I’m happy to share another Staying Creative feature with you this morning. I’ve known Marissa for a few years now (I was blessed to meet her through some creative work). I love her heart for creativity and making a difference in the world. That heart shines through all of the art that she creates. I know you’ll be as inspired by her as I am.
And now, I shall pass over the cursor to Marissa, and let her chat with you all about her creative process and what’s been inspiring her lately. :)
Life has been an intentional process for me for 3 years now. Before that I was a full-time Design Manager for a crafty publishing company. I worked on the coolest books ever. I wasn’t the best manager, and the time came for me to leave those days behind and spread my creative wings. It’s been a series of incredible highs and extreme lows since then, and when people say “You’ll find yourself’ in the in-between,” they weren’t kidding. I’ve had 16 cents to feed my 3 children one night, but then took a trip of a lifetime to document the wedding of a best friend in the amazing country of Costa Rica (her first international trip and destination wedding!) (I’m not kidding when I say that since the moment of leaving the day job, I’ve had highs and lows!)
But the in-between is where I’ve found myself. The in-between is where I’ve become a better artist, a better wife, and a better mother. I wouldn’t have believed it three years ago had you told me I’d go through all that I have, but I’m here today to tell you that the process is real and the process is promising, and I still don’t know where it ends, but I’m along for the journey.
My current inspirations:
#1 My surroundings
I’ve confidently become one of ‘those’ people who look at everything around them and take it all in where I am at at any given moment. When I’m on a shoot with my Canon (typically photographing an adorable family or someone who needs some amazing headshots) — I’ve noticeably been taking those breaks while doing that to look to the sky that’s setting before me and snap a few, or take note of the bare tree blowing in front of my sightline or to look at the row of historic buildings that line up in perfect visual perspective just around the corner that I’m shooting at. When you forcibly stop and remind yourself to notice these things — trust me — you’ll see colors of the rainbow you’ve never even thought possible or appreciate the texture of a building you’ve driven by a million times before. If I don’t have my fancy camera with me, my iPhone does the same amazing thing. It paints a picture of the world before me.
#2 The written word
I was first a lover of the written word long before I became a designer and then a photographer. I strongly believe that’s how I came to be a designer with a love for photography, too. I loved that a career in graphic design taught me that the visual and the written word have space together, working in tandem to visually communicate what your brain wants to see AND feel. I read blogs that encourage the inner writer I long to find again; I read books like this goodie I must have picked up at an antique store or rummage sale long ago, Painting as a Pastime by none other than Winston Churchill. It is a short essay from Churchill in that he talks about finding art (his in particular, painting) to rid your mind of the other things weighing you down. He quotes an unnamed American psychologist in the book that says, “ ‘Worry is a spasm of the emotion; the mind catches hold of something and will not let it go.’ It is useless to argue with the mind in this condition. The stronger the will, the more futile the task. One can only gently insinuate something else into its convulsive grasp. And if this something else is righty chosen, if it is really attended by the illumination of another field of interest, gradually, and often quite swiftly, the old undue grip relaxes and the process of recuperation and repair begins.” I read these words recently and knew that my process these last few years was certainly a time of recuperation and repair, and that every small creative step I make is a leap towards bigger things that I can’t even put in perspective just yet. That’s what’s so exciting about leading a creative journey!
Churchill goes on to say in the essay that to be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies, and they must all be real. My cameras, my computer, and my right-sided-all-the-time creative brain (that loves to write but is buried in fear about it) all make up my hobby list and always have since I can remember.
I think I’m following Churchill’s advice quite perfectly, don’t you?
#3 Work that inspires me to inspire others
In 2012, I applied for a photo editor position for a website I had come across called The High Calling. Its purpose is simple — to communicate to the business person that their values, faith, and religion have a spot in the workplace just as their drive and determination do — in fact it should be their faith that calls them to be the best businessperson they can be. I instantly resonated with the message of the website, and one week later saw the position posted for photo editor. It was divine timing, for sure. I’m sad to say that I didn’t get the nod to be photo editor, but even better, they asked me to be a contract designer for them and read their articles, find some photos, and put the two together and submit it for them to share with their own readers. Even more than the photo editor position, this was a calling and a job that came at a perfect time. I love their articles, and in turn, I can create art that reinforces their message. It was truly a win-win for me, and each week, as I comb through the content and my brainlog of what image might work with what words—I am thankful, so very thankful—for an incredible opportunity that I can call work. Work that inspires me to inspire others — there is nothing more perfect to me.
“We must not be too ambitious. We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paint-box.” I’m definitely along for the ride, are you? And although my paint-box is ever expanding, I continue to fill myself with the goodness of being inspired and staying creative.
Thanks for sharing your journey + inspirations with us, Marissa! :)
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Marissa is a designer, photographer, and writer. Surrounded by 3 amazingly creative children (she likes to think she has something to do with that!) and a husband who gets annoyed with the red dots on her iPhone (we balance each other perfectly!), she knows she’s been blessed beyond measure. Her website is mbadp.com, but mostly, you can find her spending loads of ample creative time on Instagram and Facebook.
How are you staying creative these days? I’d love to hear about your current inspirations. (You can use this hashtag to share them on Twitter: #BeInspiredStayCreative.)