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0 In Artist Interviews

Interview with Jill Karkella – Visual Artist & Poet

Jill K. Karkella
Follow Jill on Facebook and Instagram

OmArtist: What can you tell us about your story/journey and how you came to be in your current creative mindset?

JK: My creative journey began just about 6 yrs. ago right around Christmas. I had been going through some rough times personally and finally had made the decision to separate from my husband. This was difficult primarily because at the time my 3 girls were very young. I also knew that because of financial pressures we would have to still live under the same roof in a small home. Needless to say I made my mind up and opted for the split. Trying to navigate living together was complicated. The girls father did not want to be separated. I gave up my space and had to pretty much share a different room each day and night with a different daughter. I had no little nook to call my own and eventually it became very difficult. A friend suggested I needed and outlet all my own, for me….Jill. I have always listened to the music of The Grateful Dead. Music like art is a complete spiritual release for me and at that time the music was helping me negotiate my way through the ups and downs of my situation. The same friend suggested maybe I try drawing. I thought, ok what do I have to lose!  My motivation was clear…I would try to illustrate the tunes I loved so much…the music of The GD that was bringing me such joy amidst chaos. So there is where I started drawing.

Slowly but surely with the support of a few close friends and some renewed confidence in myself, I started sharing my work with the music community I was involved with on Facebook. Shockingly people really responded to my images. People really like what I was doing!  Over the course of the next few years I gained a large following, my artwork transformed and my growth as an artist was underway. Now 6 yrs. later I am finally able to call myself an artist (well most of the time!). My work has evolved tremendously and in turn I have as well. My newfound ability to express myself creatively gave me the strength I needed to get through some real challenges without harboring anger or resentment. For that alone I am truly grateful. I have a wonderful following and the gift of self confidence in my abilities. Most importantly I can share my gifts with others and bring color and joy into their worlds…to me the best part of it all.

OmArtist: Your visual art carries with it a very clear message, one that inspires growth in the viewer. Is it your intent to communicate a specific message when you start a new piece or does your message unfold or reveal itself as you progress through the process?

JK: Sometimes I have a clear intent when beginning a new piece. For example if I am choosing to illustrate a specific lyric or if I find a quote that speaks to me, then as I draw my hope is to capture the imagery I see in my mind’s eye. I also hope to capture the essence of the feelings and emotions that have come to life when hearing the song or reading the quote. Sometimes I just know I want to draw a specific thing. As I start, the deeper meaning typically begins to flow and the intention behind the piece becomes clearer.

OmArtist: Jill, do you believe that art carries with it a healing or therapeutic energy with it? If so, can you talk little about how you feel your art contributes to the notion that creativity heals both the artist and the viewer?

JK: I believe art in all forms does carry and convey healing and therapeutic energy. Personally just the fact that I felt compelled to even start drawing says a lot about what art can do for someone.  I pushed myself to go out of my comfort zone and try something new…..often a therapeutic step!  As I  began to express my emotions and feelings visually,  my energy began to feel different….perhaps I was feeling more in tune with myself…perhaps I was beginning to live a more authentic life.  Either way I was beginning to heal from many years of frustration and confusion. The Jill I put on hold was now fighting for her place again. My ongoing artistic experiences and growth keep me healthy!  I also have been writing poetry and those expressions coupled with my drawing are perfect supplements to my healthy diet.

For the viewer, well I can say many people who follow my progress and my art have told me how deeply it touches them. Whether it be a particular piece or a collection of works, I often get such gracious and heartfelt responses from so many. If art can bring joy and solace to someone then it is healing and therapeutic!

OmArtist: In your most recent work there is a beautiful sacred feminine energy to the subject matter. Can you talk about how this amazing energy has surfaced for you in your artwork?

