[ From the Archives of 365 ]
“Learning. Making more things, and not being intimidated to show my work.”
Pointing to a shopping center studio, my daughter pushed, “we have to go in, there is your person to interview.” I’m telling you, out of the mouth of children does inspiration flow.
The windows were covered with artwork and partitions blocked our view of who was manning the shop. But as we inquisitively walked in, we were greeted by a most charming and beautiful artist and teacher, Betsy.
She was spectacular in the way she engaged with my little girl. Got right into art talk as she told her about what they did at the studio. Even signed us up for a free lesson. Now, I’m not one to impulse buy or commit to a demo, but Betsy’s offering was intoxicating and to the point. We were sold.
This was not the reason we were pushed into the shop, I explained as I invited her to be interviewed. She was instantly intrigued and shared a few other one-year blogs that she knew of. One of which, that just the week before, was recommended to me by Matthew, the guy with the Gestalt theory reference: An edgy site called Skulladay by Noah Scalin.
Betsy was all in, telling me, “I’ll support anything that is about 365.”
How cool it was as she went on to tell me about another one of Noah’s project: Makesomething365. It was my first realization of a community dedicated to the world of 365 challenges. A society I was not even aware of, and the genesis to announcing what has now grown as a call to action within Sidewalk Ghosts, 365’rs of the world, it time to unite!
But what about Betsy?
As I said, She was simply charming. Betsy was an artist to the core. I knew this because I could relate to the stories she shared. There was a common thread that many of us right-brainers have. First, is an equally strong left brain, after all, in taking all the rejection the career offers, one needs to be equally yoked. It’s a very difficult business and we artists have to be focused, patient, and tenacious in life. Being a good person is also a plus; and in a flash, I knew Betsy possessed all these qualities. We talked of creative vulnerability, linked it back to the stiff competitive culture fostered through the art departments of higher education. “You have to be so independent. Art schools are very critical. It’s not like sports, where you get rewards for winning. In art the is no winning, it’s all personal and no trophies are given for best work.” Betsy framed this experience in a very positive way, used it to help herself and her students feel good about what they created.
How? you may ask. I love this! “We remove the competitive comparison of our students and award them for their uniqueness with trophies for best personal vision and things like that.” What a fun way to help emerging artists own a point-of-view, especially for children and youth who are so impressionable; and I bet the people coming out of her program had a healthy balance of self-worth and artistic ownership. Great stuff!
Betsy listened to her own advice. “After years of working in East coast theatre, doing wigs and wardrobe, I realized that I was not growing. Not happy with what I was doing, I left and moved to Los Angeles. I’m happier now and rediscovering my passions.” Let’s just say, Betsy was finally rewarding herself.
Picking up and relocating to chase a dream was a very brave thing to do, and at only four months into her journey, Betsy looked like she was on the right path.
Not quite ready to show her work to the world (and I understood why), I asked her about her future.
Her response, “Learning. Making more things, and not being intimidated to show my work.”
Betsy expressed these thoughts with peace and power. No longer worried about how people perceived her work, it was obvious that she was in the midst of rediscovery, and I was whole-heartedly inspired.