Category Archives: The Imaginarium

Meet Toni Nagy Writer, Filmmaker, and Creative Dynamo

 

indexToni Nagy is a writer for Huffington Post, Salon, Alternet, Elephant Journal, Thought Catalog, Muses and Visionaries, Do You Yoga, and her own blog Toni Bologna. She has also written, directed, edited, and produced many short films, and hosts a podcast called The OverShare Show. She is on the board of the Monadnock International Film festival, and chair of the board for an organic farm called Farmer John’s Plot. She owns a dance studio in Brattleboro VT called SoBo Studios, and is an active member of the artistic community.  To check out Toni’s latest comedic work, you can watch 5 Reasons Why Feminists Should Vote for Donald Trump.

Wildly Creative:  When did you start nurturing your creative life and why?

Growing up I never considered myself a creative person. I was more of a jock. I suck at drawing, and even though I love singing, the sound of my voice is used as a torture mechanism on Game of Thrones. When I went to college I started dancing, and my whole world opened up. My love for movement awakened the creative inside me that was hiding under GAP clothes. 15 years later I own Sobo dance studio, and choreography is one of my true passions in life.

In my 20’s I thought I was more of a businessperson than an artist, but because of some health complications, I entered into a depression. During this time I didn’t know what to do with my life, or how to approach my healing.   Because I was spending most of my days at home in front of a computer, I taught myself the movie editing software Final Cut Pro, and started making short films for Youtube. The sadness in my heart translated into wanting to make other people laugh. So I would make spoof videos about “human cheese,” and tampons made from natural and organic baby goats.

When I turned 30 I started writing. I had birthed a baby and was SUPER bored being home with her all day. Wait… sorry that was my auto correct – I mean I was totally emotionally fulfilled and happy. I started blogging about my life, and that has led me into a full time comedy-writing career.

Wildly Creative: How important is living a creative life?

My creative life is important to me because it gives me a true sense of purpose. I love writing, I love dancing, and I love making movies.   I never feel like I have enough time to do these things. I don’t look at my watch waiting for my day to end. I love Mondays. I am my happiest when I am creating. My spirit feels light, and full of joy. That is until my mind sinks into the rabbit hole of questioning my “success” and if I will ever “make it big” – that’s when I have a total panic attack and try to flush my head down the toilet. But don’t worry, that only happens once a day.

Wildly Creative: What advice to you have for those trying to lead a wildly creative life?

My advice to those trying to pursue their passions is to know the difference between a hobby and a career. Some of my creative pursuits are hobbies. I don’t expect to make money. I do them for the love, and for my own personal satisfaction. Other creative projects I want to commodify. Yet to make money, you have to understand the business of the art you are entering. That is a whole other beast to conquer. PR, marketing, finances blah blah blah… I just fell asleep. Self- promotion is hard, and it’s own skill. But in today’s postmodern transhumanist world, you have to understand it.

Want to see and hear more about Toni?  Visit:
Toni Bologna
The Over Share Show
Cave Light Productions

 

Featured Image Credit:  Taurus from the Dancing Zodiac by AquaSixio

 

Meet Dr. Maria Sirois, inspirational speaker and clinical psychologist

indexDr. Maria Sirois is an inspirational speaker and clinical psychologist who has worked in the intersection of psychology and well being for more than twenty years. She brings a depth of experience, weaving together inspirational story and poetry with research to enable us to move forward toward the life we most want:  one filled with vitality, health and meaning. Maria teaches internationally, and is featured often with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, bringing to audiences the latest tools and practices from the field of positive psychology that enliven our work, our relationships and our overall well being.  An author as well, her book Every Day Counts:  Lessons in Love, Faith and Resilience is used as a teaching tool in wellness centers, hospices and hospitals and brings forward wisdom from those who are living while dying.    For more information about Maria visit www.mariasirois.com.  You can also check out Maria’s TEDx talk on Living An Authentic Life by clicking here.

Wildly Creative:  How do you define living a creative life? How important is that for you?

A creative life is a life that is inclusive of whatever impassions your spirit or your soul. Creativity looks so different for every human being for some of us it is writing, dancing, painting, or sculpting.

However, I have come to understand creativity also as
how one creates beauty in a home or how one can be careful with language when speaking to a group.  Creativity can exist in terms of how you enable your teams at work to come together and spark a new idea or program.

