Podcast S1E3

Radikal Life S1E3: Create with Gina Clark

Fri, Aug 26, 2022 6:04PM • 1:01:57

artist, creativity, work, art, class, thinking, life, idea, feel, painted, muse, creative, love, created, enjoyed, credit report, space, kaizen, pratt, talking

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP), Gina Clark (she/her)

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  00:00
Hello and welcome this is the Radikal Life podcast. And today we’re speaking with our Create module leader, would you like to introduce yourself?

Gina Clark (she/her)  00:17
Hi, yeah, my name is Gina Clark. And I’m an artist and a creativity coach that has been working with the Kaizen-Muse model of creativity coaching for the past three years. And I I’m really excited to be here. And just to give a little bit of background about me, I am white and straight cisgender I’m Canadian, and I’m married with three children. And I’m pretty economically stable. So that’s just a bit of my social background just so you can situate me in the world.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  01:01
I realized that I failed to introduce myself again. My name is Marina Patrice Vare and my pronouns are they them and MP. And I’m recording today from Lenapehoking, which is the unceded land of the Lenni-Lenape peoples. I’m so glad that you are here with me today, Gina, I’m really looking forward to this conversation. I’m wondering if you would like to share any more about sort of your current work background and how you came to be working with clients in this way?

Gina Clark (she/her)  01:35
Sure, um, this is really, this is something that I’m doing, you know, really, as a project of love of my soul. I have, I have a, you know, a paycheck job that pays the bills. But this is something that I’m really passionate about. And it’s something that has really been important to me and sort of gnawed at me for a really long time. But it wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I decided that I really needed to embrace, you know, creativity and get back to sort of things that I was really interested in when I was younger. So yeah, I just I started kind of playing around with different things, just trying to do something to be more creative, but I didn’t really know like, you know, I was really unsure. I didn’t know what to do, how to do it. I felt like a real imposter, even trying to start. And one day I came across a Google I don’t know what I was searching Google. But creativity coaching popped up. And I was like, what’s that like? I didn’t know this was a thing. This is amazing. So I looked into it. And I signed up, I think like that same day, I was like, I’m in I want to do this, I want to help other people, like, you know, move more into their creativity. And yeah, and that, you know, I finished my coaching certification. And since then, I’ve been working with people and it’s been awesome.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  03:13
I love that I’m just thinking about those like synchronicities, right? When like, you are feeling something, a call to something in your own life and feeling a little unsure. And then like, you know, you’re you’re searching and I mean, I guess also we know, it’s probably because Google’s listening, but let’s just pretend let’s pretend for a little bit of magic, that it’s also just synchronicity, right, and it pops up and it’s like, oh, come. I love that. I can feel that sort of the breath in in that moment. So thanks for sharing that piece. You shared with me that for a long time, you had the belief that you couldn’t be a mother and an artist. And I’m wondering when that shift for you, and what happened to shift that limiting belief.

Gina Clark (she/her)  04:02
Um, I mean, I think for a long time, I was very convinced that the only way I could, you know, be an artist or be creative was to like, throw my life away and move to Paris and live in an enclave of artists. And, you know, that was sort of what was in my head. And I’m sure it was just a big roadblock, to not move me forward into something that I had fear about. Actually, like, I live in a smaller town I live I don’t live in a big city center. It’s it’s quite rural. There’s not you know, there’s not like museums and galleries and art classes and all kinds of things like that at your fingertips. So it just always seemed like something that would be so hard to do and so far away, and as my kids got older, I think there were a few things that sort of that came to pass all at the same time. But my kids were getting older. I think my oldest was probably around 14, then my, my younger two were maybe like, I don’t know, ten and eight. So you know, they were getting to the point where they were a little bit more independent. And I had some more free time. And the internet at that time, like sort of this whole online learning thing, was really starting to explode. I mean, clearly the internet was there before that, but I just got to a point where I realized how much was out there that you can tap into that wasn’t available before. If you weren’t, you know, like somewhere to go in person to a class. And then just getting older. I think I just got to a point where I was like, Okay, it’s now or never, like, what are you doing? What are you doing with your life? Like, this isn’t something that has been there for decades that you haven’t pursued? So now’s the time. So yeah, that’s really what pushed me.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  06:18
I really love this confluence of circumstances, right. Especially, I really appreciate the way that you describe sort of like your vision of what it would be like to be an artist. And I, I know that that person also lives in you, right. But I really appreciate what you’re saying about having access right online to people and places that you wouldn’t have access to where you live. And I think that’s super important, just in terms of making things accessible to folks like I really, I love the way that the internet has opened up so many things. And yes, it’s not new, but I think it does continue to sort of grow in depth in sort of what folks are offering. And I do I think that online learning is really in a very, like, elevated space right now, in this sort of, like, you know, COVID times, right, because we are sort of forced to shift the way we think about learning. So I love that that was a space that was accessible for you and helped you like move into this dream. I am also thinking about just sort of how hard it can be to fit creativity into our daily lives and sort of like overwhelming especially like if your vision is so big about what an artist looks like. And I’m wondering if you would share a little bit with us about your daily practice, or sort of what your creativity, routine or practices looks like.

