Little Yellow Couch: Along with writing the blog, "The Jealous Curator," about other artists and their pursuits, you are also an artist yourself. Do you embrace or battle your inner critic?
Danielle Krysa: Oh, it's a battle! My inner critic doesn't usually have anything nice to say, so embracing it really isn't an option. I am learning to ignore it though! I have finally started to realize that it doesn't deserve the power I've given it over the last decade or two. Time for him to shut up for awhile.
LYC: What about outside criticism? How do you separate constructive criticism from unhelpful critiques?
DK: That's hard too. In my book, a lot of the artists say that you have to think about where the criticism is coming from. If it's delivered in a kind way from someone you trust/respect then you should listen, but if it's just mean and coming from someone that you don't know or trust then it should be ignored. Easier said then done, but knowing that every other artist in the world has to face this too makes me realize I'm not alone in this situation. One of my favorite quotes is from Jessica Bell. She says "Unkind judgement is really just a distraction. I can usually eat some potato chips and sleep it off." HA! I love that so much. Maybe because I love potato chips ;)
LYC: We love this question you pose to other artists: "Do you ever equate your self worth with your success?" because it really gets to the heart of what it means to live with yourself as an artist on a daily basis.
DK: Yes, I asked all of the artists in my book this question... I didn't realize until right now how hard that is to answer! I suppose it depends what kind of "success" we're talking about. The answer is YES if we're talking about art, design, curating etc. I work hard and I want to succeed. Being Type A is definitely part of my DNA, and when things don't go the way I want them to, yes, my self worth takes a hit. However, if I get really deep for a minute and think about this a bit more, the answer is probably NO. As soon as I became a mother, outside validation became pretty meaningless to me. What mattered most was being a good mom, and a well-rounded person for my son. Professional success takes a back seat to that every time.
LYC: So what do you do when you're feeling blocked?
DK: I used to just quit. And be realllllly grouchy. As the interviews and unblocking exercises started rolling in from the artists though, I tried them immediately (long before the book was actually on shelves). One of my favorite things to do is grab a fancy coffee and pop into a thrift shop. Old books seem to be a great place for me to get started. I also have been using an unblocking project from Kate Pugsley (p.175) and am loving it! You paint blocks of your favorite colors on to sheets of paper, let them dry, cut them up into random shapes, and then assemble the pieces into some kind of composition. It's so fun, and most importantly, freeing! I played a lot, recycled a whole bunch of them, but I actually have two new finished pieces that I really love. Who knew!? ;)
LYC: The exercises offered by the artists in your book feel to us like they could be the basis for workshops held during a creative retreat. Have you thought about offering one?
DK: I did do a series of workshops called GIRL CRUSH, from San Francisco to Philly. This was pre-book mind you, so yes, I'd love to do another workshop/retreat that is more closely tied to CREATIVE BLOCK. We'll see!