Creativity is in the broadest sense an appreciation of who you are and how that lifts your spirit or your soul and how you bring that along everywhere you go.

Wildly Creative: What is your first memory of connecting with your creative self? Share your story with us!

As a young girl around the age of 6 or 7, I recall being fascinated by beautiful color stones and rocks. I remember that I began to put them into certain structures or pile them. It was the start of building a stone wall or something like that.

I was also drawn to natural beauty in crystals or stone and noticing a spark for me around beauty. Evolving from that, around the age of 10, I wanted to know the roots of words developed a love and appreciation for words. I wanted to know how to say them they had a music or melody to them. I remember being 7 years old and my parents getting me a small chalk board. Before I knew how to write script or very big words, I pretended I was writing them on the chalk board. I just loved language from an early age.

 

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Wildly Creative: What is the advice you wish someone shared with you about pursuing your passions and feeding your creative self?

I wish someone told me not to let school get in the way of creativity.  I was a perfectionist when I was young and thought that if I got A’s and did everything just right, I would feel worthy and get a place in the world.

Know that school is a piece of the story of growing and the creative life is integral to health and vitality as we grow.

Another piece of advice, as soon as you notice that spark within you, do whatever you can to protect time around that, do whatever you can to nourish that.   You’ve got to say to yourself, ‘Now is my imagination time, painting time….’ or whatever. Really hold it as sacred.

Wildly Creative: What drives you wild with inspiration and passion?  What is whispering to you that inspires you to create?

When I dance and when I move my body or exercise, it is like an infinity loop moving my body in joyful ways triggers this creative impulse and that spark of wanting to sit down and write. My most common form of creativity is writing. There is something about the health of the body that triggers creativity for me.

The wild or spark takes place when I hear a word phrase or poem or part of a poem and it is almost inevitable almost hard to put in the same moment bigger than myself, bigger than my body.

But at the same time, within those moments, I am so particularly myself and there is this kind of trembling and all I want to do is find a way to live within that word or that phrase.

There is a famous author who says that the more authentic we become the quirkier we are. I find that in this space, I am not even aware of other people’s thoughts about me or expectations. During those moments, I am just alive in myself.

Wildly Creative: How does one maintain a wildly creative live while navigating certain life difficulties or challenges?  (For example, tough relationships, mundane schedules, etc.)

Generally I think everyone has a choice. There is a crossroad moment you are given an opportunity to decide that you will nurture your creative life and you will no longer diminish your spark or negate it.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés—has that beautiful line, “You have to choose your own life force more than you like collaborating with your own oppression.” She is right, we have to choose and once we choose, do everything you can to protect that creative impulse.

I would say to my phone and various other things in my life ‘you don’t exist for the next few hours.’

The next thing is to keep tracking and noticing what you love because everything we love nourishes the creative impulse. For example, movement feeds my spark and my soul.  If I cut myself off from the things I love, I will cut myself off from my creative spark. If I keep following what I love, it will lead me to my next level of creative evolution.

There is a powerful intersection between inviting your creative aspects to live fully or express and your ability to create a life that is meaningful and in some ways happy. Some of us who are resilient who have a sense of loving our lives and no matter how hard our lives are, we’ve found a way for our creative expression to flourish.

Here in the West, creativity is considered an add-on. Yet, living a creative life is a far more nourishing aspect of the self than you might be lead to the believe. As you feed that creative field within you, you will be helping to shape a life that we all wish we had…a life that feels enlivening and meaningful even when it is difficult.

 

Meet Magny Tjelta, professional artist, designer & art teacher

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Photo Credit: Jeanette Nilssen

 

Check out her work on her website  and her blog

Here is more about Magny in her own words:

“I am a professional artist, designer and art teacher living on western coast of Norway.

In addition to my art work, I have been working part time for a charity organization for many years. My first role was to maximize the income generated from the donations of clothes, shoes, furniture and other items from the public. My passion for up-cycling lead to many great designs such as reclaiming old sofa leather to feed a factory line making handbags. For another project we did the complete TV studio re-design from up-cycled items for a regional TV magazine show.

