Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eileen Favotire, Creative Woman Accepts No Excuses

I recently had the pleasure to interview Eileen Favorite, writer and instructor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago about the creative life. I began by asking her if she believes we’re all creative, and artists are heart. “That’s a good question. If a banker is called an artist, then they’re in engaged in their art all of the time. That concept conflates a certain consciousness about what one does. What is art? Kindness? Perfection? Awareness? Engagement with something materially? I guess I’d have to say I don’t see a banker as an artist because mindfulness + creativity does not necessarily create an artistic product.” She goes on to acknowledge that the same banker might create art outside of his/her work life.
What makes one an artist? “Artists must be engaged in the practice of their art. That is elemental. If you’re not trying to create something all of the time, then you’re not really living the life of an artist.”

How does an artist keep going forward on the path? For Eileen there was encouragement from friends, teachers and family, the main core of her personal relationships, and the one group that many artists feel they need kudos from to feel supported in their art. “Nobody can keep making art without any success at it,” Eileen admits. Adding, “Ultimately, I couldn’t rely solely upon outside sources (to be encouraged to continue). The power to create and persevere in the face of rejection and discouragement came from within myself. It has to. If you expect the outside world to push you, you’ll get nowhere. You need encouragement here an there to keep going, but the world is accomplished through nothing but your own initiative and the desire to create.”

What is her best advice to artists? “I believe the world is discouraging art making. You must value it even if no one sees it. Success in America is measurable. You can’t change the world’s perception of art. You can only change yourself. It is harder than most work, but it is not going to come if you’re not engaged in the process. Find joy in the process but be disciplined in the amount of time you devote to it. Take risks. Play. Create as if you think no on will ever read/hear/see your work.”

I asked her if it seemed like many artists see their desire to create a lot like building a castle in the air. Eileen agrees for many it is a far off dream that is romantic and wonderful, but it can also be a burden to keep up that castle. “Ask yourself, what can I do now? What resources do I have? Don’t wait for a time when you’ll be able to have all the trappings of a writing office or you’ll never get there.”

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