Gina Clark (she/her)  07:46
Sure. So that was definitely another crutch of mine, the I don’t have time. Because again, I had built up, you know, let’s even forget, like art and artists, like just even doing something creative, I built up into this, you know, like, if I don’t have three hours of free time, like forget it, I’m not going to be able to do it so that I’m never gonna have that. So I just can’t do this. And when I started making it a priority in the sense that I was like, okay, just do whatever you can in whatever time you have, then that took so much pressure off. And it just allowed me to start exploring, and sort of figuring out you know, what, what do I like to do what’s interesting to me just play and try things without sort of having this you know, finished piece or something in mind. And and once I went into the creativity coaching as well, like that was really reinforced. And I mean, the coaching for me, it really was me going through the coaching as well, like everybody that was in the group was essentially being coached as we went through it. So that was huge for me to just realize that five minutes is is enough. Five minutes might be all you have two minutes might be all you have. And that’s enough, if that’s what you can get to and so yeah, I live by that I just tried to do small things, I don’t try to build it up into something that’s going to sort of trigger that fear response where you know, I don’t have the time I don’t know how to finish this. I don’t know how to do it. Just really chunk things down and, and just try to come at things more playfully, which isn’t very easy for me. I’m pretty. Yeah. I’m a pretty, pretty perfectionist, type A kind of person. So this is like a huge I think it’s a really it’s a really wonderful life lesson to just remember that. Imperfect action is action. And that’s all it has to be. And you just have to show up. So yeah, I don’t think I don’t know, sit down at the easel for two hours at a time, I certainly don’t do that I just sit down for as long as I can. And if I miss a day, that’s okay, I just got back the next day. So

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  10:24
no, I heard a couple of things in there that I really enjoyed. And one of them is this idea of play, right? Because I to resonate with being like pretty serious and like having a very like, particular like, well, if it looks like this, then that’s the thing, but if not, right, and so I just, I really love that invitation to let it be more playful. And also, I’m thinking about when you say like, small spaces, right? I’m thinking about how sometimes for me, it’s just the getting started. And so like the invitation to take two minutes or five minutes, like, often for me, like if I can start something like it’ll catch, right, and then the spark is there. And it’s, you know, and if you have the time it can carry on, and also just the, I’m thinking about sort of feeding that flame every day or as often as possible, even just small bites, right, so that it’s not starving. There was a third thing you said there that I wanted to pull on the thread, but I lost it, I’m sure it will come back to me. 

Gina Clark (she/her)  11:23
Oh, sorry. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  11:24
Yeah, no go.

Gina Clark (she/her)  11:24
I was gonna say just to, you know, jump on that a bit, the, I find exactly the same thing. And I think that that’s very common, when you sit down or even all even, you know, if I’m like, I don’t feel like it, or I don’t have time, I’ll just get my supplies ready. And sometimes I’ll just be like, Okay, I’m just gonna get my stuff ready for when I do feel like it. And more than half the time I end up sitting down, and painting and doing a few things. So yeah, the starting is really what keeps us from getting into it in the first place. And just once you kind of get past an initial minute or two, you’re probably going to stay longer. And if you don’t like that’s okay, but you probably will.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  12:13
The playful little sprite in me really enjoys this idea about just preparing your space, right? Like, I’m not actually going to, like, you know, the sort of I love these ways to trick ourselves, right, I’m not actually going to do the thing, right now, I’m just gonna get ready to do the thing. And like, I also really love like art supplies and office supplies. So like, I find a lot of enjoyment in like going through and picking out things and like, you know, choosing what I want to work with. So I really enjoy that image there of just sort of sneaking in and getting started. Thanks for that. I am wondering, sort of how far back this, you know, creative spark goes in your memory, like, Do you have a memory of a time where you first sort of knew, like, Oh, I’m a creator, I’m an artist.