JK: Its funny because today at a show, I sold two of those pieces for those reasons. They evoked within the customer (who was a lovely young woman) a recognition and respect of her womanhood. Those pieces contain lines from poems  I have written inspired by femininity. I felt inspired to honor the divine feminine recently. Maybe because I know so many strong and brave, loving and kind women. Maybe because that is who I strive to be daily. Maybe because it is the network of loving sisters I have in my life that have helped keep me afloat. It is an interesting process we go through in life. As a woman who has just turned 50, I have never loved my spirit and my being more than I do now. I have never been more comfortable in my own skin. As a single mother of three teenage girls I want them to see how valuable and worthy they are of self love. I want all my sisters to believe in their value and capabilities! That is where it all begins.

OmArtist: What mediums are you currently using to create your art work? Are there other mediums that you would like to experiment in?

JK: Currently I work in pencil and art marker such as Copic and Prismacolor. I am interested in the combination of watercolor and pen next!

OmArtist: Aside from your visual art, you are also a writer. Can you tell our audience a little bit about your creative writing? Does this form of creativity surface as inspiration in your visual art as well?

JK: Both my written expression and my drawing are definitely linked. Many times I combine the two. Sometimes I will share a poem and all of the sudden feel compelled to illustrate it in some way. I have often wondered if I could ever put together a book of my poetry and artwork.

OmArtist: Jill, how do you feel mindful practices like living in the moment and/or meditation/prayer (if you practice them) contribute to what you create and your success as an artist?

JK: It is my belief that living in the moment is something many want to do but often have trouble with. I can include myself in there!  I practice moments of gratitude off and on each day. I look for the beauty in small things and unexpected places. They say seek and ye shall find. This could not be more true. So part of my daily routine is a mental and spiritual check in… I doing my best?  Am I present in the here and now?  Am I living and loving through each moment. So yes mindfulness contributes totally to my artistic life. It allows me to uncover beauty and inspiration. It allows my motivations to be based in truth and in those valuable unexpected moments that we can overlook if we get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of life.

OmArtist: Would you share one of your beautiful poems with our Om Artist audience please?

JK:  I’m happy to;

~~Heartbeat beginning~~

Heartbeat like a myriad flowers,
blooming in a field,
rhythyms deep and flowing,
refusing to ever yield.
Constant as a bird takes to flight,
as the river rambles along,
heartbeat like a diamond’s glow,
to you it will belong.
Vibrations strong and pulsing,
supercharge the air,
energize the atmosphere,
become your bodywear.
Heartbeat sure as the sun will rise,
urging us on to fly,
vibrant patterns linked across,
will draw upon dawn’s sky.
Spiral out in motions free,
no beginning and no end,
joining in this coiled dance,
infuse your body’s bend.
Refreshing like a shower of rain,
yielding a rainbow bright,
heartbeat pull us closer,
then guide us through your light.
Traverse across the ocean’s blue,
dive into the deep,
ride the waves of stories told,
images to keep.
Heartbeat spoken like the story, language passes on,
in each of us it is alive,
awaken in its song.
Carried within souls so vast,
protected and loved all ways,
heartbeat is life ablazing,
sear its imprint on your days.

©Jill Karkella

OmArtist: Thank you so much Jill for taking the time to chat with me. We love your vibe and what you put out to this world in the form of your art and poetry is so positive!! Thank you for creating. You are appreciated!

0 In Artist Interviews

Interview with Michelle Sakhai – Intuitive Visual Artist


Michelle Sakhai
See more of Michelle’s work on her website at
Buy Michelle’s Book on Amazon
Follow Michelle on Instagram @MichelleSakhai and Facebook

OmArtist: How long have you been pursuing your career as a full time artist? What did you leave behind to follow your passion in art?

MS: I sold my first painting when I was in high school. I always knew I was going to be an artist since I first started painting with water colors around age 6. I went into the art business for a little while before pursuing my passion and devoting myself 100 percent being a full time artist. It wasn’t long before I knew creating was what I was and am here to do and not the business aspect of selling art.

OmArtist: Michelle, can you talk to our audience about how you came to realize that you could create art that would promote healing and peace? Was there a clear turning point in your development as an artist that brought you to a space of healing through art?