My blog has included articles on drawing, painting, DYI tutorials and food recipes, and what unites them all is my real passion to help people release their creativity as part of a healthy lifestyle.

At the moment I am working on a series of online art classes concentrating on nurturing your creative side.”

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Wildly Creative: What is the advice you wish someone shared with you about pursuing your passions and feeding your creative self?

It took me a lot of time to learn how to feed my creative self.

I wish I was told that doing the things I love will give me the greatest pleasure and will make new dreams possible.

I had to discover that being nice to myself, for example, buying myself a bunch of flowers, or going to an exhibition, would give me the energy to be creative. These things are essential to nurture my creativity.

If you love what you do, others will love it too. Trust your intuition; focus on what is important to you. Be patient, put yourself out there and don’t be afraid.

I have learned over the years how to store ideas from my most creative moments, which I can use later to keep things flowing during the “dry” spells. I talk about these on my blog, which is open to everyone.

Life has surprised me, over and over again in many positive ways. Great things that I never imagined have happened.

Wild Creative: What drives you wild with inspiration and passion?  What is whispering to you that inspires you to create?

My motivation is to pose anthropological questions and comment on how culture is changing. In my art work, I study and deconstruct our experience of western history, popular culture and cultural truths. My work is particularly focused on my own present and recent past.

Although the various projects may not initially seem related, they raise recurrent concerns and questions.

For example I find inspiration from old photographs of previous generations of my family.

For me, looking back in time is like going into a misty landscape, where it is also dark, but the longer I find myself there, the brighter it becomes.

Wildly Creative: How does one maintain a wildly creative live while navigating certain life difficulties or challenges?  (For example, tough relationships, mundane schedules, etc.)

Experience has taught me what to do when I get stuck, and this took me years to learn.

The most important thing is to make a specific space in our lives to stay creative. It might be an hour on Saturday from 9 to 10, or Wednesday afternoons. We each have to decide what is right for us, write it down, and stick to it. It may take discipline and a strong will to get started. Even if it is just a little thing, it can be like a rolling snowball. But if you don’t do anything, nothing will happen. This is all very logical but can be hard to practice.

Finding creativity is the main topic of my blog and people can go there for much more details.

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Wildly Creative: Creative people are usually the ones challenging the rules and the status quo. They are often misfits. How are you making sure to hold true to breaking the rules?

I was born just 20 years after the end of WWII. Europe was rebuilding. There, not everybody got a chance to make a good life for themselves. In other places in the world, the hippie movement was taking place and after that we had the punk era.

Scandanivia had to re-create itself. And we now have what is arguably one of the most caring, inclusive societies in the world.

These made young people politically aware, concerned, skeptical, and we asked many questions. Our music and the way we dressed were ways to express ourselves politically. The art was expressive and straight from the heart. Together we believed we could make a difference. This feeling of power still gives me energy.

I believe that justice is more important than the rules. When we see things that are unfair we must react. We always need to be ready to break the rules to show people how society can improve.

This experience is always there; it is a way of thinking and is like a reality check.

 

 

Meet Clara Rose Thornton….Spoken Word Artist, Culture Journalist, and Radio/Television Broadcaster (Audio)

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Photo Credit: Rafael Photography

Clara Rose Thornton
is a spoken word artist, culture journalist, and radio and television broadcaster. She is a multiple slam champion, including the 2014-15 Dublin Slam Poetry Champion. Her themes of social justice, identity politics, and place have been featured at Electric Picnic, Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York, Bar Demory in Paris, Christiania Jazzklub in Copenhagen, and Workman’s Club in Dublin. In fall 2014 she toured Ireland as the headlining artist for the nation’s inaugural Black History Month, which she was instrumental in founding.  She is Chicago-born, New-York-simmered, Dublin-dwelling.  Meet her at clararosethornton.com and @ClaraRose.  We invite you to learn more about Clara Rose Thornton by visiting her site www.clararosethornton.com.Check out the upcoming Vice & Verses:  Neo-Soul Brigade in Dublin, Ireland (December 1).  Details can be found be found at the end of this interview or by clicking here.Wildly Creative:  How do you define living a creative life?

“Really art making is the most selfish yet simultaneously most altruistic paths that you can choose and simultaneously incredibly selfish and incredibly altruistic.  Because you are taking your thoughts, your perspectives, what happens to you on a daily basis and mulling over it.

