2012 Twenty Questions Interviews : Joanna Bennett
20 Questions Interview with Joanna Bennett
An Artist on a Journey
1. What's your name?
2. Where are you from?
Originally from New York State but now living in Virginia.
3. Who are you today?
I am still Joanna but I am now Joanna, an artist on a journey who is listening to her voice, heart, and gut intuition, trying to do what she was meant to be doing. I am a bag lady filling up bags of past pain so I can empty them in some creative form.
4. What do you do? (Elevator speech)
This could be an extension of #3. I am a bag lady carrying an emergency creativity kit, filled with the necessities of creating sometimes in 20-minute increments in the morning before work. My van looks like the floor of my studio.
5. What's your story (how did you get here)?
I got here from the baggage I carry, as we all do. I got tired of leaving the part of "I am an artist," behind. So, I started a blog, got serious about utilizing my time, created an art studio, and started giving myself permission to make messes.
6. Why is creativity important to you?
Creativity has always been part of my life, who I am; I just had to put it on hold (or chose to) for many years for various reasons. It is a way of life for me. If I wasn't making something visual, I was writing songs and stories. Now, I am at a point in my life where I don't need or focus on other people and I can take my wants more seriously. It is a necessity for my well being, for my sanity, for my soul nurturing or nourishing.
7. When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
It has been calling me. It's just become louder or more stronger over the last few years.
8. How did you embrace it?
I just started doing it a little at a time, hanging my art work up in the house, and saying to heck with what others think.
9. How did that feel?
It made me want to keep going. If I don't do something creative every day I get very cranky and unhappy.
10. Where has your journey taken you?
I started a blog and got involved in other art groups on the internet, where we share ideas, swap art, develop friendships and give each other a lot of support.
11. What challenges have you faced?
My challenge is that I still have to work a "normal" 9-5 job, so I am often faced with when I really want to sit down and create I sometimes don't have the time or energy. It is true for me in that a lot of my ideas come while I'm at "work," but then I have begin to write those ideas down so I can refer to them later on, so I guess I am still being creative. Much of my actual "production" comes on the weekends.
12. What worked for you?
Starting small, taking baby steps. No matter if it was only an hour in the evening or getting to work early and working from the front seat of my van before going in to the office. Something simple as creating a mini collage on an index card worked and still works for me.
13. What didn't work for you?
I am still learning what doesn't work for me in a physical, visual sense, but what doesn't work for me is being in a noisy, loud, chaotic environment. I am more aware that I want to be around people that are like me and want that same peaceful, calm. I need to be able to hear myself think. The way I am feeling comes out in my art.
14. What tips can you share with those starting on a similar path?
Start small and keep taking those baby steps. Set aside some small time even 15-30 minutes every day to do something creative for yourself. It makes a difference.
15. What are you working on now?
I always have several projects going at the same time. I am altering a book, I am learning how to make mini art journals, and I am always participating in art swaps in some form or another. I am always trying new things.
16. What's coming up for you in the next year?
One of my goals is to open a shop on Etsy to begin to sell my work. Otherwise I'll keep doing what I'm already doing.
17. What else do you desire/dream to do?
I'd like to design my own line of greeting cards. I'd also like to record a CD of my music one day, just for fun. Not necessarily for other's approval.
18. How will you make that happen?
Not sure exactly how to answer that at the moment but I will know it when it presents itself.
19. What question would you like to be asked (or are just itching to answer) that's not on this list?
Do you care or are you concerned with spending too much time doing what you do? Does it carry over into your personal relationships?
Hmm. I asked it and now I have to answer it. Yes and no. I feel at this time in my life I am to the point, finally, that I don't really care about pleasing other people. I've worn different hats over the years. Been there. Done that.
Now, I want to surround myself with like minded, creative people, and invest my time in nurturing relationships. I tend to be more of an introvert. After taking care of patients all day in my day job, being sympathetic, empathetic, I need quiet, alone time to refuel. Art is one way I do that.
I think the bottom line is that I want to be involved or around people that support my creativity, are not threatened by it, and, don't ask me to change who I am or am becoming. I am responsible for creating my own happiness. I know how to nurture me so I can nurture others or other relationships if I choose. Wow! That's a heavy answer, isn't it?
20. What's your blog address?
gatheringwild the blog is at: jogatheringwild.blogspot.com.