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Today we are welcoming Jodi Ohl! After you read her interview, be sure and stop by her blog and enter her GIVEAWAY!!
My journey is just that, it’s been a journey, it’s been about finding myself and answering a calling that I never really knew was there even though of course it was all along. I’ve gone from the corporate world of banking and management to living the dream so to speak, that is that I now work full time as an artist and instructor, writer, and a maker of happy things! October 2013 will be my two year anniversary and I don’t regret for a minute making a choice that wasn’t easy because the sane side of me is a big worrier at heart and practical in nature. The dreamer side of me was saying, if not now, then when? Why can’t you? Can’t shouldn’t be in your vocabulary, you can do anything you set your mind to. I love what I do, I love meeting the people I meet and I love seeing something that feel or dream of in my mind come to life with my own two hands. When I hear from customers or admirers of my art and how I in some way impacted them with inspiration or hope, well…that makes this all worthwhile. I also think I’m teaching my boys some important lessons in life by following your dreams, and about working hard, sticking with something, and most of all, believing in yourself because you can do what you envision (and most of the time even more).
What are some of the things that nourish your soul? How do you decide what to create - where do your ideas come from?
It’s funny because what nourishes my soul is what I do for a living now full time so I need to be careful to incorporate activities that nourish me in other ways, and almost all of those activities involve spending time with those I love and connecting with others outside these 4 walls. It’s not always about balance because true balance is a myth and you will drive yourself crazy trying to achieve it. It’s about not saying no to the things that drive the reason you are working for. Family, friends, and life experiences. Taking time out to get your toes wet in the water and feeling the sand beneath your feet even if you have a deadline tomorrow. If I’m honest with myself, my best ideas come after a period of relaxation and nourishment. When I’m tired and been on a long streak of working without a day off, my inspiration dries up for awhile and all I want to do is sleep rather than create. The beauty of it is that I can sleep. I can rest. I can make time for those I love…..I have the power to do it, I just need to keep my priorities straight. The other thing that nourishes my soul is to create just for the sake of creating. No deadline to meet. No class to prepare for or show to exhibit for…just a few stolen moments and to just make cool sthtuff! :) It doesn’t happen very often but I hope to incorporate more ‘filing the well’ days into days into my schedule or hours at the very least.
Just make things. Create. Paint, Play. Don’t wait for the perfect idea or for when you’ve perfected whatever it is that you do to put it out in this world. You’ll have far more ‘masterpieces’ if you continuously create rather than obsess over that one piece that just isn’t right. We are often our own worst critics and can see everything that is wrong while overlooking all the things that are right. The other piece of advice is to stop making excuses. I know it sounds harsh but we all have the same 24 hours in the day. So yes, you can carve out 20 minutes to create or make whatever if you really want to. It may require you saying no to something or not today, or getting up an hour early or staying up an hour late (or hush my mouth, staying off the computer for a bit and eliminating distractions), but you can do it. Life is about choices, art is about choices…when to do it, and what to do once you get started.
What was the nicest compliment you’ve ever received about your work? What drives your sense of validation or legitimacy as an artist?
Your work makes me happy or that I’ve inspired them in some way. Often times I incorporate words, quotes, or my own phrases based on whatever it is I’m feeling in the moment as I create the art…and more times than not, THAT person….in the world who needs to hear the message finds me or the art finds them. I love hearing the personal stories that my customers tell me or why it is they are drawn to what I do. It seems that when I question if I’m on the right path in life, should I really be doing this full time or should I go back to a more practical career choice, I’ll get a message or an email from someone that lets me know how they’ve been affected in one way or another by something I’ve done or taught them and it’s then that I feel re-validated. Yes, I am on the right path after all.
Oh goodness. I love color and that is evident to anyone that sees my art. I try to tone it down from time to time but that never lasts long! My signature colors almost always included Teal, magenta, assorted blues, lime green, purples, oranges, and hot pink along with black and white. I’m trying to expand my palette and have every color under the sun but I keep going back to those colors.
What are some elements that make your work “yours”?
I think my work is known for its whimsical compositions, bright happy color combinations, texture and infusion (for better or worse) of words and phrases into almost every piece. I like to create the illusion of depth without adding a lot of bulk to my work.. I also incorporate a lot of drawing material into my work, lines and shading done with pens and pastels or charcoal. A lot of my themes tend to revolve around family, love, community and a sense of belonging, even empowerment shows up from time to time. I am a big believer that what you put out into the world comes back at you three fold. I hope I’m putting out enough good things so that we can continue to live a life of happiness and flexibility.
I’d like to try working with cold wax , I’ve seen some really cool pieces in Asheville and in Raleigh (NC) at various galleries and it looks like a cool medium to work with. I love texture so it fits right in with what I’m doing but may take it to a new level! Other than that, I’d like to try to write a book. Maybe an e-book to start with, and then start pursuing publishers for a few ideas I have. I’m hesitant to take on another project right now so I’m going to ease into it by doing something on a regular basis to achieve my goal without putting the pressure on to meet a hard deadline when I may not be ready for it. All in good time. 2013-2014 for me is going to be about evolving my processes and doing more of what works, and letting go of things that are not working as I thought they would (or perhaps not in line with what I’m doing anymore). Back to question 1. It’s all about the journey. :)
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
Must have coffee to perform at all! :) I don’t’ really have any rituals and truthfully, I am kinda all over the place with the way I work now. Having gone in a lot of different directions between teaching, doing shows and exhibits, writing, having an online shop, and filling galleries…all good things but not very good for my organizational skills. I do try to clean up and start fresh when I start a new big project but so often everything overlaps, sometimes I just have to call a time out and just clear away the clutter. As I write this, I just got a knock on the door from the Fed Ex guy delivering more art supplies. EEEK. All good things but man oh man, I need a bigger studio!!! My other ritual (hence the reason for the order) is that I put 10-20% of my profits back into my business by ordering more supplies, business cards, post cards , whatever and always always always new canvases. That way I have the tools necessary to keep on going forward.