the rich creative source within you — and thus bringing out your best work. To me, creative work is the highest work, not a battling of demons within. Rather it’s more akin to a yoga practice — where reverently drawing upon your inner reserves takes you beyond where you thought you could go.
There’s a phrase in yoga — finding your edge — meaning getting to that place that is both comfortable and uncomfortable, but not going over it into screaming pain. It’s a great metaphor for creative work — whether in science, business, healing or the creative arts — getting to your edge. Through a sustainable daily practice.
Burn Baby Burn explores how to connect in such a way. You know, how to draw forth lightning . . . but not get singed by it 🙂
OmArtist: What other projects or endeavors do you have in the works that you would like to share?
EG: I’m working on a nano book I’ll be putting out in October. A $0.99 ebooklet called The Creative Morning Challenge.
I challenged myself to get up 2 hours early for 30 days in the middle of our high season at the art gallery — the results were mind blowing. This short booklet is part memoir — detailing the experience through the eyes of a reluctant night owl (me!) — and part instructional — giving tips and insights, for those who might want to challenge themselves similarly. It’s an amazing way to accomplish a side project quickly.
OmArtist: Do you feel connecting (ie. meditating, prayer etc) plays a roll in your creative process and/or success?
EG: I feel it’s everything. Connecting on a deep spiritual level has seen me through enormous tumult. It also prompts a great flow of ideas. And appreciation. For all the richness I get to experience every day . . . .
All that I am today issues from my daily meditation practice. When I am at my best it’s because I bring the understandings found in meditation into my day-to-day world.
More than that, it provokes happiness the way a comedian sparks laughter. It seems to be an inevitable by product. Blissification.
OmArtist: Thank you so very much Evan for taking the time to speak with me. I appreciate you!
Earth and Moon Hands Series By Australian based Artist Eliza Bratton
Blessings of the Earth and Moon have inspired these illustrations. Moving in cycles with both and inevitably becoming one with their nature. We always see the same side of the Moon because it is tidally locked to the Earth. Its day is as long as its year, and yet it affects life on Earth in mysterious beautiful ways. Giving thanks for this unification is symbolized with the Hands of Gratitude in these illustrations.
OmArtist: Some artists have had a lifelong affair with creativity, while others find it later in life. What can you tell us about your story and how you came to be in your current creative mindset?
EB: This is a big question, and a very valid one. Creativity for me goes back deep into my childhood. My Dad was an artist and my Mum a spiritual person so the two influences have always naturally been there from the start for me, in quite different ways, and both bringing forth creativity in very different senses. That said, they have not always been around together, sometimes I have had a call for the artist in me and sometimes attending to my spiritual side has been more prevalent. It is only really been in the last few years that I have made conscious decision to marry the two together. It was like one day I just thought ‘why aren’t I giving these two important aspects my full attention at the same time?’ I have no idea why I thought I couldn’t do that before. These things show up at the right times for the right reasons.
OmArtist: When viewing your work, I feel as though I’m visually enjoying an amazing story book, even across multiple pieces, is this something you consciously create?
EB: That’s great you say that, thank you, I haven’t really thought of it like that as a whole, but yes, I guess they are kind of like pages in a book making up chapters, and lately I have worked more with characters and symbolic images that have reoccurred multiple times. For instance, I’m quite partial to ‘little folk’ who wear similar clothes and have a tendency to leave their shoes lying around. Most of them are on a journey of some kind, tending to their spiritual matters, or helping the land, ocean, trees and other beings. My work also involves imagery and symbolism from other worlds and mythology, so yes, I think more recently I’ve been intentionally working with storied art but it wasn’t so much a conscious idea in the beginning. It has definitely evolved and ‘unclothed’ itself as time has gone on and I love how art can do that and reveal itself as it needs to be.
OmArtist: You are a painter and a print maker. Do you prefer one over the other?
EB: Oh that is a question I constantly seem to ask myself. It definitely changes from time to time and currently I’m in a painting mood. You can most probably tell which one I’m preferring at a particular time from my photos on Instagram. I’ll have phases on one or the other, and they both seem to reflect on how I’m feeling at the time. I find lino cutting very precise and more structured but takes a different kind of concentration to that of painting, both I find equally meditative though. I go into a very present state. I find painting a lot more free- flowing but most often a lot more challenging creatively. Specializing in one more than the other, or solely on one, has entered my thoughts many times, but I think if that ever happens, it needs to be a natural, unforced transition so to speak.
OmArtist: Your body of work, as presented on your site, is one that embodies nature and\or people enjoying nature. Why is it important for you to have these elements in your artwork?
EB: Yes, absolutely, so important. This is what inspires me in my life and creatively. My whole well-being relies on it, and it is where my spiritual side connects so deeply. If I can bring this out in what I do visually then my hope is for others to connect also in whatever way inspires them. We all need an outlet to express our emotional being. We absorb so much magnificence in this life and amongst nature, so it is exceptionally radical to show our relationship, gratitude and what we can offer to Mother Nature as reciprocity for what she shares with us.
OmArtist: Eliza, do you see art or creativity (in general) as a tool for healing or therapy? If so, how or in what way do you feel your art contributes to this notion?
EB: I do, most definitely, art and creativity is most often a response to our internal selves, our emotions, thoughts, feelings, ideas and opinions. To be able to use these strong feelings and channel them in such a way creatively, can have an enormous impact and effect on our well-being. There is a sense ‘presentness’ in art for therapy, it doesn’t concern itself with any other issues, problems or expectations apart from the ones you’re truly, most often unconsciously, working on at the time. How cool is that? It is a fun, tactile form of meditation and it really doesn’t matter about the finished piece, or if it does, then that’s one of the things you’re working on.
I would really love to think that some of this spontaneity comes across in my work because they are really direct responses to my present time. One of the things I love to do is sketching but my original pieces are all born from my head, heart and soul and not from preliminary sketches. So drawings and observations become original art themselves.
OmArtist: Do you have a favorite artist(s) past or present? And what is it that draws you to them?
EB: There are two current artists work I am particularly fond of, one local here where I live in Australia, Maki Horanai, and one Devon (UK) artist, Rima Staines. They are quite different but both offer me a sense of visiting another world with their people and folk/beings who reside there. Maki’s paintings are mostly on a large scale and she exhibits nationally. Rima is an artist/illustrator and paints/makes the most beautiful clocks amongst other illustrations on paper and wood. I also dearly love the work of Arthur Rackham, an English book illustrator in the late 19th and early 20th century. They bring the most magical of worlds to my home and family. Lastly, a recently found favourite, is an American woodblock print artist, William S Rice, who was associated with the Arts and Crafts Movement in California.
OmArtist: What kind of impact do you hope your artwork will have on viewers?
EB: I guess a little glimpse into an imaginary world that I can give an interpretation to; a glimpse into the margins of this world and another. That’s a hard question, but I hope it can feel calm and offer a sense of closeness with nature or a feeling of connectedness with a spirit realm that might not be too far from reach.
OmArtist: Is there anything that you would like others to know about the intentions of your creative works?
EB: Well it comes with integrity that is really quite difficult sometimes in this time, especially with so much influence out there on social media. Authenticity, I think is most artists’ intention, to create unique pieces where others can recognise your style, even if it changes over time. My intention is also to bring intrigue and perhaps a sense of wonderment to each piece I create.
OmArtist: Thank you so very much Eliza for taking the time to speak with me. You are appreciated!
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