#MakeItHappen

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Today - write a book, start a band, start a company, rebuild a motorcycle, bake a cake, pack a suitcase and board a train. Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.

Love each other.

Love yourselves.

And celebrate!

#MakeItHappen

kat_oct13_8237.jpg

Today - write a book, start a band, start a company, rebuild a motorcycle, bake a cake, pack a suitcase and board a train. Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.

Love each other.

Love yourselves.

And celebrate!

Breathing and Being

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These days I often feel like I'm living in a dream. The air is thick and heavy and I have a hard time keeping my thoughts together. They travel in waves, in circles. They travel on the wind. It’s not so much a lack of focus as a feeling of drifting through a galaxy of thoughts and ideas – everything connected but not yet solid. As much as I want to put down roots I feel like I'm being pulled in and out in the tides. Floating and untethered. And so I do things that help ground me: baking, dancing, petting a cat, reading. And I feel myself connected to the earth again. There are so many ways that we weigh and measure time. These days, I'm learning to be. To pause and measure life not by how much I'm doing, but by the quality of the moment. Allowing the smell of wood smoke and the vibrant red of a too-ripe tomato fill my world. Learning to prioritize, some days better than others, what's really important. Learning what truly adds value to my life and what just takes up time.

I've been thinking a lot about history, memory, patterns, and how we learn to acknowledge, name, and accept all of the pieces of our experiences. Of ourselves. And so today I send this wish to all of you.

May there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.

Breathing and Being

1_2_fayre_odalisque.jpg

These days I often feel like I'm living in a dream. The air is thick and heavy and I have a hard time keeping my thoughts together. They travel in waves, in circles. They travel on the wind. It’s not so much a lack of focus as a feeling of drifting through a galaxy of thoughts and ideas – everything connected but not yet solid. As much as I want to put down roots I feel like I'm being pulled in and out in the tides. Floating and untethered. And so I do things that help ground me: baking, dancing, petting a cat, reading. And I feel myself connected to the earth again. There are so many ways that we weigh and measure time. These days, I'm learning to be. To pause and measure life not by how much I'm doing, but by the quality of the moment. Allowing the smell of wood smoke and the vibrant red of a too-ripe tomato fill my world. Learning to prioritize, some days better than others, what's really important. Learning what truly adds value to my life and what just takes up time.

I've been thinking a lot about history, memory, patterns, and how we learn to acknowledge, name, and accept all of the pieces of our experiences. Of ourselves. And so today I send this wish to all of you.

May there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.

Bringing our whole selves to what we create...

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It’s true that I overthink everything. Including this post, which is why I blog infrequently, at least when there are words involved. I have a somewhat simpler time communicating with images, though only marginally. Recently I’ve had so many conversations about what I create and why - friends, other artists, strangers at theater performances...The “why” really is key for me, and it’s a big part of what I ask students to define in their thesis work. And yet, perhaps I sometimes overthink even that. (If I'm honest, there’s no perhaps about it.) I can often become immobilized by my need to create work with a deep and lasting purpose – work that will change the world and connect with people emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. It’s a tall order.

When it comes right down to it, why do I pick up the camera at a given moment? Because I have to do it. I want to remember. I am curious by nature and I use photography as a way of capturing experiences and sharing them with others. I also use photography as an integral part of my explorations and process. Through the images I create, I begin to see myself more clearly, to understand my experiences, to communicate my feelings.

Looking at a series of images, I see the journey. Sometimes images that began with one story develop into something new – in hindsight.

Often, the act of pausing and opening myself up in order to create allows me to pause and to fully be present in my experience. Like many of us, I learned to numb my emotions from an early age and present a pretty picture (pardon the pun). I was “nice,” and so “happy,” and “mature for my age.” The compliments that I collected as a child turned into a cage woven from good intentions. After three decades I am only now beginning to fully embrace the vast array of feelings and reactions I have every day. The anger. Fear. Grief. Uncertainty. And I am finding that the emotions I was so terrified would eat me alive or turn me into a brittle shell are, in fact, opening the doors to joy, gratitude, exuberance, and imagination.