MS: This question reminds of the chicken and the egg story… what comes first?
Well, for me it was a bit of both. I began my spiritual journey about 7 years ago while living in San Francisco pursuing my career as an artist. As I evolved spiritually, my work evolved. My paintings changed and I began painting intuitively and began the healing journey within. My work guided me and I guided my work. I may have not realized it then but the process of healing was happening and I think others connected with this process when they saw my paintings. Practicing Reiki and other healing modalities later on just solidified the healing process in my work. Namaste means “The Light in me sees the Light in you.” I like to think my work reflects this.

OmArtist: While I enjoyed your series “Awakening”, I could feel your own awakening in the paintings that represent that beautiful series. Can you talk a little about how this series came to you? Was this series inspired by your own life events?

MS: It’s funny you asked about this series specifically because it was a very meaningful one.
It’s true that I was going through my own inner awakening. Looking back it was the ‘start’ for me. The start of a new direction my work was going in, as well as a new direction for my soul’s journey. It was a transition from creating representational art to abstract Art. I was a landscape painter for about 15 years. I began painting a series of “Sky” images adding gold and silver leafing together with my oil paint. It was what was pouring out of me at the time. Looking back it was the perfect transition from painting landscapes to abstraction. Skies represent so much. Skies are an expanse of space and I was expanding on the inside. I was painting the Universe and heavens that I discovered existed within me.
I had a day to come up with the title of my series for my exhibition and when I went to sleep that night the word “Awakening” came to me in big bold white letters in the middle of the night and I knew that was it.

OmArtist: As a Primordial Sound Meditation instructor, as well as a certified Reiki Master, how do you think these energetically focused expertise contribute to the creation of your artwork?

MS: Since my work is a reflection of me, I think it represents all that I am. Yes I practice both meditation and Reiki however I also practice many other things. The beauty with creating is all that is you and at the same time all that is not you is channeled, transformed, and translated in to the work.
Similar to meditation, I am not my body or mind. I am my art. I am spirit.

OmArtist: Do you feel connecting (ie. meditating, prayer etc) plays a roll in your creative process and/or success as an artist?

MS: Very much so. Meditation allows one to align and connect with their inner light and higher selves. It’s about going inwards when so much of todays world is about directing our energy out. But truth is we have to go “in” before we can go “out.” Since meditating is about connecting with my soul, and delving even deeper than that, it strengthens the ability for my soul to speak through my art and communicate my evolution. Painting like meditation also allows me to transcend duality.

OmArtist: While I think all artists hope to share their own journey through their art, As I take in each of your paintings, I can’t help but to feel as though the titles and the work lead me by the hand through some of your life’s work in personal growth and your spiritual awakening. What are your thoughts on a comment like this? Was this intentional or the divine at work?

MS: I appreciate your question and I guess my work is more transparent than I thought. It reminds me of a quote I put in my book: You can’t fake your creations… authentic art reflects truth. My paintings are the left behind foot prints of what brought me here today. Each piece was like a story to the tapestry of my life that is still being weaved. I like to say that a single painting represents a single thought thats now passed on and transformed. I appreciate what it has given me and the gift of my healing process, but I am not attached nor do I look back on what was. Instead, I like to direct my energy to what I can and will create today. The process of painting still brings healing to my inner being. I believe art is a force of healing for the artist and the viewer. Its a way of channeling peace.

OmArtist: Michelle, It is said that the teacher appears when the student is ready. You’ve been an instructor at University of California Berkeley as well as instructing workshops and so much more. Would you share with our audience what it means to you to provide instruction and guidance to other artists? Also, do you think teaching impacts your work in some way?

MS: I think teaching is helpful for many reasons. For me, it helped solidify what I already knew but also articulate my thoughts while I am creating, which is not an easy thing to do. Being more visual, having to speak about the process of creating and breaking it down was a challenge for me. I think it allowed me to be even more conscious of every stroke, every thought, that went through me. Sharing that inner process and dialogue with an audience is intimate but also rewarding.

