After our program students say that mental health does not seem as taboo of a topic as it did prior.
I’m on the 3rd drafts of my book How To: Rewrite Beautiful. It’s a series of essays on how to be Creative, Kind and Strong on a daily basis. It’s a preventative and restorative book for young women.
The book is preventative in that it will be used as the curriculum in our Beautiful Action Clubs in High School’s and Colleges. It’s restorative in that it’s also an inspiring read for any woman in her 20’s and 30’s. We’re talking about issues like self talk, following your dreams, success in life, sex and relationships....the youngin's will love it because we're talking about topics that parents and teachers feel a tad awkward talking about. It's the inside real deal, in Irvina-fashion all political correctness has been thown out! For us 20 somethings it's stuff that seems to never get old chatting about and I'm a pretty funny writer
This project has been a ton of work and so fun! I am stoked to be working with the amazing writing coach and editor Jeannette Encinias. Not only is Jeannette push me to do my best and kick my butt into gear on my grammar, but she’s an uber fabulous inspirational person to be coaching me through this book! Jeannette is a big follower of her dreams and has definitely done her work rewriting beauty for herself in our world. Check out her site www.jeannetteencinias.com and have a BEautiufl day!
Once upon a time, in a land a $350 plane ticket away from here was big, loud and beautiful New York City. In that city lived a talented Street Artist named Color Me Katie.
Katie was known for making funny Street Art that left every observer either giggling or smiling.
Eventually people started to ask Katie, “What inspires you to make such fun and happy art?” Katie’s answer, “Actually, I make happy art because a lot of people in my family suffer from depression. I know a lot of people here in New York feel really alone too. I just wanted to make something that would make people smile and happy.”
Meanwhile on the Left Coast of Route 66 was a rule breaking and loud Art Teacher who got in trouble more often than her students. One day after being kindly reprimanded for using the word “fornicate” around her students and using some special Project Runway skills on her work shirt that were against company code, she was looking for some art to lift her rebellious spirit. When she Googled upon Color Me Katie’s blog.
When the Art Teacher read why Katie created her art she thought about her own students who have trouble making art unless they are personally connected to it. The teacher thought it was silly to teach her students how to draw flowers if they didn’t even like flowers. So the teacher thought, “If Katies makes awesome art because she cares about people who are depressed, I wonder what my students care about?”
The teacher gathered all her students, told them about Color Me Katie. Why Katie made her art, the message she is trying to send to people and about Street Artists being people who try to send a powerful message through their art. The teacher then asked her students. “What message do you want to tell people through your art?”
The students had a lot to say and create:
Now before the students create anything they think about what they love, the message they are trying to send and THEN they create. Now they are connected to their art and enjoy the creating process a whole lot more. Kate is still making awesome Street Art in New York City. The Art Teacher is no longer an Art Teacher, she’s now a writer, laptops don’t have anything against the word “fornicate” they just ask that you spell it correctly.
The Artsy End.
1.) What do you love?
2.) What message do you want to share with others?
3.) How could you share that message?
4.) Do you the guts to make some Street Art? (The correct answer is YES!)
Most people get through college and achieve their bachelor’s degree in 4 years. Serotonin challenged individuals like myself take 6. During those 6 years I accumulated more academic units than the average keg-standing college kid. Being a creative and Academic Advisor ignoring girl that I was, I choose to take tons of classes on Cinema, Music; ‘From Bach to Rock”, Photography and Art History Classes. Something I found oddly common was that there was always a great emphasis in all of these classes on the masters and founders of each art form. I have a great respect for history makers, but I found it surprising that in an environment that was supposed to encourage creativity, there was a lot of "This is how you do it." Nevertheless, I enjoyed learning about the renowned names like William Randolph Hurst, Charlie Chaplin, Beethoven, Ansel Adams and Van Gogh were the center of our study and discussions.
Being the yuppie, upper middle-class college kid I was I got the opportunity to go to Europe during college. I was privileged to be able to see and breathe in presence of the work created by the masters I studied. Something not everyone is fortunate enough to do. Ironically, upon returning home from my voyages, I have discovered one funny thing about the work of DaVinci, Goya, Gaudi and Picasso; though they are prodigies in their field none of their work floors me like the art of creating a baby.