Gina Clark (she/her)  13:01
No, I don’t know that I really felt that about myself. For quite a long time. I was a lot older, but when I look back, and like in retrospect, I’m like, oh, you know, all the signs were pointing there. But that that wasn’t my that wasn’t my position in my family. I was the I was the smart one that got good grades. And my sister was the artistic one. And, and so that just wasn’t something that I ever, like, I don’t draw. I’m not, I can’t draw. And and so to me, it was like, well, that’s not my thing. I don’t do that. But I’m very creative in other ways, and very artistic in other ways. But yeah, again, thinking back though, I remember this, this particular story has always struck me as an adult, like sort of how odd it was. I was in grade three, so probably, I don’t know, like seven years old, something like that seven or eight. And we lived in a pretty small town and our school library was quite small. And my teacher was taking her class to a field trip to the town library, which was just in another school, but it was like a bigger library that had more books and stuff like that. And I’m sure I you know, I’m gonna give credit to this teacher because she was very, she was somebody that you know, took us for trips to the art gallery in Winnipeg, which is where I live near and, and she talked about artists and she talked about authors and that sort of thing. But anyway, we go to the library, and I came home with a book like about this big that was in like a big cardboard dust jacket on Rembrandt. Like, that’s what I picked. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  15:03
I love that. 

Gina Clark (she/her)  15:04
And I remember, like, I was so happy. And I remember taking it home and flipping through it. And like, I didn’t know who Rembrandt was I just it but for some reason, it was like, I want to look at this. And I was just fascinated by the pictures. So sometimes, you know, because I still get that, like, well, you don’t draw or you don’t do this or that you’re not really an artist, I think, well, you know, what, there was something that was in me that caused you to choose that book. So it’s, it’s a part of me, and it’s a part of all of us. But I mean, that that’s something that I like to anchor to, sometimes to just say, like, no, no, no, no, no, this is, this is something that’s like deep inside you. So just keep following it.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  15:51
I love the idea, right, that there were seeds in us already, when we were younger, that got watered and grew a little. And then sort of I don’t know, maybe we’re just waiting for more sunshine. Right. And so like that, that was, you know, sort of rooted in you but took some time to nurture and cultivate. And I love this image of, you know, seven or eight year old you like tiny with this big giant book. Yeah, and also just the I heard the appreciation that you had there for your teacher who gave you a window into a larger world from a small town. And I think that that’s really, I think that’s beautiful, especially given what you said about sort of not being the the artist in your family, right, like having the role of being the smart one, I love that there was still a way from that role in your life, right to have an in and for like that seed to still like find you and plant itself. I am curious, when you allowed yourself to start calling yourself an artist.

Gina Clark (she/her)  16:55
Oh, very recently.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  16:57
Tell me about it, would you?

Gina Clark (she/her)  16:58
Very, very recently. I’m probably only in the last year or so. I think I think it’s something that I believed was maybe true for a long time, but didn’t really step into it. And I think