OmArtist: Michelle, thank you so much for talking with us. You are truly the embodiment of “creativity with purpose” and we couldn’t be more honored to interview you. You are an inspiration to many and we appreciate the energy you bring to the world. Sat Nam!

0 In Artist Interviews

Interview with Tourmaline . – Miniature Diorama Photographer

Tourmaline .
Miniature Diorama Photographer
Follow Tourmaline on Facebook , Instagram, Google + and Twitter
Purchase Tourmaline’s work at

OmArtist: Your art is such a unique form of creativity. Could you explain to our audience what miniature diorama photography is and how you came to create in this unique way?

Tourmaline . : Miniature diorama photography, also called toy photography is a form of tableau photography, where a stage is set before the camera lens, but in small scale.

I created my first ever photos of miniatures in high school as a response to an English project. I didn’t find myself dabbling with this form of photography again until college when tasked with a narrative photo assignment. All the narratives I envisioned were quite involved and the more I brain-stormed how best to represent them, the more I became focused on miniature objects.

Miniatures are icons of their full scale counterparts and therefore allow me to tell big stories in a minute way. With them, I can fully manipulate the scene before me.

OmArtist: With your art being so multifaceted, there is a need for you to be part painter, part sculptor, and part photographer, amongst other hats I’m sure. Can you describe your over all creative process for our audience?

Tourmaline . : My photos come to represent my worldview and my emotions. So first, I observe and plan and try to fully develop what I aim to depict. Then, if I don’t already have the necessary props I research ones to buy, or consider how to make the backdrops, surrounds, and all things involved.

Often times, when using HO scale figures (2 cm tall train scale figures), I will cut apart and glue their various pieces together to get the pose I’d like as otherwise these figures are molded entirely rigid. Patterned scrapbook paper is a great far off sky or living room wall. I also will paint paper to the same effect if I’m looking for something more specific. All in all though, I keep my sets quite simple, allowing them to be transformed with light and through my camera lens.

OmArtist: Aside from the skill and creativity it takes to build the scenes themselves, your work speaks to the skillful macro techniques, the beautifully precise depth of field (DOF) and composition in your photography. What came first, the miniatures or the photography? Did one lead to the other?

Tourmaline . : Thank you very much. I suppose the photography came first, at least as far as my artistic journey is concerned. I decided in high school that I wanted to be a photographer. At the time however, I was only interested in black and white landscapes developed in the dark room. That said, since 3 or 4 years old, if not sooner I have always been fascinated with miniatures, the smaller the better. Coveting my grandmother’s shadow box shelf, I would gently pick up and observe the tiny intricacies that lied within it. It seems only inevitable that these two passions would end up combined. It simply took me awhile to get there. Since I have though, I haven’t looked back.

OmArtist: Being an artist requires one to experiment in this day and age. It seems to me that your style of creating would require you to be highly experimental. Can you talk a little about that part of your work for us?

Tourmaline . : My work, for me, is definitely experimental. While I remain focused on miniature scenes in my art, I believe this type of photography can span all genres of the medium in its own way – from portraiture to architecture, surreal and documentary. And in this, I like to dabble in each possibility. On top of that, for each photo, I’m discovering how best to lay out the scene, how much of which to remain mysteriously hidden in darkness or fog, how to make everything stay precisely in it’s place and so on. I’m constantly finding a balance between obscuring scale to create realistic images, and leaving hints of the miniature world within. It’s a fascinating process, of which I’m not sure I’ll ever be done evolving.

OmArtist: What is the most common materials/mediums you’ve used and what is the most unusual materials/mediums you have used in creating these amazing miniatures?

Tourmaline . : Paper and plastic figures are found over and over in my photographs. Almost as common are clay, glue and cardboard. Maybe not entirely uncommon, but for me, I’ve found myself using play sand and a fog machine more and more. And most recently I’m experimenting with mirror chrome paint.

