Monday, July 20, 2009
Spotlight Interview: Earl Storm/Part 3
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 third and final part of my exclusive newsletter interview with Mr. Storm:
Mike: Do you think all people are creative?
Storm: Try this test: Put your thumb on your wrist. Do you feel a pulse? If you do, then you’re inherently creative in my opinion. In fact, I can often prove to people in a matter of seconds that they’re more creative than they think they are. It’s just that some people have shut off their creativity and haven’t developed a relationship with it. Some people are comfortable with creativity; others need encouragement.
Mike: How about people who are too creative, with too many ideas?
Storm: Too many ideas can drive you crazy. You need self-management. No matter how many ideas you have, time is the great equalizer. Force yourself to choose one or two projects you want to do now. If you’re all over the map, that can sometimes be just as bad as not having any ideas at all.
Mike: What’s the hardest thing about creativity?
Storm: Simplicity. That’s where the challenge is.
Mike: What have you discovered about your own creativity?
Storm: That it’s synonymous with my spirituality. Unlike creativity and talent, and creativity and art—these things are deeply connected to each other but are not synonymous.
Mike: What could you tell us about cartooning, and its use of words?
Storm: Cartooning is a much more difficult art form than people realize, especially in its limited use of words. The idea is to use as few words as possible to make your point and be effective. Get in, set it up, say what you want to say, be funny, and get out.
I went through some ugly, wordy phases. When I started cartooning, I didn’t consider myself a writer. But I worked hard at it, studied a lot, and modeled myself after people such as Mike Peters and Gary Larsen.
Mike: Julia Cameron has become something of an icon, or guru, as a writing teacher and author. She’s also become a mysterious figure in recent years. Since you’ve been around her, could you tell us what she’s like in person?
Storm: Well, she’s far from what people imagine her to be. Which is one of the reasons why she’s pulled back and isn’t very accessible to the public anymore. I think she became uncomfortable with being St. Julia. The reality is, she’s a very grounded earth child—and not as angelic as people would think. She’s just real. She likes to defuse that deification immediately, saying when she meets her students, “We’re all artists, we all have passions, we all have talents, we all have blocks. Now let’s get to work.”
Mike: What do you preach to your students?
Storm: That it’s not about fame and fortune. It’s about the relationship between the art and the artist. That’s what I work on, what I teach. That fame and fortune is the cherry on the sundae—the possible byproduct, never the goal.
Mike: Any favorite quotes about creativity?
Storm: Walt Disney’s: “Always remember that this whole thing was started by a mouse.” And Albert Einstein’s: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Mike: Any favorite quotes of your own?
Storm: “When the student is ready, a teacher appears.”
Mike: Any last advice?
Storm: Just keep doing it. No matter what happens, no matter what people say to you, keep doing it if it feels right to you. Remember, if you’re an artist, it’s the art that feeds your soul.