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  17:23
I think like, as I said, the creativity coaching, I mean, it really, all of those principles are things that I continue to apply to myself, and work through every day. I mean, it’s a never ending process. And I think just over time becoming more comfortable with that identity is is what’s happened. And I just to sort of rewind a bit, you know, I sort of had this, you know, this Rembrandt thing. And then I was more, I was interested in things like design and stuff like that kind of as a teenager, and I ended up at one point in university going into art history. And I still think that that was like a peripheral thing, because, you know, I’m not really an artist, so I’m gonna go into art history. But the program that I was in, I had to take studio classes, that was a requirement for this art history degree. So took a drawing class, that was one of the classes and it was horrid. And I just, it was terrible for me. And, you know, like, it was like the self fulfilling prophecy. But then the next class I had to take was it was just called basic design. And the professor would just say, like, we are looking at color, have your project in two weeks. And it was just like wide open doors. And I absolutely thrived in it and loved it. And it was amazing. And there was a point in time where it was thinking of moving into studio practice for the rest of my school and I didn’t do it. But again, I don’t think at that time, I really believed I was an artist. So and then you know, whatever. 30 years go by, and here I am sort of trying to to grasp a hold of that again and and because that was a time in my life where I felt like so. Like, I just I don’t know, like I was embodying myself in the best way that I could. I love that you didn’t give up after drawing, right and that like this studio class really nourished you and I am just thinking about the ways that like formal education can really debilitate us. I went in thinking I was going to minor in studio art as well. And the classes I wanted in my first semester were full so I took several art history classes which I really enjoyed. And then my drawing class was equally terrible. I think like, it’s just was not my medium, right? I had really wanted to study photography. And there were like, I don’t know, like three or four foundation classes you had to take before you could ever, like touch a camera. And I then channeled my way back into art history instead. And eventually didn’t even minor in that. But do you really mean like, I’m just thinking about the ways that like, we get excited and enthusiastic about a thing. And then someone gives us such a formal process that really like takes the enjoyment out of it? Yeah, oh, then I’m also having this memory of when I graduated from college, I had wanted to learn to paint. And so my grandmother had given me a painting class for graduation. And I went to register for it, and it was full, and the only thing that was still available was drawing. So I did funny, oddly enough, this will be a short tangent, but I ended up taking the drawing class. And while I was there, the folks that I had such a lovely sense of humor about it, that they said, like, hey, so you just graduated, what are you doing this summer, we need an RA for our summer, like, you know, high school program. So I actually ended up getting to hang out with a bunch of high school students that were working their way through creativity as well. And I think you know, one of the many ways that I lived vicariously until, you know, more recently, I too, I don’t identify as an artist at all, but I feel a little bit more like at least like a creative person now. And I think for me, that really is the the play component of it, right? Like that there is a small person in me that is dying to like, get their hands on things that like adult me is just like, No, that’s what, I’m busy. Right? And that person is shouting. Right?

Gina Clark (she/her)  21:48
Yeah, for sure. Well, and I think I mean, I I’ve, I’ve written about this drawing class. I mean, it was just it was, we would have something in the middle of the room that we had to draw, and all of our easels were around it. And then after, we had some time to do it, we all had to walk around and look at everybody else’s. And it was just so agonizing anyway, and I could see on the professor’s face, we couldn’t buy my stuff, you know what I mean? Like he’s trying to come up with something nice to say. Like it was, it was so. And I mean, I don’t think he was meaning for it to be that way. But it was just like such a judgmental process, whereas this other class was, so there were no expectations, and you were so rewarded for thinking outside the box and just doing something like super individual and not technical. And, and yeah, it was all about play, right? Because you could just take a con you were just supposed to take a concept and play with it, and come back with something. And that’s what was wonderful about it for me.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  23:00
Yeah, I love that. I’m also remembering critique in our class it was you would hang it at the front of the room, and everyone in the room would speak to it, or have the opportunity to speak to it. I’m surprised that anyone completes a degree in art. I’m just like, remembering that with some horror, and yeah, it sounds like this other class was a really like freeing. I’m curious if you have a memory of something that you created in color in that class that you want to share?

Gina Clark (she/her)  23:30
Yeah, actually, my color project. I started getting again, you know, I went into that class thinking like, I’m not an artist, what am I doing in here like, because everybody else in the class were were studio students like they were getting studio degrees, except for like, me like the one art history kid that was there. So I be like ehh, but I kind of did the first few assignments. And when I got some good feedback, and it really emboldened me, and my art really became more and more conceptual, as the class went on. So by the time we got to this color module, what I ended up doing was when when we were kids, my dad always used my dad always used to get a bunch of crayons and put them in like two liter pot bottles, and we put them on sticks over the fire. And like melt the crayons. I know it’s like a horrible like, plastic thing. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  24:29
This sounds like a blast though. 