OmArtist: Tourmaline ., why did you choose this style of creative expression? What is it about this type of art that drives your passion and speaks to you?

Tourmaline . : It may sound too simplistic, but I’ve always been obsessed with the tiniest objects. I also like the idea of photography as transformative. As magic. That with the right angle and lighting the smallest things can be brought to life. I like being able to fully manipulate the scene before me to create precisely what is in my head, and I also like toys as icons, both present and unattainable.

OmArtist: You’ve created book covers and album art for clients, to some extent interpreting their book or music into art that encompasses their body of work. When and how did this type of work present itself to you? Do you find this type of work enjoyable?

Tourmaline . : I am very passionate about print medium. While I don’t read as often as I’d like, I would much prefer paper to a screen. And I believe a cover speaks volumes about its contents. My style of photography is very illustrative and therefore lends itself well to interpretations of stories. While work with clients has its ups and downs, overall I very much enjoy visually bringing to life an authors work. My first foray into this type of creation was for my father’s book back in 2012 – Working Would be Great if it Weren’t for Managers.

OmArtist: As someone who identifies yourself as an Empath, how do you think feeling/absorbing others energies affects your art work? Or your ability to create?

Tourmaline . :I like to think that all of my art work is emotive. Each piece represents an emotion – and often those emotions are that of loneliness, anxiety, depression and the like. I absorb what others are feeling around me almost instantaneously. I watch a movie and put myself in each characters shoes, which can make scenes of pain whether mental or physical very difficult for me.

While my deeply emotional nature can get in the way of creating as I can experience debilitating anxiety, when I do get into my studio, or when I simply sit down to brainstorm, the ideas flow like waterfalls. And those ideas are always based around portraying these emotions. I can’t say they’re always good ideas – but part of the joy of creating is figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

OmArtist: Tourmaline . , how do you feel mindful practices like living in the moment and/or meditation/prayer (if you practice them) contribute to what you create and your success as an artist?

Tourmaline . : I’m not very good at living in the moment. But I find when I let myself be and stop putting so much immense pressure on myself I can create much more eloquent art.

OmArtist: We believe that art carries with it the energy of the artist. What are your thoughts on this statement with regard to your work?

Tourmaline . : Every single creative act is a personal one. I don’t believe art can be created without the artist fully immersed within it.

OmArtist: Tourmaline . , thank you so much for the opportunity to interview you. We are blown away by the skills you have and the work it takes to create your amazing images. We wish you continued success! You are appreciated!

0 In Artist Interviews

Interview with Josh Bulriss – Photographer and Visual Artist


Josh Bulriss
Photographer, Visual Artist, Traveler, and Explorer of Cultures
Purchase Josh’s work on his website:
Follow Josh: Instagram – @joshbulriss and on Twitter – @joshbulriss

OmArtist: Josh, are you pursuing your art/photography as a full time career? If so, what did you leave behind to pursue your dream and what made you take the leap into following your passion full time?

JB: My art is full time, but it’s less like a job and more like a lifestyle. I’ve made huge sacrifices as does any artist trying to make their dream become a reality.  But I really wouldn’t have it any other way. Sacrifice, dedication, passion I believe these are the key ingredients for success.

OmArtist: What can you tell us about your story and how you came to be in your current creative mindset? Was creating in your cards early on in life or something that struck you later?

JB: In my teenage years writing music with bands was my outlet for being creative.  After High school I started taking trips out to Hawaii to visit my Grandma, it was there that I started taking photos with a small point shoot camera for fun. That’s when I realized photography and traveling were exactly what I wanted to be doing.

OmArtist: I see from your website and portfolio that you have ventured into painting and even composing music, how did the adoption of these other art forms come into play for you? What inspired you to reach outside your photography to create?

JB: Music came first as a teenager then photography, then painting. Art is something I always loved viewing especially  abstract art.  I started painting in Hawaii for another way of expressing my creativity, and ended up selling my first painting within 3 months of learning. That was huge eye opener for me.  Even though my paintings and photography are so different, they actually have some similarities like texture, color and appearance of aging.