Now, I can assure you I DO NOT HAVE BABY FEVER. I have held enough runny nosed toddlers and stained my favorite skirt with organic-low-sodium-high-fiber-mashed-chicken-soup to keep my hormones well stocked with birth control into my late 30’s. But, still, babies absolutely blow me away! Whether it be my friends baby or the girl checking out at Trader Joe’s, jaw dropped I always manage to say, “Seriously?! You friggin’ made that thing!” I mean for a second lets take into perspective, someone made a nice big painting on a ceiling, well done, but these people made A PERSON. Like with a heart and a brain and good lord an intestinal track that spans 6 feet! How did they do that?! (That’s another blog; I like to call….Dirty Dancing. We’ll get there.)
Though men do offer quite a bit of ‘help’ in the baby creating process, women are the prime producers in getting their art form ‘out’ into the world. I think that for a woman, creating a child is both an honor and privilege. What bums me out is how many women don’t give much thought to being ‘creative.’ Time and time again I hear so many women say with a sigh of defeat, “I’m not very creative.” Thank you Charlie Brown, but not true! Historically women are the one’s who created rituals, holidays, food and oh yes, little people. Whether you believe it or not simply owning a vagina makes you creative. I think some of us just don’t know how to recognize it (the creativity that is.)
Take my friend Marie for instance. She’s an accountant and a very linear thinker. One who I roll my eyes at for saying, “I just wasn’t given the creative gene.” What I would like to point out to her and you is that being creative doesn’t simply consist of stretching canvas, rhyming words or knowing a color wheel by heart. Creativity consists of giving the world a little something that wasn’t there before you came along. So, back to Marie; in my eyes Marie is actually a VERY creative person. I have never known someone who not only emotionally cares for people, but also physically cares for them. She creates personal, intimate relationships with people. She instigates my close group of friends to open our eyes and remember to care for people in our community who might feel neglected or left out. She is always willing to volunteer and lend a hand wherever needed whether it is at work, within her family, at church or in our community. Marie is one of the most creative people I know.
One of the core values of the key components to being beautiful is BELIEVING that you are creative. Knowing that wherever you go you have something beautiful and creative to offer of yourself makes you feel like rock star status! The awesome thing is that the world is diverse and though 2 people may be painters, whatever they create will always be a new unique creation because someone different made it. No matter what you create, whether it is relationships, art or people your creative contribution is shaping our world.
This past Christmas I was talking to my family about some of the current tragedy’s in the world. Just to keep it real I turned to my mom who has had 5 children and with a straight face I asked, “What’s the point in having children? Like what’s the purpose.” She gave me my favorite look that my family gives me the, “For God sakes, why do you have to be so weird!” look. Being the cool cat she is she said, “Well, that’s a pretty deep question. If I had to simply answer it I would say, ‘Hope’. Each new birth reminds us that there is hope for a new world.” I don’t agree with my mother very often, but on this one she definitely has me puttin’ a Franklin down on her bet. Cause if you asked me, hope is definitely why I create.
I create Street Art because I believe that women are a valuable part of society. My hope is that the people in the Street Art and those that see it will learn to see the valuable influence women have on our culture and how important it is that we use that influence to make our communities a better place. I may not be considered one of the master’s of the Street Art community, but, I have guts to create and share hope with others and I think that alone makes me happier than being noted in a history book or college lecture hall. So "How do you create creativity?" You have to start with: Hope.
So! Here's the fun part I have some questions for ya....
What do you have hope for? What do you care about?
(For examples: Africa, animals, eating disorders, the environment, fashion, human trafficking….)
In what ways would you like to CREATE so people hear about what you care about?
What do you hope people get from seeing what you create?
(For example: They will purchase free trade coffee, they will donate money to protecting animals, they won’t use plastic bag, they will learn how to help someone who is suicidal)
Chit chat, talk and be Beautiful!