Beauty and darkness exist in everything – the two sides of the human experience. Attempting to ignore one inherently diminishes the other. This is a lesson I captured in images for years without really seeing it.

Every fleeting moment is a discovery and a loss. A way to remember and a temptation to live in the past. A search and a recognition. Each image shows where I have been - how I became the person I am - at the same time that it allows me to move forward and decide where I am going.

Bringing our whole selves to what we create...

pozos_july14_5993-e1408232248667.jpg

It’s true that I overthink everything. Including this post, which is why I blog infrequently, at least when there are words involved. I have a somewhat simpler time communicating with images, though only marginally. Recently I’ve had so many conversations about what I create and why - friends, other artists, strangers at theater performances...The “why” really is key for me, and it’s a big part of what I ask students to define in their thesis work. And yet, perhaps I sometimes overthink even that. (If I'm honest, there’s no perhaps about it.) I can often become immobilized by my need to create work with a deep and lasting purpose – work that will change the world and connect with people emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. It’s a tall order.

When it comes right down to it, why do I pick up the camera at a given moment? Because I have to do it. I want to remember. I am curious by nature and I use photography as a way of capturing experiences and sharing them with others. I also use photography as an integral part of my explorations and process. Through the images I create, I begin to see myself more clearly, to understand my experiences, to communicate my feelings.

Looking at a series of images, I see the journey. Sometimes images that began with one story develop into something new – in hindsight.

Often, the act of pausing and opening myself up in order to create allows me to pause and to fully be present in my experience. Like many of us, I learned to numb my emotions from an early age and present a pretty picture (pardon the pun). I was “nice,” and so “happy,” and “mature for my age.” The compliments that I collected as a child turned into a cage woven from good intentions. After three decades I am only now beginning to fully embrace the vast array of feelings and reactions I have every day. The anger. Fear. Grief. Uncertainty. And I am finding that the emotions I was so terrified would eat me alive or turn me into a brittle shell are, in fact, opening the doors to joy, gratitude, exuberance, and imagination.

Beauty and darkness exist in everything – the two sides of the human experience. Attempting to ignore one inherently diminishes the other. This is a lesson I captured in images for years without really seeing it.

Every fleeting moment is a discovery and a loss. A way to remember and a temptation to live in the past. A search and a recognition. Each image shows where I have been - how I became the person I am - at the same time that it allows me to move forward and decide where I am going.

Unravelling

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I began to wind up a piece of thread, loosely, thinking I was simply doing a bit of housekeeping. Too late I realized that the thread was still attached and that each new twist and turn unwound a layer behind me, revealing and releasing what was held within.

Unravelling

applecreek_may14_4500_sm.jpg

I began to wind up a piece of thread, loosely, thinking I was simply doing a bit of housekeeping. Too late I realized that the thread was still attached and that each new twist and turn unwound a layer behind me, revealing and releasing what was held within.

Finding Your Inner Story.

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This year is a time of personal expansion. I am saying "yes!" to new opportunities and collaborations, and I am so excited to share the journey with you! When the world feels like it is spinning too quickly, when the energy of New York builds higher and higher, when I feel like questioning every thing I make and what it all means, I return the deep places inside myself, so full of both darkness and light. Yoga and meditation prepare for insight, even revelation. Photography and writing give me the tools to record that process.

When Liza Keogh asked me to work with her to develop a retreat that incorporates all of these experiences, I felt like I won the lottery.

Retreats invite us to shed our daily habits and enter spaces that can feel very different from what we are used to experiencing on any given day. In this new space we are open to personal and professional change, enhanced creativity, awakened awareness, even deep transformation. The retreats Liza and I are developing encourage the integration of creative and mindful practices to uncover, discover and reveal your inner story, under the artful guidance of two long-time teachers.