You are sitting there writing poetry about it;
Some people take years to write a book about a certain experience they had;
Someone is writing a love song about someone that made them feel bad in high school;

You know these are deeply personal experiences being mulled and obsessed over. Sure, but it is all in the name of potentially connecting with someone else and their experience and extracting the universality in the crux of that connection.”  Interview Excerpt, press play to hear more:

Photo Credit: Rafael Photography

Wildly Creative:  Creatives are usually the ones breaking the rules and little bits of misfits. How are you making sure to hold true to breaking the rules?

Here Clara talks about breaking out of the box of what it means to be or look like a creative. How does being wildly creative intersect with “isms” like race, class, and education status alongside connecting Social Justice within the realm of creativity?

Through this brief segment, Clara encourages us to challenge what we see or envision even in our own skin of living a wildly creative life.

“I have lived in 6 countries on 2 continents.   I do not let the awareness and reality that my particular skin color, my particular background, life, view, perspective may not be the most welcome or familiar in some of these places daunt me because I want to go and grab life.”  Interview Excerpt, press play to hear more:

Photo Credit: Rafael Photography

Wildly Creative:  What words of wisdom do you wish to share with others?

Is it possible to gain freedom through your life, passion and paycheck intersecting? Here Clara speak more about this:

“Simply it’s going to be very very daunting and to never lose grip on that essential internal kernel of why you began doing it in the first place.”  Interview Excerpt, press play to hear more:

Photo Credit: Rafael Photography

Want to see or hear more from Clara Rose?  Check out what she is doing in Ireland with Vice and Verses:
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“Vice and Verses: Neo-Soul Brigade is a bimonthly series I started this year on October 6. It’s all about bringing disparate cultures together, and specifically, bringing African-American musical and poetics culture abroad. Our second installment is Tuesday, December 1. We have myself and my jazz band, the Vice & Verses Flute Trio; the biggest name in Irish hip-hop, Dublin-born Funzo; with a very special headliner to be announced this week (“stay tuned to clararosethornton.com” yadda yadda).”

Social Media Links to Vice and Verses:

Vice & Verses Facebook Page

Vice & Verses:  Neo -Soul Brigade
Tuesday, December 1, 5 Wellington Quay, Dublin, Ireland
Click here for more event details

Eventbrite page Info

 

 

 

Meet Chris Cromwell…Author, Visual Artist, Muralist & Web Designer (Audio)

“2011 was a pivotal moment for me because it taught me that life is extremely short and if I were to spend more time on this earth, I should be doing what I love.” Chris Cromwell

If you are interested in purchasing his new book, The Working Artist: 15 Lessons & Philosophies for Artists to Build a Successful Art Career,  you can visit the following link: http://amzn.to/1WsHUkw

More About Chris:

Chris Cromwell is a visual artist based in Calgary, Alberta. After losing both parents in 2011, Chris quit his day job and started pursuing art full time. Jumping in head first gave him valuable insights into how much work it actually takes to survive and thrive as an artist.

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Original Art by Chris Cromwell
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Original art by Chris Cromwell

Chris currently works full time designing websites and commissioning fine art and mural installations throughout Canada. Chris is also an author and an enthusiastic public speaker.

Curiosity Chris CromwellChris travels to schools teaching young people to aspire to living a creative life and emphasizes the value of creativity, uniqueness, optimism and most importantly, creative confidence.

 

Chris can be found online through social media:

Chris Cromwell _ Amanda StewartFacebook
Twitter
Instagram
Tumblr
Pinterest
Google+
LinkedIn
Periscope
Amazon

You can check Chris out by visiting:

www.creativecrom.com
www.theworkingartist.ca
www.creativeconfidence.ca
www.cromwellcreativity.com
www.unleashthecreativity.com

 

 

 

Meet Lucy H. Pearce….Mother, Author Multi-passionate Creative

1-LucyheadshotJune2015Lucy H. Pearce is a multi-passionate creative and mother of three. She is the author of numerous life-changing non-fiction books for women, including Moods of Motherhood; The Rainbow Way: cultivating creativity in the midst of motherhood and Moon Time which are Amazon #1 bestsellers in their field.