OmArtist: How many countries have you traveled to in order to capture your impressive images?

JB: 12 countries across Asia, and most of them more than once. I am on a journey to find and photograph some of most unique and beautiful Buddha statues in the world.

OmArtist: With regard to your very popular “Buddha Project”, did you set out to create this series purposefully from the beginning? How many images are available in this project to date? How long have you been creating this body of work?

JB: I have spent over 2 1/2 years in Asia photographing a lot of various things. I was always looking to photograph things that brought me peace, with hopes of the images bringing the viewer some form of peace as well. I really didn’t have a direct focus like I have now when I started my travels to Asia. It was a slow progression that evolved into the Buddha Project.

I knew I needed a direct focus on a project that I have passion for in order to be successful. I had written to some accomplished photographers to ask them if they could take a look at my work and give me some advice. They would all say the same thing. “What’s your direction? It’s best to have a project with a narrow focus.” I knew I needed to to come up with something that I was passionate about along with being quite original.

I have never seen an artist doing anything like what I am doing with my Buddha project, and I think that’s important. 3 years ago my mother passed away and I knew she wanted me to keep following my dreams and passion as an artist. That’s when I came up with the idea of the Buddha Project. Seeking out statues across Asia that were were unique and beautiful in their texture, color, decay or had an interesting surrounding.

OmArtist: What would you like to share with our mindful audience about the purpose of your art?

JB: My daily goal is to make people just feel better. I use my photography with some inspiring quotes to try to uplift and teach people about Buddhism and having a more positive outlook on life. I think Finding our purpose in life is extremely important. I really feel I have found mine. Following our passion and dreams help us feel alive, and when we feel alive we help make others feel alive as well. This can impact the world in a huge way.

OmArtist: Your body of work as a whole is very much dedicated to capturing the essence of cultures. What is it about these traditions, ceremonies and cultural experiences that draws you in?

JB: I really enjoy photographing rich timeless culture, especially with Buddhism, that’s my main focus right now. There’s something so peaceful and uplifting to me about photographing monks and Buddha statues in ancient historic places.

OmArtist: The age old question that every photographer gets asked…. Canon or Nikon?

JB: Canon. I’m not sure if one is better than the other, I started with Canon so I stuck with it. I use the Canon 7d

OmArtist: What’s coming next from you Josh? Any new projects for focus coming in the near future?

JB: I will be heading back to Asia this November (2017) for 3 months to keep working on my Buddha Project. It has been huge for me, and I can’t stop the momentum I have going. Not sure of the exact countries yet. I am still working on it. But so far I have Thailand, Myanmar, India, Nepal and maybe Indonesia. I am also looking forward to having my first solo art show at Makers Gallery in Rochester, NY Oct 14th, 2017.

OmArtist: Josh, I love to ask this question of artist that connect to create. Do you feel connecting (ie. meditation, prayer. mantra etc) plays a roll in your creative process and/or success?

JB: I do believe this is a huge part of the process for creating art, at least for me. Being in that moment when I am photographing or painting is big part. I use photography as a form of meditation. When you are in that moment and nothing else around you matters, it’s a form of mediation.  It’s important to be present in life, art teaches me this.

OmArtist: Thank you so very much for talking with us Josh! We are excited to see what you bring back for us (all of your fans) from your next journey. You are appreciated! Sat Nam my friend, and safe travels!


2 In Artist Interviews

Interview with Mollie Player – Author


Mollie Player
Seattle, Washington based Author
Author: You’re Getting Closer: One Year of Finding God and a Few Good Friends (The Mystical Memoir Series Book 1) And The Power of Acceptance: One Year of Mindfulness and Meditation (The Mystical Memoir Series Book 2)

OmArtist: Helping people with depression is a major theme on your website. Can you tell us a little about your own depression? How did you find your way to connect spiritually in order to help yourself heal? What took place during your healing that you would considered a turning point toward creating your site and all of the amazing content that you share?