Upcoming retreats include: Finding the Inner Story Photography, Yoga, and Meditation Retreat with Marico Fayre & Liza Keogh. August 7-10, 2014 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico - and - October 17-19, 2014 at Nine Mountain Retreat Center in Plainfield, MA.

More information & additional retreats and workshops are coming soon!

Finding Your Inner Story.

img_7265.jpg

This year is a time of personal expansion. I am saying "yes!" to new opportunities and collaborations, and I am so excited to share the journey with you! When the world feels like it is spinning too quickly, when the energy of New York builds higher and higher, when I feel like questioning every thing I make and what it all means, I return the deep places inside myself, so full of both darkness and light. Yoga and meditation prepare for insight, even revelation. Photography and writing give me the tools to record that process.

When Liza Keogh asked me to work with her to develop a retreat that incorporates all of these experiences, I felt like I won the lottery.

Retreats invite us to shed our daily habits and enter spaces that can feel very different from what we are used to experiencing on any given day. In this new space we are open to personal and professional change, enhanced creativity, awakened awareness, even deep transformation. The retreats Liza and I are developing encourage the integration of creative and mindful practices to uncover, discover and reveal your inner story, under the artful guidance of two long-time teachers.

Upcoming retreats include: Finding the Inner Story Photography, Yoga, and Meditation Retreat with Marico Fayre & Liza Keogh. August 7-10, 2014 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico - and - October 17-19, 2014 at Nine Mountain Retreat Center in Plainfield, MA.

More information & additional retreats and workshops are coming soon!

Dreaming a Year into Being

2013.jpg
I thought that I would sit down this week and write a recap of the last year - the changes and challenges and travels and projects. Life happened and now we are hours from a New Year. As I sit here, thinking of words, I realize that I feel overwhelmingly grateful and full. This year, for the first time in a long time, I know that I truly lived each day to the furthest reaches of possibility. I am fully myself, and continue to be - to just be - every new day. This year continued to show me the power of connection and community and the importance of personal strength. This year I have learned how to really belong to and in the world. And so, at the beginning of this New Year, I send these wishes to you, my community, and I hold these thoughts within myself as I cross another threshold.>

Be bold. Live fiercely and unapologetically. Build what inspires and sustains you. Be full and passionate and completely present. Dream without editing and create without fear.

I am so excited to see what we can do with each new day.

Dreaming a Year into Being

2013.jpg
I thought that I would sit down this week and write a recap of the last year - the changes and challenges and travels and projects. Life happened and now we are hours from a New Year. As I sit here, thinking of words, I realize that I feel overwhelmingly grateful and full. This year, for the first time in a long time, I know that I truly lived each day to the furthest reaches of possibility. I am fully myself, and continue to be - to just be - every new day. This year continued to show me the power of connection and community and the importance of personal strength. This year I have learned how to really belong to and in the world. And so, at the beginning of this New Year, I send these wishes to you, my community, and I hold these thoughts within myself as I cross another threshold.>

Be bold. Live fiercely and unapologetically. Build what inspires and sustains you. Be full and passionate and completely present. Dream without editing and create without fear.

I am so excited to see what we can do with each new day.

New Project!

teazled_july004.jpg

Hello, blog-land. It's been far, far too long since we've chatted (as I realized when I saw the date of my last post) and I am sorry I was neglectful this summer. I promise many mornings of shared coffee and reflection this autumn. In the meantime, a brief update and a call for your help. You see... I am working on a new project! Yes! It's a collaboration with an LGBTQ greeting card company - and I want you to be involved. (Yes, YOU!) Here's how it started.

I grew up writing frequent letters (on real paper) and spent hours picking out just the right card in the stationary store whenever someone I cared about had a major event. I grew accustomed to looking for cards that assumed my gender was male based on who I was giving the card to, until the routine went something like this: Quick scan - does the card say "man" anywhere? No. Okay, read the words and see if it is something that sounds both meaningful and relevant for my partner/friends/family. Then, double check - is it pink and does it have butterflies anywhere? No. Purchase said card (and wish it were just slightly different). For years I commemorated events with cards that were almost right, but just not quite there.

