Saturday, July 18, 2009
Spotlight Interview: Earl Storm/Part 2
Earl Storm, Creativity Coach, Certified Artist’s Way Facilitator, Cartoonist
Earl Storm is a cartoonist and creativity coach in the San Diego area, as well as a certified facilitator for The Artist’s Way workshops.
After a successful graphic arts career, Storm took up cartooning and ultimately created the internet syndicated comic strip, Quack City!, in which he uses a wacky duck as a whimsical vehicle for social and political commentary.
He’s been a passionate teacher of The Artist’s Way since 1995, offering classes and creativity workshops, as well as doing corporate training, and has, as you’ll soon see, some interesting and innovative insights about the creative world. With a New Age approach, he’s definitely a different voice in the wilderness.
To find out more on Mr. Storm, please check out these sites:
Here is the second part of my exclusive newsletter interview with Mr. Storm:
Mike: How would you describe the various stages of the creative process?
Storm: Well, I break it down into the five Cs:
Clarity—To capturing clearly in your mind the intention of your art, either a piece of or the entire vision. If you don’t know what you want to do, you’ll do just that—in abundance. Visualization is a good tool here, not only with your art but also your entire creative life. It’ll help clarify things, sharpen your intention. Write down your goals, both short and long term, and imagine what your life would be like if these dreams actually materialized.
Commitment—You won’t get there with your art unless you’re committed on a total level. You’re either committed or you’re not. There’s no halfway about it. You’ll find a lot of cosmic cooperation when you’re committed. Believe me, you’ll see serendipity and synchronicity kicking in.
Consistency—To stay with the project. All the way through. The ebb and flow. The challenges, the celebrations. The Ying and the Yang. I like to use The Wizard of Oz metaphor. Welcome to the road, Dorothy. The Scarecrow, the Lion, the Tin Man, Dorothy—they didn’t change their mind five or six times. They were clear about what they wanted. Despite all the fear and uncertainty and difficulty, they didn’t turn around and go back. They kept moving forward. The more you stay with your art, especially by practicing it, the more it becomes refined and the deeper your relationship develops with it.
Completion—If you really want to feel like an artist, you need to complete things. That special moment when you call it “done” is such a wonderful feeling. On the other hand, when you don’t complete something, you feel like you failed.
Celebration—This is an often overlooked one. We forget to take the time out to honor ourselves and say thank you for a job well done. Give yourself some rewards after finishing your art, both big and small. Go out and buy that CD you’ve wanted for awhile. Go out and see that movie you’ve wanted to see. Go on that vacation you’ve been thinking about. These little breaks along the way help work against that feeling of being overwhelmed by your art.
Mike: How do you suggest dealing with rejection?
Storm: Well, always keep in mind that we all go through it. It’s frustrating, maddening. But once you suffer any sort of creative wound, you need to pull from it, learn from it, or maybe you feel like rejecting it. No matter what you’re feeling, you need to get right back on the horse and roll all that energy into your art. Of course, this is easy to say, hard to do. That’s why we need support. So you don’t feel so alone. We know we have to keep going. We know that not everything we do will be a masterpiece. Not everything will be published. One of my favorite Julia quotes is: “Create right at the bastards.” Which translates into: If someone really pisses you off, or you feel you’ve been treated unfairly, take all that energy and create right in their direction. Okay, so you didn’t like that, well, here’s some more of it. Throw your art right at ‘em, metaphorically speaking.
Mike: What do you think about the often-heard complaint, “I just haven’t had time to write lately”?
Storm: I say that if you don’t have the time to write, then you don’t have the passion to write. It’s common excuse, but never a good reason. You always find the time to do in life what you really want to do. If you keep having trouble finding the time to write, then maybe you need to examine whether writing is really something you want to do.
Mike: Do you have any pet peeves in the creative world?
Storm: Yes, the whiners and egomaniacs. I don’t have time for either of these types.
Mike: What do you think of support groups among creative people?
Storm: I’m a big believer in it. We need our tribe. We shouldn’t isolate ourselves. That’s the worst thing an artist can do, I feel: to self-isolate. Mutual support, the exchange of ideas and insights, the networking with one another—these are essential.
Also, checking in with other artists occasionally, with a playful sense of accountability, is a good idea. Sometimes, that gets the job done. In other words, I said I was going to do this, I said I was going to finish this, and I did. Or, I didn’t and I need support about looking at what’s getting in the way. A supportive atmosphere can make a huge difference.