Lucy’s work is dedicated to supporting women’s empowered, embodied expression. She is the founding publisher at Womancraft Publishing. Former co-editor and columnist at JUNO magazine, she blogs at Dreaming Aloud.net on creativity and authentic living. She is a vibrant painter of lost archetypes of the feminine.

Wildly Creative:  Creativity is…

There is a juiciness to creativity, a succulence that comes up from within, a sensuality which both produces and is soothed by the act and product of creativity. Creativity is pleasing to us on a deep level. Be it the feel of clay in our hands, the colors that make us feel alive as we knit or paint, the meaning that we find in the words that we write or sing, the energising feel of movement as we dance and the music moves through our bodies.

I often refer to creativity using the metaphor of wild horses:

All is quiet and calm on the horizon of the desert mind, a dust storm here, a vulture here, then suddenly over the horizon there thunders a herd of wild horses. Where they came from is not known, nor where they are going. If you spot them you can follow them on foot, running fast to keep up, you might get a sense of their size, their energy, their number and color, and then they are gone, as quickly as they arrived. You are left with the bones, the bare bones in the desert. Your expression will never be the horses, it can never match them, it will be your impression of the horses. You will always be matching it up to that illusive, fleeting perfection of their vision when you saw and felt them. No one else saw them, so no one else can really know. Only your expression can, in some way, communicate these wild horses to the world. And if you choose not to chase them, because you’re too busy, you didn’t know how or you weren’t ready, the image of these escaped horses may haunt you, lurking in your creative mind forever more – you will see other horses, other landscapes, but those horses, that desert, that day, are gone for good.

Wildly Creative:  When did you start nurturing your creative life and why?

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There seems an innate nervousness to calling ourselves creative. I was gobsmacked that most of the women I spoke to when writing my book, The Rainbow Way, really struggled with defining themselves as creative, let alone “artists”. And yet they painted pictures, wrote books, presented TV shows, sang or sculpted, or sometimes all those things and more! To the outside world it was what defined them… but they could not own this label themselves. I was that way too.

Many years ago at the opening of one of my father’s painting exhibitions an older woman asked if I was creative. “No”, I heard myself answer, in all seriousness, “I’m not creative”.

You see to me my father was Creative. He was an Artist. He had made his name as a renowned potter, now he was branching into design, sculpture and painting. Whereas I hated making pots and I’d never had a painting exhibition…

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Art by Lucy H.Pearce

And I really meant it, I wasn’t just being humble – I didn’t value my creativity because I wasn’t a money-making Artist. In that moment I kind of forgot the A Level in art; all the oil paintings; the plays I had written, directed, adapted, translated, acted in; the dance classes I loved; my fervor for cooking; singing in numerous choirs; the crafting. Oh yes, and the poetry, novel chapters and journals full of writing stashed away in drawers. It was all hobbies, just silly stuff!

I felt great shame about not being properly Creative. I became less and less artistically creative over the next few years and didn’t paint for almost ten years. It was only when my first child was born that suddenly that there was this reawakening of creativity a strong desire for self-expression something other than just being a mother.

I thought I was alone in this, until I started talking to other mothers about their creativity and whether for them there was a renaissance of creativity after motherhood and the vast majority said yes and it took them by surprise as it did me. There was this surge of creative energy, power, and a desire for self- expression, a desire for a voice which came through so strongly and took them by surprise and then they had this real challenge of balancing the demands of motherhood on their time and energy with this strong urge to create. Of course creativity can re-emerge at any time in people’s lives, it is not just to do with motherhood. I had just never heard of creativity being linked with motherhood.

Wildly Creative:  What is the advice you wish someone shared with you about pursuing your passions and feeding your creative self? 

I believe that we all have a creative spark in us, but in some it has just never been kindled, and in others it has been prematurely extinguished. Most of us are taught that creativity is a treat or a hobby, something for the gifted few, an optional extra. Like dessert we get to have it after we’ve eaten our greens – after we’ve done our “proper” work. But no. Creativity is IT.  It is the life force coming through us, it is, it needs to be up front and centre. You need to devote yourself to it. It’s longing for you as much as you’re longing for it. Creativity is the point. Stop putting it off. Stop telling yourself you’re not good enough. It takes courage. Never underestimate the courage it takes.