MP: Oh, goodness. My depression started when I was a young child. I think I always had it a little–my dad would say that I had a “cute worried expression” even as a toddler. Some of my earliest memories are of sadness.

Ever since I was a child, I looked to spirituality to heal my depression–even before I knew I had it. I grew up Christian, and for a long time I tried to be happy by being perfect. My mantra was the Bible scripture, “Be ye perfect, even as I am perfect.” This was not a good strategy.

After my first child died (and partly before that time as well), I returned to spirituality, but this time I chose a different kind. One that feels healthier to me. I started voraciously reading books about the Law of Attraction, New Thought, Buddhism and more, and I am continually in the process of forming my most effective spiritual practice combination.

That’s why I focus my blog on spiritual practices for depression. There are just so many to choose from, and I wanted to share with other people what works and what doesn’t (for me, anyway). I really, really want to help people overcome depression.

OmArtist: How does it make you feel to know that people all over the world are reading your books to help heal themselves?

MP: I don’t know for sure that they are. I don’t know if people read all the books they download or if they just grab them and forget about them. I do know that I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and I have many more books planned that I hope will help people. But it’s not my job to make that happen, or worry about whether or not it is.

OmArtist: Mollie as I read through your books, articles and blog posts, it’s obvious to me that you have a gift for writing. Is writing something that you’ve always loved to do through your school years or is this something that was born from your research and content on

MP: I have been a writer since I could write, and a reader since I could read, if that makes sense. As a beginning reader I would take stacks of short vowel sound books from the library and read them one after the other. I didn’t care about what the book said–I just read for the pleasure of deciphering the words. Funny, now that I think about it. Kids are great.

When I was in the second and third grades, I wrote short stories for my teachers, unassigned and unprompted. Eventually I became an ad writer, then a tech writer. Now I’m focusing on my website and my books.

OmArtist: With regard to your first book, can you tell our audience what you felt while writing it? We know that all creative people have struggles throughout their process of creating. Did you ever doubt your ability to express your message and research? What spiritual practices did you use during the creative process to help you bring the book alive?

MP: Interesting question. It does help to center yourself before sitting down to write. I suppose the main spiritual practice I use while writing is listening to my intuition, ruthlessly. Oftentimes I decide to go one way with my chapter or post or paragraph or whatever, then sense strongly that that’s not where I should take it. I reconsider, and only later realize why the thing I wanted to write about next wouldn’t have fit as well. In a way, it’s like channeling, but you don’t have to be a “real” channel to do it. Everyone has intuition.

OmArtsit: The books in your Mystical Memoir Series; “You’re Getting Closer: One Year of Finding God and a Few Good Friends” and “The Power of Acceptance: One Year of Mindfulness and Meditation“, delve into your own experiences using mindful and spiritual practices. What would you like people to know about this series and its purpose? Are there more books planned for this series?

MP: I have three more books for this series already fully outlined, two of them
with bare-bones first drafts complete. What I want people to know is that these books are for real people with real struggles with spirituality and spiritual practice. I read all these amazing teachers like Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie all the time, and they are so darn inspiring … but I fall short in following through on their advice. This is the struggle I want to convey. The learning process, the discovery, is fascinating to me.

OmArtist: Thank you so very much Mollie for taking the time to speak with me. You are appreciated!

1 In Artist Interviews

Interview with Evan Griffith – Author/Gallery Owner/Creative Guru

Evan Griffith -     Evan Griffith - Burn Baby Burn, Spark the Creative Spirit Within

Evan Griffith
Florida based Author/Gallery Owner/Creative Guru
Author: Burn Baby Burn, Spark the Creative Spirit Within
Owner: Studio E Gallery

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

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!

0 In Artist Interviews

Interview with Eliza Bratton – Painter & Print Maker

Eliza Bratton
Australian based Painter and Print Maker

Instagram: @theelfsmial

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!