Then, a few months ago, I learned about Teazled and their LGBTQ "traditional greeting cards for the non-traditional family." After meeting with Dina and Dom, I knew I wanted to work with the duo to create specific imagery for this unique line of cards that reflects my life and my friends' experiences, memories, and hopes. Teazled has a good base of cards, but they used stock photography to get off the ground and I know we can do better. After meeting with the team last week and discussing the vision of the company, I am turning to my community to help me create images that are authentic and relevant, with real people (not generic models). I would love to have your help raising the bar for our community and what we expect on the cards we give each other.

Teazled is bringing more awareness to the community and the tangible, everyday moments in our lives by working with big brands like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Albertsons, and others to offer cards in mainstream locations, as well as offering a wide variety of designs online (many more to come soon, with your help).

Over the coming months, I am scheduling shoots every week throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan (and beyond, when required), so let me know your location and availability if you are willing to sit for me. Bring your partner, your lover, your friends and let's have some fun! The company is still growing, and unfortunately I cannot offer monetary compensation at this point, but you will receive digital files from the shoot and, if Dina and Dom select your image, you will be on the cover for a new line of cards - how awesome is that?

Please email me if you have any questions and if you want to schedule a time to shoot. Feel free to forward this link to anyone you think may want to participate as well. Have a look at my site if you want to see some of my other projects and the style of my work: mfayrephotography.com. You can also check out Teazled at teazled.com and read more about their approach and story (and order cards!).

Thank you for reading! I hope to see you (on a card) soon!

Warmest Regards, Marico

New Project!

teazled_july004.jpg

Hello, blog-land. It's been far, far too long since we've chatted (as I realized when I saw the date of my last post) and I am sorry I was neglectful this summer. I promise many mornings of shared coffee and reflection this autumn. In the meantime, a brief update and a call for your help. You see... I am working on a new project! Yes! It's a collaboration with an LGBTQ greeting card company - and I want you to be involved. (Yes, YOU!) Here's how it started.

I grew up writing frequent letters (on real paper) and spent hours picking out just the right card in the stationary store whenever someone I cared about had a major event. I grew accustomed to looking for cards that assumed my gender was male based on who I was giving the card to, until the routine went something like this: Quick scan - does the card say "man" anywhere? No. Okay, read the words and see if it is something that sounds both meaningful and relevant for my partner/friends/family. Then, double check - is it pink and does it have butterflies anywhere? No. Purchase said card (and wish it were just slightly different). For years I commemorated events with cards that were almost right, but just not quite there.

Then, a few months ago, I learned about Teazled and their LGBTQ "traditional greeting cards for the non-traditional family." After meeting with Dina and Dom, I knew I wanted to work with the duo to create specific imagery for this unique line of cards that reflects my life and my friends' experiences, memories, and hopes. Teazled has a good base of cards, but they used stock photography to get off the ground and I know we can do better. After meeting with the team last week and discussing the vision of the company, I am turning to my community to help me create images that are authentic and relevant, with real people (not generic models). I would love to have your help raising the bar for our community and what we expect on the cards we give each other.

Teazled is bringing more awareness to the community and the tangible, everyday moments in our lives by working with big brands like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Albertsons, and others to offer cards in mainstream locations, as well as offering a wide variety of designs online (many more to come soon, with your help).

Over the coming months, I am scheduling shoots every week throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan (and beyond, when required), so let me know your location and availability if you are willing to sit for me. Bring your partner, your lover, your friends and let's have some fun! The company is still growing, and unfortunately I cannot offer monetary compensation at this point, but you will receive digital files from the shoot and, if Dina and Dom select your image, you will be on the cover for a new line of cards - how awesome is that?

Please email me if you have any questions and if you want to schedule a time to shoot. Feel free to forward this link to anyone you think may want to participate as well. Have a look at my site if you want to see some of my other projects and the style of my work: mfayrephotography.com. You can also check out Teazled at teazled.com and read more about their approach and story (and order cards!).

