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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: www.joshbulriss.com
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)
Blog: https://mollieplayer.wordpress.com/

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 www.mollieplayer.wordpress.com?

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 - NotesforCreators.com     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
Founder: www.NotesforCreators.com
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 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!

0 In Artist Interviews

Interview with Eliza Bratton – Painter & Print Maker

Eliza Bratton
Australian based Painter and Print Maker

Instagram: @theelfsmial
Website: www.theelfsmialcorner.com
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheElfsmialCorner

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!