Gina Clark (she/her)  24:30
Yeah, it was. It was cool because all the colors would like whirl together and like you pick your colors and it was super cool. And so I was trying to figure out how to recreate that in a less toxic way. What I did was I went into recycling the recycling bins and found orange juice glass orange juice containers and washed them all out like ones that were all the same size. And then I took the crayons and I melted them in a microwave and swirled them around and then sort of put them upside down. So the wax would cover the top of it, and just had them in this crate. So it was just these really cool, they almost look like little, you know, milk bottles, like old fashioned milk bottles with like color in them. And yeah, it was super fun.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  25:19
That sounds like a really pleasurable, it’s like I’m having a good time like hearing about it, I’m like, viscerally having a sensation of like, oh, I can picture this coming together. And that was really fun. So thank you for sharing that memory. I’m curious if you have anything you want to say about the relationship between creativity and art.

Gina Clark (she/her)  25:40
Um, I think they’re related, but they’re different. I think as a society, we put art on a pedestal. And we put artists on a pedestal and, you know, especially coming from art history, it’s like, who, who decides this, who decides what’s good, and what’s bad, like, you know, I mean, it never appealed to me to want to go into art sales, or having a gallery because it is it again, so I don’t know, it’s just this like, judgmental monetizing, capitalistic thing. Whereas creativity, is just something that I think is inside every one of us. And we all express it in different ways. And sometimes we don’t get an opportunity to be able to express it, because we’re not encouraged to. And I don’t think that our society encourages that. So, for me, I have a very, very broad definition of creativity, I have a pretty broad definition of art, too. But there’s probably a lot of other people that wouldn’t agree with me. But I mean, I think, you know, like, being a business owner is very creative. Being an entrepreneur is creative. Gardening is creative, cooking is creative. There’s all kinds of things that you could do to, to me, being creative is all about expressing yourself in some way. So, you know, the possibilities are endless as to how someone does that. So yeah, I I don’t use the word art, or artist a lot. You know, sometimes when I’m talking about my own pieces, or, or thinking of myself, as an artist, yes, I’ll use those labels. But when I’m teaching, I’m teaching creativity. You know, if somebody wants to move into the realm of, of making art, or of some sort, that’s a really individual decision, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative and that you’re not creative.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  28:05
I really love the way that you name this as sort of just being about expressing yourself, because it really, for me, it feels very spacious and expansive, like everyone can create something. And also, like, I believe that everyone is like always co-creating something right in every moment and so I just, I liked that lens on it a lot. And I really like what you did here, when you created the when you crafted the Create modular for us. Because you really made it have a lot of room, right? Like you didn’t focus on a particular medium. It was really on tools for creativity. And so for me that makes it accessible, right for folks that are visual artists, but also for writers, folks who maybe consider themselves more crafters. And I felt like there was even a lot in it for me, as someone who mainly focuses on like content creation right now, I still felt like there was a lot of juice in there for me and things that I could take and apply. So I’m excited for that to be shared out in the world. And I’m wondering if you want to talk a little bit about what mediums you specifically use most frequently, and maybe how you apply these ideas to your personal creative process.

Gina Clark (she/her)  29:25
Sure. I have really taken to painting. And again, thinking back when I was taking those, those two studio classes, I was like I really want to learn how to paint but I’m not a painter. I left it there. So I’m finally letting myself try to paint and I’m really really enjoying it. So I’ve been working in watercolors and I just started taking up acrylics and it’s so satisfying. It’s they’re both very tactile mediums in different ways, you know, like the watercolor has that the flow and the transparency. And what attracts me to the acrylic is the, like, the textural aspects of it and and sort of the I don’t know the strength of it in it, I don’t know how to explain it. But it’s it’s such a two different mediums, but it Yeah. So it’s something that I’m just exploring at the moment, but I’m really, really enjoying it. And there goes one of my animals, and it’s bringing me so much joy to my life, so much joy. And especially when you know, if you talk about using the principles, especially when I let go of a fixed idea of what I want something to look like, and just go in there and play. And, you know, sometimes I’m like, I didn’t like that. But I learned something from it. And it was an experiment, and I can apply it the next time I sit down. So yeah,

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  31:12
I love that and what came to mind for me, as you were talking about the different reasons that you enjoy, like watercolor, and acrylic is just like, how, like many variances there are even within an individual medium and like how Iike a playful approach to that would really be so much more fun, right like that, hey, let’s see what this one feels like. Let’s see what that one feels like. And I can just tucking that away for myself into like my heart to think about you know, I’m also curious about the space that you’re in. Is this your creation space? Is any of this work behind you your work? Do you want to share anything about your studio space?