Thank you for reading! I hope to see you (on a card) soon!

Warmest Regards, Marico

Reflections from the Train

wings.jpg

Recently I have been reflecting on the fact that I haven’t written a blog post in a month. Perhaps trains are not the best setting for blog writing, as I am finding that I tend toward the romantic in my ponderings. Still, as there is never enough time and for this moment I sit – not alone, but solitary – in a world of movement, hip hop, and silent words. Best to take this unexpected gift of time, along with the slightly romanticized worldview it inspires. So, here we are. On a journey. Scouting locations, visiting new places, making connections, building community. I realized recently that though I often say I never have “enough time” - for blogging, for photographing, for answering emails, for calling friends - yet I am always filling time with inspiration, visual memories and records, the often wonderful and occasionally awkward connections between people. I may not have a camera in hand as often as I would like (at least one that is not of the phone variety), but I am always creating, planning, seeing, building.

A friend recently told me that the universe smiles on me. Indeed, I am incredibly grateful for the life that I have, the art I am able to create, the opportunities that allow me to live what I love. I also work my ass off from the moment I open my eyes until I fall into dreams. When asked, as I often am, how I am able to live here, to do this, to travel there, to make that, I say that I jumped. I fell. On the way down, I built a set of patchwork wings made from the remnants of a life that no longer fit. Relentless and exhausted and exhilarated, with the desire to live fully and authentically, I flew. Always I knew I wanted to do more than survive the fall. I needed to thrive and to do more with the life that I have than simply create or record. I am perpetually looking for more – looking for what matters – finding ways to grow, inspire, challenge, change. Constantly discovering.

Reflections from the Train

wings.jpg

Recently I have been reflecting on the fact that I haven’t written a blog post in a month. Perhaps trains are not the best setting for blog writing, as I am finding that I tend toward the romantic in my ponderings. Still, as there is never enough time and for this moment I sit – not alone, but solitary – in a world of movement, hip hop, and silent words. Best to take this unexpected gift of time, along with the slightly romanticized worldview it inspires. So, here we are. On a journey. Scouting locations, visiting new places, making connections, building community. I realized recently that though I often say I never have “enough time” - for blogging, for photographing, for answering emails, for calling friends - yet I am always filling time with inspiration, visual memories and records, the often wonderful and occasionally awkward connections between people. I may not have a camera in hand as often as I would like (at least one that is not of the phone variety), but I am always creating, planning, seeing, building.

A friend recently told me that the universe smiles on me. Indeed, I am incredibly grateful for the life that I have, the art I am able to create, the opportunities that allow me to live what I love. I also work my ass off from the moment I open my eyes until I fall into dreams. When asked, as I often am, how I am able to live here, to do this, to travel there, to make that, I say that I jumped. I fell. On the way down, I built a set of patchwork wings made from the remnants of a life that no longer fit. Relentless and exhausted and exhilarated, with the desire to live fully and authentically, I flew. Always I knew I wanted to do more than survive the fall. I needed to thrive and to do more with the life that I have than simply create or record. I am perpetually looking for more – looking for what matters – finding ways to grow, inspire, challenge, change. Constantly discovering.

Gentle and Brave

evoke_067.jpg

Art is not a thing, it’s a way. I remember reading Julia Cameron’s words many years ago and realizing for the first time that here was a woman who felt what I felt about art - that every act of creation was part of something more than the individual work of art; I was creating my life every time I raised the camera, took out the sketchbook, stepped into the darkroom. What an incredible responsibility we have, creating not a stagnant thing but a life and doing it again and again each day.

For a fairly brief time in my twenties, I came perilously close to seeing art as a hobby. With a BFA in photography and a career in marketing, I thought I knew which path was more sustainable. However, once I didn’t have school assignments and a built-in artistic community as part of my daily life, I realized that I have an innate need to create and to be part of a bigger world. I started looking online and finding other artists who were looking for a similar connection. Across continents, time zones, age, and subject matter, we nurtured and challenged each other and I realized how important community is. By the time I graduated with a second degree in photography, I knew creating and living my art was no choice at all. It was my life - just that simple and just that profound. This life, however, is about more than being shut away in a studio, creating works simply because the need is too great to ignore, it is also about the community and the impact beyond myself.

In a nutshell, leaving out the juicy details, that is my journey, but I am getting ahead of myself. The path looks different for everyone and it is truly a choose your own adventure type of journey where the ending isn’t fixed.

First, it takes intention. Think about what draws you to the work that you do. What really motivates you to pick up the camera, the pen, the brush, and create? What keeps you coming back to your work and inspires you to spend even a few minutes making art when you could be cooking, running errands, even sleeping? Are you drawn to the theory behind the work? The new gadgets and how they influence what is possible within the medium? Are you driven by the need to tell a story? Do you want, first and foremost, to create an object of beauty? There is not a right answer, but the answer is personally important because there will be times when you question whether this is worthwhile, whether you are good enough, whether you will achieve those distant goals. Knowing why you create in the first place reminds you to keep returning to the beginning and making. You won’t be able to let the dust build up on those ideas once you really define why you are doing what you are doing and how important it is that you keep going.

Once you define your intention, allow yourself to let go of the fear of whether you are making the right decision and have confidence in the work you do, the life you live. There is nothing as powerful as believing in yourself. You have to believe that this is worth doing, whatever the outcome, and you have to believe you will achieve what you need to achieve. If you have the confidence, there is very little that can stand in your way.

Sometimes this is more difficult to accomplish, and we all go through rocky patches when we doubt ourselves, our work, the reasons we create, so plan ahead. Give yourself the gift of 1 hour a week, 20 minutes a day, Saturday afternoon, an extra hour in the morning, whatever amount of time you can realistically dedicate on a consistent basis. Find another person or a group to share this creative life with so you have a support system and someone who will hold you accountable. Working with other people encourages you to become more familiar talking about your work and sharing it with others, and it also gets your art out of your studio, computer, garage and into the world. This could eventually translate into selling a print, being hired for a job, or inspiring someone else to explore their creative tendencies.

Living the life you want to live requires you to be both gentle and brave. Brave enough to put pen to paper, to open the shutter, to combine colors on canvas. Brave enough to tell yourself you are an artist - to tell others you are an artist. Brave enough and gentle enough to not justify or apologize for the definition. Gentle enough to not judge the creations and try to talk yourself out of this life. Brave enough not to be defined by the rejections - or the successes. And brave enough to accept the responsibilities and challenges of a life of creation.

Ultimately you must know that this is life, your life, and each decision you make creates the way you live in the world. There is nothing more powerful. Choose well how you use this power. Dedicate yourself every day.

And since this process really is a community effort, come here and join the conversation in a more direct way. I am beginning a new section with posts every Wednesday showcase your work and open up a dialogue. This will be a space for art that reveals something about you and your world. So much of what I love about this medium is the connection and communication between artist, subject, and audience and I want to bring you into this conversation in a more direct way.

To begin, send a portrait of someone you know well. Email your images to me at m@whatwillyoureveal.com. Every Wednesday I will post the images on the blog with some initial thoughts on the subject and open it up for discussion.

I look forward to seeing what you create.

Gentle and Brave

evoke_067.jpg

Art is not a thing, it’s a way. I remember reading Julia Cameron’s words many years ago and realizing for the first time that here was a woman who felt what I felt about art - that every act of creation was part of something more than the individual work of art; I was creating my life every time I raised the camera, took out the sketchbook, stepped into the darkroom. What an incredible responsibility we have, creating not a stagnant thing but a life and doing it again and again each day.

For a fairly brief time in my twenties, I came perilously close to seeing art as a hobby. With a BFA in photography and a career in marketing, I thought I knew which path was more sustainable. However, once I didn’t have school assignments and a built-in artistic community as part of my daily life, I realized that I have an innate need to create and to be part of a bigger world. I started looking online and finding other artists who were looking for a similar connection. Across continents, time zones, age, and subject matter, we nurtured and challenged each other and I realized how important community is. By the time I graduated with a second degree in photography, I knew creating and living my art was no choice at all. It was my life - just that simple and just that profound. This life, however, is about more than being shut away in a studio, creating works simply because the need is too great to ignore, it is also about the community and the impact beyond myself.

In a nutshell, leaving out the juicy details, that is my journey, but I am getting ahead of myself. The path looks different for everyone and it is truly a choose your own adventure type of journey where the ending isn’t fixed.

First, it takes intention. Think about what draws you to the work that you do. What really motivates you to pick up the camera, the pen, the brush, and create? What keeps you coming back to your work and inspires you to spend even a few minutes making art when you could be cooking, running errands, even sleeping? Are you drawn to the theory behind the work? The new gadgets and how they influence what is possible within the medium? Are you driven by the need to tell a story? Do you want, first and foremost, to create an object of beauty? There is not a right answer, but the answer is personally important because there will be times when you question whether this is worthwhile, whether you are good enough, whether you will achieve those distant goals. Knowing why you create in the first place reminds you to keep returning to the beginning and making. You won’t be able to let the dust build up on those ideas once you really define why you are doing what you are doing and how important it is that you keep going.

Once you define your intention, allow yourself to let go of the fear of whether you are making the right decision and have confidence in the work you do, the life you live. There is nothing as powerful as believing in yourself. You have to believe that this is worth doing, whatever the outcome, and you have to believe you will achieve what you need to achieve. If you have the confidence, there is very little that can stand in your way.

Sometimes this is more difficult to accomplish, and we all go through rocky patches when we doubt ourselves, our work, the reasons we create, so plan ahead. Give yourself the gift of 1 hour a week, 20 minutes a day, Saturday afternoon, an extra hour in the morning, whatever amount of time you can realistically dedicate on a consistent basis. Find another person or a group to share this creative life with so you have a support system and someone who will hold you accountable. Working with other people encourages you to become more familiar talking about your work and sharing it with others, and it also gets your art out of your studio, computer, garage and into the world. This could eventually translate into selling a print, being hired for a job, or inspiring someone else to explore their creative tendencies.

Living the life you want to live requires you to be both gentle and brave. Brave enough to put pen to paper, to open the shutter, to combine colors on canvas. Brave enough to tell yourself you are an artist - to tell others you are an artist. Brave enough and gentle enough to not justify or apologize for the definition. Gentle enough to not judge the creations and try to talk yourself out of this life. Brave enough not to be defined by the rejections - or the successes. And brave enough to accept the responsibilities and challenges of a life of creation.

Ultimately you must know that this is life, your life, and each decision you make creates the way you live in the world. There is nothing more powerful. Choose well how you use this power. Dedicate yourself every day.

And since this process really is a community effort, come here and join the conversation in a more direct way. I am beginning a new section with posts every Wednesday showcase your work and open up a dialogue. This will be a space for art that reveals something about you and your world. So much of what I love about this medium is the connection and communication between artist, subject, and audience and I want to bring you into this conversation in a more direct way.

To begin, send a portrait of someone you know well. Email your images to me at m@whatwillyoureveal.com. Every Wednesday I will post the images on the blog with some initial thoughts on the subject and open it up for discussion.

I look forward to seeing what you create.

From Personal Identity to Professional Plan

Letting go. Holding on. Remembering. Dreaming.

There are so many phases to figuring out anything important  - art, love, identity, business plans, life goals - yet so many of these questions come down to defining who you are and what you want to do in the world. A definition that evolves throughout one’s life and experiences, certainly, but a question that is important to answer now. Today. And to continually remember.

Then comes the challenge of putting your work, your art, your life out into the world.

I talk to many creative people who want to do more, to incorporate their chosen medium into their daily lives in a way that is sustainable long-term. Making this happen requires passion, tenacity, community, and balance, and it looks different for everyone, but I truly believe that it is achievable.

We can talk about timelines, marketing plans, business strategy, the evolving world of social media, the power of referrals, and all of these tools are important and also teachable. But before you build the website, design the business cards, or meet with the clients, slow down for a moment and really define who you are and what you are doing. Your identity. Ultimately, your brand.

The term “personal brand” began popping up a few years ago, but many people still think of a brand in terms of a corporation, something that they might be working toward in the amorphous future, but separate from daily life. For creative professionals and entrepreneurs this personality, this identity, already exists and it is built every day with each interaction. So, you might as well take responsibility for it now. Your brand is your promise, your business, and your reputation. Many pieces go into creating and communicating a clear understanding of who you are and what you do. It is more than just a logo, color scheme, or tagline. It is more than your product or your art. You don’t leave it at the office at the end of the day. Your brand is the story of you.

When you talk to clients, when you network, when you send an email or post a tweet, your personality is on display and it is linked to both your business and personal endeavors. Before you hit send, before you post that shot of your dinner on Instagram, before you walk into the next networking event, ask yourself: How do you define yourself? What is important about you? What do you want people to remember about you? What is your niche? In other words - what makes you different from the 76 other people who live in your town and do what you do?

This is an opportunity and a challenge and it will build the foundation of your business, your brand, your decisions. Once you answer these questions you can then decide how you are going to communicate your message to the right people so they understand how incredible you are and why they want to work with you.

When you need a break from this personal soul-searching, try Googling yourself. What comes up? This is what many other people are seeing - make sure there aren’t any surprises and that your online identity lines up with your intended message.

Once you know who you are and what you do it is time to think about incorporating your personal brand into your marketing and business presentation - those tools we were talking about earlier in this post. The equation is different for everyone, but think about everything your potential contact or client will see, including your business card, letterhead, website, Facebook page, Twitter account, email address, even your personal appearance. It might seem shallow, but we all remember first impressions - make sure your clothing and speech are situation appropriate.

As you are thinking about the tools you need to communicate your message - the ways you can get people excited about your work - don’t get overwhelmed by trying to do everything. Instead, choose a few key venues and do them well, then add pieces as necessary. Do you enjoy writing? Try a personal blog and Facebook. Are you constantly glued to your smartphone? Try having your Twitter feed post to your website. Before committing to any of these, however, make sure that you really are committed. Starting a blog and posting once every few months is worse than never having one at all (part of why we are now having these Sunday morning conversations, because sometimes I have to remind myself to take my own advice). Facebook and Twitter are time-stamped so people can see whether you are posting on a regular basis, or only logging in when you have an announcement to make or an event to promote.

When creating a website or blog, think about the domain name and how it links into your personal brand as well as your business. If there are a lot of people who know you, but few know about your business, maybe a domain name that is based on your name in the best route. You want to be professional and you want people to know something about where they are going when they click that link. Same with email, sarah.smith@gmail.com tells consumers absolutely nothing about your business, and it looks like you aren’t committed enough to setup a business email. Sarah.smith@teaandcookies.com makes me curious, tells me your name, that you likely run a tea shop, which I now want to see, and makes my mouth water thinking about cookies. Sarah@wordsmithnyc.com give me your location and vocation, and, personally, I say bonus points when I figure out that you have incorporated your name in the web address.

Then there is the style and aesthetic of your presentation, how you visually communicate your identity, but as this post is getting rather long, I think we will save that conversation for another day...

Remember, no matter what tools you choose, there is still no replacement for a handshake, eye contact, a smile, and personal conversation. Your brand is your promise and if people have a personal connection with you, they will be much more likely to work with you professionally.

Make sure you first know yourself and that you can communicate what you do. Believe in it. If I can tell you are committed to and passionate about your life and work, chances are pretty good I will be, too.

Let go of past definitions. Hold onto the pieces that you know in your core are an integral part of who you are as a person. Remember that everything you do, each action and word, makes up who you are. Dream as big as you can imagine so that you always have more to try and work toward.