Object Dar't

September 15, 2010

Creativity Interview with Artist, Shazelle Santana

This week, I interviewed artist Shazelle Santana, a Canadian artist who specializes in contemporary work through various media. Shazelle has an online presence at http://www.shazelleinlondon.com and can be found on Artspan.com and MySoiree.net. Here is her take on the Creativity Interview and I think you'll find it VERY inspiring!

OBJECT DAR'T: for anyone not familiar with you and your work, can you give us a brief description of who you are and what you do?
SHAZELLE SANTANA:  I live in London, Ontario, Canada. I'm a Mom to a beautiful 13yr old daughter...and a bunch of pets too. I work in more the contemporary work, and I enjoy working in a variety of mediums. This summer has been mostly photography though. In the past my work has been slow coming because I have been working as well as taking care of other responsibilities...like most of us :) I have a few other things I am working on as well, which I hope I will also be able to share here in time.

OD: how do you define someone who is "creative"?
SS: I define "creativity" as something that comes to one's mind and realization.

Bath by Shazelle Santana

OD: do you consider yourself "creative"?
SS: Yes. I was a very creative teenager, and was expressing my creativity all the time through pictures (drawings and photos), fashion, furniture, poetry, and writing. I excelled at art classes. I had many offers from people to purchase what I did at home, but I didn't see the value in what I was doing then. I seemed to be surrounded by people who were big critics and that put an end to my creativity for a while, that along with a few other things which dropped my confidence and value level substantially. It wasn't until I was trying to raise my daughter on my own that I started up again.

OD: how do you experience inspiration? Have you found any rhyme or reason to it? 
SS: There is absolutely no rhyme nor reason to my inspiration. It's actually something that everyone laughs at now. It comes to me in songs, sounds, smells, something someone says, thoughts, dreams, looks, movement, nature, at the hairdressers, or changing a lightbulb, literally anything at any time, and in some of the oddest, funniest ways. Unfortunately, I also don't get much sleep sometimes. How do I handle it? I often get a big laugh out of it too, or I startle someone around me because I suddenly get excited at the idea!

OD: Since several disorders (like ADD) are now linked to creativity, have you ever been diagnosed OR suspected that you have a disorder?
SS: I don't suffer from ADD disorder. For me it was post traumatic stress disorder which challenged my life significantly and created some additional problems. Therefore I do want to send some real encouragement on that thought. I think the results can be similar. I've lost way too much time being virtually "frozen". I initially started doing this work again because I was having a difficult time with my life, and found myself a long way from where I had hoped and wished to be. I felt I didn't have anything to offer the world, and didn't see much hope for the future. Now, the more difficulties I face today, the more creative I become, idea's come to me that I put into action, and my hope just builds bigger and bigger. I'm still not where I would like to be, but I hold on to that hope that I can do something in this world well. I think it's because I thought I must be able to do "something". So I tried, I put in an action, I don't like being trapped, so I had control over doing something. I won't give up. I love doing what I am trying to do. I'm enjoying this journey.

OD: please describe your creative process and some of the challenges you experience. 
SS: I think my creative process keeps growing because I am focused on it now more than ever. Maybe because I realize it belongs to me, it is who I am and it is ok to be me. I had to loose my old negative thought process which kept me from trying at all, for fear of being rejected in everything I tried. My biggest challenges are finances, and time. 

OD: do you ever feel obsessed about projects you are working on and if so, how do you handle the emotional aspects of it? 
SS: Yes, I become terribly obsessed with what I'm doing that's important to me. I can work through frustration and tears, without eating and sleeping. This isn't the best way, so I'm working on it, but I have always been a huge "perfectionist" with extreme expectations of myself.  It never fails that I get to a point where I hate my work and feel like I have failed myself. Its at that point that I now stop, and when I go back to the work, I find it's something simple I didn't see before, and end up being completely happy in the end, or allowing myself to accept near perfect (to me) sometimes...before it kills me. 

OD: do you ever run out of ideas or fear your creative well will run dry?
SS: No, I don't worry about running out of idea's anymore because I realize it is just a block and good idea's cannot come to me under pressure. I understand myself better now. When idea's do come to me, they flow like a flood and keep on going for days, weeks, and sometimes months. Within a relatively short period of time, I have now collected enough idea's to keep myself busy for a good for 5 years or so. I write many of them down now.

OD: how has your "creative" self evolved over time? What growth do you see? 
SS: The "standard" for my creative self is what has grown. My ambition just keeps getting bigger. I think this is because I wish I had followed through with this before, so I feel as if I am playing catch-up in a way. I feel it is more of a necessity for me now and I am very competitive with myself. I challenge myself and I am even more of a huge learner and studier than I used to be because I have a very clear direction now

OD: in closing, many of my readers are afraid of rejection & criticism and can't see themselves as talented or creative. What would you say to encourage them? 
SS: I would say to everyone to make sure you take the time to do what you like, or at least give it a try if you are thinking about it. Don't be afraid of failure or criticism. Failure means you gave it a try. That's better than not trying at all. Learn from criticism, and learn from someone that you admire that is good at what you are planning on doing! Even if you fail, if you love doing it, in the end that's either all that counts, or you've learned something in the direction of greater knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and you will excel at another component of it, or in something else. Just keep trying at something that will make you happy.