Gina Clark (she/her)  31:54
Sure. So this is a great example of how you can have a super tiny space and still have a space to create. Because all this is the corner of my living room. So if I were to turn my camera around, you could see my couches and coffee table and television. But I’ve managed to snag a wall here. So I have this art desk, and I have some of my supplies, I have some shelving up here that my husband made for me. And these painted pieces are some pieces that I’ve made. And then I can show you here I’ve got a whole bunch of art books. And I put shelving, you know, so I have a, I have a lot of actual space and four cupboards like this, that are just filled with paper and art supplies and everything, but it’s all closed off. So it’s not cluttered, but it’s really accessible. And I love it. And I you know, I would love to have my own separate space. But I also kind of like being in the thick of everything too. With stuff going on. It doesn’t bother me like I can still I can still paint.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  33:09
Yeah, I love it too. And I really am grateful that you shared it with us because I think that we often again, right one of those sort of impediments is like, well, I don’t have enough space I don’t like it’s right up there with not having enough time as like, top reasons. And I thanks for sharing your storage, because that was really fun to like, think about, like, oh, where can things go? And how can I compact them and still make them accessible. And it also just delights me that your artwork is on display in your creative space. Because I feel like if you don’t get to be the hero or heroine or whatever, like you know, the main character in your in some part of your own life right, then that’s a real bummer. So like I think this is really, for me, it brings me joy to see that like you get to be front and center in your creative space. I really am enjoying that. Thanks for sharing. 

Gina Clark (she/her)  34:02

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  34:03
Yeah, I think the next thing I want to hear about is your influences. If you would answer maybe a few will sort of like shift track a little, you know, and change our topic a little bit in the sense that I would love to know sort of how you came to know about the Kaizen-Muse philosophy, and then also, you know, what really nourishes you about it, how it came to be part of your life.

