Hello beautifuls, I hope your run up to the holidays is smooth, cool, calm and collected?? Yeah, me too :/ ...cest le vie, but we still have one week (she says trying to make that sound like a long rather than short time lol). I'm thinking this will be the last TAT before Christmas, given that the next will be Christmas Eve and we'll all be still running around like crazy people (except more so with that 'one day left' feeling). Then the week after it will be New Years Eve so I'm thinking I'll do as I did last year and pick it up in the new year, so till then enjoy the last TAT of 2013 eeeek!
Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.My name is Michelle Bukowski and I live in Nashville, TN. I’ve been here six and a half years and I’m on staff at a large private university. I am fortunate that my position allows me to be use my creativity on a daily basis (I am the social media coordinator for our school among other things). I have been an artist as far back as I can remember. My first love, photography, was a gift from my dad. I think the first camera he gave me was a 110 (I guess I’m dating myself). I used to love to go shooting (photos) with him. Painting was another favorite medium. As a young child, I recall watching my mom getting out her acrylic paints and creating works of art. I even remember being inspired by a book called “Painting With Elke Sommer” and copying her painting style. A little over 3 years ago, my dad passed away unexpectedly. For about a year, I was in a bit of a fog; I felt like my creativity was zapped. But as time wore on, I started feeling itchy. I needed to do something. I discovered mixed media and art journaling. It was, in part I believe, my salvation. And maybe the final gift I’ll receive from my dad. I primarily use acrylic paints but also dabble with watercolors (I avoid oil because I don’t have the patience for it to dry) and I utilize a lot of recycled materials. I create canvases out of snack boxes or cardboard boxes. I love creating tools out of recycled materials; for example, I hand cut stencils using discarded chip-board that my husband gets at work. I utilize bubble wrap, lids of every size, old batteries, corks and (my favorite) old gift cards as pallet knives. All my “tools” are used to create rich backgrounds. Finally, I use all types of recycled papers to create the focus of each piece.
What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I face is not allowing stress and anxiety to affect my creativity. My desire is always there, but getting passed the stress is something I find difficult. One way I’ve learned to overcome this is a tip from artist Dina Wakley. She suggests starting with a creative practice. For example, using shipping tags and adding color to get your juices flowing. I also find allowing myself some grace a helpful mental practice. Realizing that some days it’s better to stop than trying to force the project saves me a lot of frustration and time.
What advice would you offer to any perspective new artist?
Don’t get upset when things don’t turn out the way you pictured them in your head. Sometimes they turn out better; sometimes you cover it all with gesso and start over. Don’t compare yourself to others. Your talents are unique to you. Always create for yourself. Art is subjective and not everyone will like what you’re creating. And that is ok. As long as you like it, keep doing it.
What is your heart’s greatest desire for your life as an artist?
I want to create a welcoming space where I can help people realize their inner artist and creative capabilities. I’d love to help people develop creative practices they can use in their everyday lives. I hear people say they’re not artistic but I believe we all have a creative spark inside. Sometimes we just need help finding it. Creativity for some may be less obvious: the ability to be a good leader or a fantastic public speaker is just as creative as being able to put paint down on paper. I’d love to have a creative co-op with space for workshops and of course an area for my own work.
Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
You can find me on my blog. I post most Saturdays and I usually show my work in progress so you get an idea of how my pieces take shape from start to finish. I am also on Pinterest.
Thank you tons for sharing Michelle. I love that you connect your art with your Dad in such a precious way and that he is part of this journey with you.
I agree with all your advice to new artists, but also with the creative practice to get the juices flowing and I want to pick up on that because thinking of what you're doing as 'just warm up' can really help release the pressure sometimes. I really believe in it, to the point where I keep a couple of journals just specifically for that (which I may eventually get around to sharing one of these days...though right now I can think nothing but 'Holidays' lol).
Do you want to be featured in an interview here?