Creativity is a process which is innate to humans, and one which we engage with, usually unconsciously on a daily basis. The creative flow is everywhere, just waiting for us to dive in. It is the underlying principle of life: we do not need to make it happen. By aligning ourselves with the creative processes arising naturally within us, and in the world, rather than feeling isolated from them, we can begin to co-create. The more aware we become of the process and how it feels in ourselves, the more we can align ourselves with it. The more we can heighten our senses, and refine our skills, the more accomplished the products of our creativity. Creativity is not about product, it is always about process. And we are always having to relearn that.

Wildly Creative:  What drives you wild with inspiration and passion?  What is whispering to you that inspires you to create? 

Creating in itself. It is always terrifying and thrilling. Like diving into icy cold water: in the same moment you fear it will kill you, you feel more alive than you ever have.

For me creativity is a path of devotion, a path of extreme vulnerability and one which has immense gifts both for me and for the world. As I have the courage to look deeper and deeper, to explore that which I have left hidden in this life time or other lifetimes, as I dare to look and paint and write the voices which are not allowed in our world, I become more fully alive, more fully myself, and more deeply connected with others and the world.

I am not a religious person but for me it is an exploration with the divine. When the muse comes to me, I am in a scared agreement to drop everything and serve: to race to my journal or my computer and write and write as the stuff comes through me. It’s like having afternoon tea with God. Afternoon tea is my favorite thing, it is a very British thing you have your little pretty sandwiches and exquisite cakes, in the sunshine on the lawn and it’s as close to heaven as you can get on earth. And you get to have it with God with the divine, as your personal guest. That sensation pulses through me when creative flow is there with me. And the only reason it isn’t always is that I block myself, or forget, or get busy or distracted, or try to be too clever. But it’s always there.

And so my passion is both in living my life so that I can become more and more immersed in creative flow and allowing it to infiltrate every aspect of my life. My mothering, my friendships, my work, how I earn my money, my leisure, my pleasure – my creativity infiltrates everything. So my journey really is in exploring different tools, different approaches, different ways and methods of allowing myself to stay more and more in connection with flow, with creativity with the transcendent and then sharing what I have learnt with people. It’s a kind of apprenticeship or discipleship, and it’s one that I feel very, very lucky to have. It’s one that I think we all can have. Creativity is our birth right is our gift in this life.

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Art by Lucy H.Pearce

Want to connect with Lucy H. Pearce and Womancraft Publishing?  Here is how you can stay connected:

MEET BAILEY MEZAN….CONTENT PRODUCER, EDITOR & CHIEF OF DREAME.ME

unnamed (1)Bailey Mezan, is 23 years old  originally from San Diego, California and now living in Tel Aviv.  Bailey is the content producer for Dreame, and the Editor and Chief of Dreame Diaries.   “I love reading abstract fiction novels, swimming in the gorgeous Mediterranean and playing the piano.”

Wildly Creative:  What is the advice you wish someone shared with you about pursuing your passions and feeding your creative self?

The greatest perk about being a creative is that it only gets better with age. By constantly creating, we are exercising every part of our existence – our humanness is being flexed. A great piece does not have to be mature or seamless, a great piece is the purest reflection of who you are at that time.

Wildly Creative:  What drives you wild with inspiration and passion?  What is whispering to you that inspires you to create?

I am inspired by the shared human experience. By putting my words and thoughts on paper, I am solidifying my place in a world of people searching for meaning and understanding. By immortalizing my own thoughts and reading the thoughts of others, I am not just adding to the larger cannon, but I am growing by indulging in it’s depths.

Wildly Creative:  What keeps you wild and daring to create?

The drive to create comes from having something you ‘must’ say. While many people experience this urge to share and transpose thoughts, being a creative means that my urge takes me to paper, pen, canvas or music. I dare to create because my need to speak and be heard leaves me with no other choice.

Wildly Creative:  Creatives are usually the ones breaking the rules and little bits of misfits. How are you making sure to hold true to breaking the rules?

As soon as I finished college, I decided to never compromise my creative side to accommodate the expectations of others. This means that if  I ever were to find myself on a career path or at a job that does not suit my creative passions, I would move on. While this way of life may seem frivolous or fleeting, it actually puts pressure on me to find new ways of enjoying what I am doing in that moment.