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Kristi Tencarre Interview : Page 2 of 2

Artist and Photographer
Kristi Tencarre

continued from page 1

Kristi TencarreQ: Thank you for sharing your courageous story. I know it will inspire others! Can you discuss the healing powers of creative work and travel as they apply to your own life? Is it all about escaping the daily grind, or is there something deeper at work?

A: Sometimes I need to get out of the rut of daily living, in order to feel like there is time for my art. It is important to get away from the distractions that plague us at home. When you are out of your routine, and being bombarded by new experiences, you will find a change in your writing. Even a routine like writing in a journal changes in a new place, because you are writing about new sights, smells, and experiences! You can go to places on the page that you never would have dreamt if you'd stayed at home. There are so many new things to see in this world of ours — how can you not be inspired?

Basically, it all boils down to time management. If you value your art time at home, you can create daily. However, some people need that time away in order to reconnect with their true selves. Seeing new sights every day can definitely be inspiring, and will quickly cure "writer's block."

Q: How do different cultures influence your art?

A: My eyes have been opened. I have seen such a variety of ways to live that I can no longer be ethnocentric. I have never been able to live in a bubble, and now that I have seen so many parts of the world, I think in terms of an even broader worldview.

For example: What we at home may consider simplistic drawings are what some cultures sell to the tourists, who buy them in abundance, thus creating a market and no need to specialize. Their artwork is accepted as is, whereas the market for that style of drawing back home would be criticized. The encouragement there for me is to just create and not worry about the outcome. If I like it, maybe someone else will too. As long as I enjoyed the process, it was worth my time.

In terms of writing, I see things from such a deeper understanding of the world now; things are no longer black and white. This means that I cannot simply write about "petty" things. I'm not yet sure how to write about some of my experiences, but I know they will come out in time.

Q: How does inspiration translate? Is your writing and artistic "voice" the same in any language?

A: No. When I write in French, there is a distance between my self and my writing. That was another technique I tried when I lost my words for a few months. I wrote some thoughts and poetry in French. I felt free because no one could read it, but also it didn't always feel like "I" was writing the words that appeared on the page. They were simply words that were in my handwriting. There is a freedom to writing in another language, because it creates a sense of detachment.

Q: Are you the same artist in Bali as you are in Canada? How does your location influence your creative expression and inspiration?

A: When I moved home from overseas and out on my own, I valued my inherent artistic tendencies and chose a home with two bedrooms so that I could have a permanent art room. I wanted to fully embrace this side of me. I had never had my own space to create before, and it made a difference. Being able to have a permanent space for a table and shelves of art supplies meant that I was free to work for as little time as I wanted — I did not have to clean up in order to share the space with another activity. My art room became a weekly gathering place for my creative friends. I've moved a few times since then, but I will always have an art space wherever I am living.

When traveling, it's hard to tote around art supplies, so I stuck with writing because the materials are so basic — pen and paper. It was impossible for me not to gather extra materials in order to be artistic in how I wrote. I bought bags of colored markers and pencils, scissors and glue sticks, stickers, and color cartridges for my printer, so that I could make art in my journal. I even ended up buying brushes and acrylic paints on a trip to Paris, because I missed painting so much! However, it's hard to carry around a ton of supplies when you're constantly on the move.

Q: You've travelled the world, following your Muses. Where is your all-time favorite place to write and create art?

A: I've learned that I can write anywhere — from jotting down a few lines on a bus, to writing pages in an airplane, but my all time fave place to write is in nature — in any country. Being able to listen to the life hidden in the trees — birdsong, frogs, crickets, and monkeys — makes something inside me come to life.

One of my favourite places to journal has been in coffee shops because I love people watching. When I was in Europe, I always sat on the terrace of a café so that I could watch the life in the street around me, taking breaks to jot down my thoughts.

Creating art is slightly different, because I prefer to work in my own space with all my supplies — I'm a very impulsive artist, so I often change my mind in the middle of a project. Planning ahead to bring all those art supplies with me takes some of the fun out of the creative process. Plus, carting all that stuff around gets heavy!

Q: What is your vision for your career in the next decade?

A: I would love to start facilitating writing workshops for adults as well as children on a monthly basis. I'm seeing such a need for people to be able to share their life stories, and so many people simply need a gentle push of encouragement. It's all about gaining techniques for your toolbox! With my teaching background, I can offer students a deeper time of writing. Intensity is difficult to achieve in a classroom when half the students are not keen on writing, so when a student who likes to write can attend a workshop, they can go farther with their passion. That's exciting to me.

I would also like to publish more articles in various magazines and get a column in a newspaper. I have a few book ideas that I'm developing, and one that's ready to market, so we'll see where all this passion leads!

As for the art and photography side, I'm still having fun exploring these aspects. I've just been asked to do a series of paintings and a mural for a church near Jasper, Alberta in the Rocky Mountains. I've been submitting a series of my travel photos along with writing prompts (see: Adventure Series Prompts) to the Creativity Portal and I would love to see that idea become a book someday. I would also love to create a writing resource for teachers to use in elementary and high schools. I believe that if we can share our passion with youth, the art world will continue to grow.

Q: Any advice, or final words of inspiration for creative wanderers who are new to this journey?

A: Go after your dreams! Don't let fear and anxiety steal your creative ideas or time. Value your gifts and set aside some time in order to create. Once you start valuing yourself, your gifts and your time, others will follow suit. Surround yourself with beauty — on your terms. Indulge in art supplies so that you have the tools available to you on a moment's notice. This is not a luxury, but a necessity, a way of climbing out of the pit and freeing your soul to be who you are. Understand that dreams change as you grow and transform, and allow your dreams to change along with you. Give yourself the gift of time, and don't get discouraged if it takes longer than you planned to realize your dreams. They are worth the time. They are worth the effort. •

Connect with Kristi Tencarre

Kristi TencarreKristi Tencarre (B.A., B.Ed.) has published her essays, poems, and articles internationally. She's a regular contributor to the Creativity Portal — check out her multiple inspiring creative offerings here!

Want to get inspired? Sign up for weekly writing prompts and browse her blog at Or, to contact Kristi directly, please email:

© 2009 Molly J. Anderson-Childers

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »