Clean Slate, New Views: How I Stay Inspired
Creative energy is messy energy, it’s unbridled. It’s unapologetic. It’s fast and fleeting. It can take you by surprise and hold you captivated for hours till everything around you fades away. Maybe you fall into disarray, plunged in to its depths. It can feel like falling in love and losing control. And when it’s over you must pick up the pieces of what is left. The detritus. Like a sculptor who has chipped away at the slab, and what is left is beautiful and the beautiful mess around you. You’ve unearthed a masterpiece.
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I wrote these words in my journal a year ago at a moment when I was feeling uninspired and needed to find a way back to creating. Now at the start of the new year, a year after launching Artfully Blog, I’m feeling inspired to create something even bigger than before. Yet, again a little unsure of where to begin. In which case, experts, tell us time and again: “just start.” That is what I finally did when I moved to L.A. to launch Artfully. But there’s more to it than simply just deciding to begin. 

Still, styling my first photo shoots in NYC and Los Angeles, after finally making the decision to act, there was a shift. I was under a deadline to move from NYC and living upstairs was an amazing fashion photographer, Laura Rose. I knew it was time to seize the moment and just begin to capture some of my history with the fashion capital that inspired me to be an artist before it was time to say goodbye. So I began taking steps to get organized and feel inspired. I reached out to Laura to schedule a shoot, hired an organizer to clean out my closet, made Pinterest boards for the look and feel of the photos I wanted to capture, and worked with a stylist on outfit ideas. 

To keep things simple, I used clothes I owned that captured my story. There was a Brooklyn tee paired with my dad’s army green fatigue jacket we shot atop my Brooklyn apartment building that told of my family history in Brooklyn. There was an Alice + Olivia blouse in an artfully striped print from a NYC designer we shot in front of a brick wall graffitied in chalk by kids, that embodied my need to share my art since I was a kid. And then a favorite outfit from Reformation I picked up on travels between NYC and L.A., paired with over-the-knee boots to show my bi-coastal street style for that iconic Brooklyn Bridge shot. On my second shoot in Los Angeles, I was able to replicate this process and stretch myself more. I shot in places that reflected my new home to tell a creative story.

 

SHOP THE LOOK: FUR BOMBER JACKET & DISTRESSED DENIM

 
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The process hasn't come easy. The definitive steps I took came after lots of reflection, chipping away at insecurities and a big nudge from the universe to get moving. In the past, full disclosure: my artistic pursuits fell just short of having the courage to perform them publicly, sometimes to a heart-breaking degree. Like writing poetry and teaching myself piano and composing songs alone in my bedroom as an angsty teenager. And only demonstrating my acting chops by making friends laugh with impressions and instead of auditioning for the school play. But little by little my art was recognized here and there by art teachers and writing professors and entered into school photo contests and literary magazines and my college newspaper. More and more I got the courage to perform, eventually as a music major, in community theater and in a handful of acting classes in New York City and most recently singing and dancing in emerging artist showcase in NYC.

Along the way I stopped and I started, abandoning my artistic journey, working a 9-to-5 content with a corporate career that in all honesty paid well for me to be creative but left little time for me and my health. It wasn’t until after I left my job and decided to move to L.A. to focus full time on creating that I realized a fashion blog could be an extension of my creativity to inspire others. Now I find I channel a lot of my creative impulses through blogging: the desire to perform and act and make art all happens during shoots, through styling the clothes, choosing themes and an editorial point of view and writing about the clothes and the process.

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So, if you were to ask me now “What do you do when you’re feeling uninspired?” I would tell you to read, to sing, to dance, to write, to travel, to dress up. So not only can you think about how to create but also take physical steps that serve as outside reminders to shake things up. Fashion has been there all along for me on my journey allowing me to express myself in loud and quiet ways. Clothes can hold meaning, a memory to transport you back in time or take you away on a daydream. They not only make you stand taller, but allow you to shift your energy and explore, whether that’s far off places or new personas. On Artfully, I hope my words, my clothes, fashion stories and tutorials inspire you to create, take chances and have some fun with fashion along the way.

     It can be intimidating to create something from nothing. And if you are creating something new for the first time sometimes you must start from square one. Or, if you want to start over, completely new, you must tear it all down and begin again. Art is construction and destruction. That is the beautiful thing once you start: you grow and expand with your art. So, you can build off something that came before or from someone else’s art that inspires you. As Austin Kleon says: “Steal Your Art.” Or, as Carrie Fisher said, “Take your broken heart and make it into art.”  I know that’s what I aim to do, again and again. Starting now.

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