What has working as a multidisciplinary artist taught you about letting go of needing to be one "thing"?

I have such a hard time describing myself in a succinct sentence, and I dance around definition with a wink. Usually I just like to say "I'm an artist," because it's so deliciously vague. I like a bit of mystery, space to be malleable.

Embracing fluidity is so attractive to me and my body of work. I tend to my creativity through many channels, and each feeds the other. A shift between them is important for feeling balanced. Whenever I'm feeling creatively blocked in one direction, I shift to another . . . sometimes a step away, a change in perspective or texture provides so much clarity.

Creatively I'm fueled by curiosity and wonder; I love to be a student, to step outside the familiar. I love to move, bring warmth to my body; there is so much color in that energy. Engaging my senses is important, as is embracing mistakes and humanhood with playful joy. I think that this approach threads itself through everything I do. I often ask myself how I should navigate and tend the scope of my creative projects. It can be daunting, and leave me feeling scattered sometimes. It's important to carve out time for each, to take one at a time, to seek out ways to greet them with intention. You must have courage, be open, and push through moments of self-doubt. My mantra is patience, always.

I like to think of my multidisciplinary approach to work as a constellation that shape-shifts. It's complex and beautiful and I'm simply connecting the dots, telling a story, continually reinventing. People aren't "one thing"! As an artist, that's refreshing. I think being an "artist" is a broad, and ultimately embracing way of labeling yourself. An artist is not defined by her tool, she is defined by a way of looking. She leans into whichever medium beckons at that moment -- it could be painting, photography, design, ceramics, digital art, cooking, music . . . The vehicle may change (and I think that it should). That's how things you didn't know about yourself surface -- skills you tend, visions or values you hold. The artist is simply driven by the act of pouring something out into the world in a way that is hers.

Interview with OZMA, 2019

© 2020 / Alaina Sullivan