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!