Stephanie Lee - 10 Questions for Artists

I have been a long admirer of Stephanie. SO long I almost don't remember when I wasn't her biggest fan. Except I do. I remember seeing the book, Semiprecious Salvage come out and being smitten. I created every single project inside those covers, learning so much and really boosting my confidence as an artist. And that's the thing about Stephanie. She really is your biggest cheerleader, wanting you to succeed in your artistic journey. I consider her my artistic soul's mentor. And she can be yours too! Right now, her new course "Creating Real Confidence as an Artist"  just opened and is available for instant access! And without further ado, please enjoy Stephanie's meaty answers to 10 Questions for Artists:

You Have All The Support You Need by Stephanie Lee

1. Favourite artist. Living or dead.
Picking a favorite may just be too much to ask of me because there are artists whose work excites and inspires me but of whom I know nothing about and there are artists whose work isn't as captivating to me but who offer unique and interesting perspectives on creativity that I appreciate. (This reminds me of when my daughters were young and they'd ask me what my favorite color was. I almost always answered with "Well, it depends? For what?". They would get so frustrated with me!) But if you twisted my arm and forced me to pick favorites, I would have to say that Edward Hopper appeals to me for his sparce and emotional scenes (he is to art what I see John Steinbeck is to American Literature). Nicholas Wilton's abstract art intrigues me almost as much as his refreshing stories of how art school and his art school experiences gave him helpful insights that serve him well to this day (I didn't go to art school but I've heard plenty of stories from artists who say it was a crushing experience.) Squeak Carnwath's work sucks the air out of my lungs while simultaneously filling it with the freshest air I've ever breathed. I'm currently enamoured with the untamed mark making of Hayden Alexander and Chris McHolm and the way I feel when I look at them. And if I had to pick a favorite "emerging artist", it would be my cousin, Mindy (@myminiartcorner on IG), with whom I lost touch for many years and am grateful to have reconnected via social media. She is a trail runner and has recently been painting the most endearing and luscious watercolor paintings of the desert scenery where she runs.
2. What's one thing in your studio you REALLY should throw out?
Probably the dried up paint tubes in the bottom of my paint bin. I don't know how many there are but I'm sure they are there. Also, I have a file cabinet drawer full of scrapbooking papers that are at least 15 years old that I don't love and have no interest in using. (Note to self: add "clean out scrapbooking paper" to my to-do list next week. Because, why not?)
3. Best studio snack. (creative nutrition is important!)
You'd never know it looking at my voluptuous figure but I rarely eat in my studio. It just never felt like a natural combo for me. Back when I was doing more metalsmithing, my fingers were not snack compatible. The mess of plaster dust isn't really either. Then again, is there ever a wrong time and place to eat a bowl full of Kettle brand Honey Dijon chips or fresh peaches? I didn't think so.
4. Favourite studio smell.
Wet plaster always and forever. Hot wax. Sharpie. Basically any smell that says "creativity is in process".
5. Least favourite studio smell.
My studio is an old enclosed sunporch so it can get a little musty when the sun beats in the windows. I don't love that smell but thankfully it airs out pretty easily. When I was doing more metalsmithing, I grew to not like the smell of the metal as it was oxidizing.
Rest and Reset by Stephanie Lee

6. Most used art related app on your phone.

Instagram and my camera app. Both are used heavily to capture, be inspired, and refuel my creative juices.
7. Top song in your studio.
This is the most impossible question you could have asked me. It depends on my mood, the weather, who else is within earshot, if I need to sit still or move. You'll find everything on my playlists from Chopin to the Cars, Sleeping at Last to Parov Stellar, Earth Forest to DJ T-Rock. I love many generes - especially moody, indie, acoustic covers of well known rock songs like Alex Clare's "Addicted to Love", Freedom Fry's "Teen Spirit", Capital Cities' "Stayin' Alive". That list is looooong...) Also, I never don't love listening to the score for Quigley Down Under, Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin, and "Summertime" from the opera, Porgy and Bess (Tom Wait's mashup version, Permashave, is one of my all time favorites.) Hmmm...I think I could talk about music all day.
8. Favourite art-related author, podcast(er), YouTuber.
There are SO many great ones out there and in full transparency, I'm most interested in podcasts that talk about the mental game of being fully alive in your creativity and purpose which, ironically, usually ends up being podcasts not by artists for me. Podcasts just by artists have plenty of room in my playlists though too. Laura Horn and Emily Jeffords both have great podcasts full of creative encouragement, useful creative business insights, and good art business tips.
9. Least favourite part of art-making.
You mean besides the first 90% of a painting's creation when I'm convinced it's not going to turn out well? Or the occasional time when I'm in love with a piece and then do just one more thing to it that makes me hate it? Besides that? Well, it would have to be the mind games. The stuff my brain throws into the mix when I'm feeling a bit vulnerable or uncertain.
10. Describe THE thing that would make you think: "I've Made It." 
This is such a potent question and I feel like it could be useful to ask myself this regularly because the answer always brings me back to where I am now and how to keep creating even if I haven't accomplished everything I hope to accomplish in my creative journey. There are many times in the past 15 years when I achieved something that I previously had thought meant I had "made it". I always enjoyed the realization of those circumstances even though I also was quick to subconsciously create a new "made it" benchmark. The most true answer as of right now is that "making it" is a state of mind for me. To have made it means to be deep in the satisfaction of creating - art, new opportunities to share my art, new ways of putting my art out into the world, getting paid handsomely to talk about creativity, feeling incredibly grateful and abundant for the gift of being able to live IN the whirlwind of growth and expansion. These are all feelings of "making it" to me. On day when I can create those feelings within the reality of my life as it is, that feels like a huge triumph for this girl who is always striving for the next thing.
Also, if someone famous that I admire bought some of my work, that would qualify. :)

 More About Stephanie:

As an artist, course creator, and creative mentor, I merge a variety of materials and concepts to invite you to honor your complex stories while also simplifying (and elevating) the continuing stories you tell yourself so that you can create the work you want to create.


 
Thanks so much, Stephanie!
Originals by Stephanie Lee



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