Gina Clark (she/her)  34:32
Um, yeah, so definitely one of my influences is the creator of Kaizen-Muse, and her name’s Jill Badonsky. And she has been teaching creativity for I think, almost 20 years now. And she’s, she’s an artist and a writer. She has a podcast and she is also a recovering perfectionist, which is probably something that really appealed to me because she is If I, you know, the energy that she gives off is so light, and playful and fun, and I’m sure that she had to work to get there. And you know, be very conscious about doing that. So the Kaizen Muse philosophy is, it’s all about using your intuition, and and going at your own pace, and letting yourself guide you through the process. It’s not about coming up with a, you know, a big to do list until, you know, deadlines and ticking things off. Oh, my dog’s gonna growl here. Hold on. All right, I’ve staved it off. So it yeah, it’s really it’s really about like Kaizen is a Japanese word. And it means continuous improvement through small steps, loosely translated. And it’s something that was used in the manufacturing industry initially. But it’s all about taking the smallest step possible in order to move forward and the thinking is that you’re going to move forward in a much easier way, because you’re really disarming the brain’s fear response. And I think we’ve all experienced that, where you, you know, just I’ve talked about it a few times you have build up in your head, what something has to be or the things that need to be done, it just becomes so overwhelming, that you freeze and don’t do anything. So it’s really about you know, when I talk about sitting down for five minutes, or sitting down for two minutes, or just getting your supplies ready, and that’s all that you do, just the more often you do it, the easier it’s going to become, and the easier it’s going to become to move into the next step and into the next step and, you know, gain that experience. And then the Muse piece of that is around some modern day muses that Jill created. So, you know, we have our Greek muses, and she thought, you know, we really need to come up with some for today’s world, and what they are things that we all need to help us live created creatively. So there’s sort of like, there are these different concepts that sort of push and pull on each other, you know, like, one, for example, is audacity is a muse Audacity. So that’s all about, you know, putting yourself out there and being proud of what you do and showing your work. And then there’s another muse called Lull. And that’s about, you know, stepping back and taking a break. There’s, there’s a bodyguard that’s involved. So that’s about, you know, protecting yourself from criticism or just, you know, you may have somebody in your life that’s maybe not supportive of what you’re doing. Or even, you know, like those drawing teachers, like one wrong word, could completely derail someone like you and I, in that class, and they’re not doing it intentionally. But having that bodyguard really helps you just continue moving through your creativity. So yeah, so those, that’s kind of the philosophy, but what I really love about it is, it’s all about be kind to yourself. And that’s something that I struggle with, sometimes, especially when I’m trying to do something that isn’t necessarily coming easily to me. Or I have a lot of fear around it, you know, my natural go to is what’s wrong with you. Like, just sit down and do it, just suck it up and, and do it. And, and it’s really about cultivating a much kinder, gentler way of talking to yourself the self talk and just a kinder, gentler, gentler way of showing up. So so that’s what really appeals to me about it.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  39:23
Yeah it’s very rich, what you’ve described here and I, what really resonates for me is this idea of small steps, right, which we talked a little bit about already. And also the idea of these like avatars Right? Or like these companions on the journey right and that I find it really sweet that one of them is a protector, right? This like someone that sort of like keeps the the voices the other voices in your head at bay long enough for you to get to like dive in. And this idea around kindness towards the self, I think we could that could be a whole podcast on its own right. But like, just the how nourishing it is. And we can give ourselves a little bit of grace and space and, you know, come to ourselves in the way that we might with our children, right or with a another small person that we love, right? Like, where we wouldn’t want to, like, I don’t know, like, poison like creativity for them, right, we would protect and nourish and nurture them and I, the I’m really the idea of doing that for myself feels like really like it lights me up right now. Like, I’m like, oh, right, when a nice like, what a nice way to treat yourself. The also the perfectionist in me heard you say something that I really enjoyed. And it sort of like put that voice to the back of my head a little bit, which is when you were describing Jill, right? You’re talking about how light and playful she is. And then you paused and you took a moment and you said, I’m sure it took her some work to get there. And I really just want to highlight that because I do think that we can sort of be in relationships with our teachers and mentors as like, sort of elevating them and like, you know, like, they’re somewhere that you could never get to. And so for me, like I had this moment where I was like, oh, okay, like Jill is very talented. And also Jill’s not the only one who is really talented, right that and just so that was really I was like, Oh, I heard that. And it made me think like, Oh, what a nice way to be in relationship with your teachers. So thanks for those words that like that particular phrase really landed with me. I would also love to hear about artists that have influenced you. And I’m gonna look at my note because I really love the way that you said this. So you shared with me that you are inspired by artists who created despite their status, so particularly women whose male partners were also artists, and who were sort of overshadowed by their grandeur. And I would love to hear sort of who, who those women are that you know, are in your imagination and like your uplifting when you’re thinking about creating and also sort of what about their experience really resonates for you?

Gina Clark (she/her)  42:20
Sure. So the three big ones that come to mind are maybe I’ll talk about actually the first two because they I’ve always been very enamored, sort of with their story and what they did despite dot dot dot everything. And that’s Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe, who are both married two very well known male artists that had a lot of status. Georgia O’Keeffe was married to Alfred Stieglitz, who was a very famous photographer and Frida Kahlo was married to Diego Rivera. And they, they both sort of went through a period where I think to some extent, they allowed themselves to be overshadowed by their husbands. And I mean, it was also you know, different times, like, we’re talking like 20s 30s 40s. But they both came into their own. And I think now in, you know, although they also became quite well respected in their time, they are now very celebrated for the art that they made more so even than in their own time. And they were both, you know, somewhat unusual, in terms of being a female. At that time in history, I mean, Frida Kahlo was very political. She had, you know, injuries and sickness that she dealt with throughout her whole life, she painted on her back in a bed for a lot of her life. And she was very passionate about Mexican independence. You know, she was rumored to have had relationships with women, just so many different things that sort of put her in this other category. And despite all of those things, her art is just it prevailed and it’s just so touching to the soul and Georgia O’Keeffe as well. I mean, she, you know, just going out and sort of living in the New Mexico desert on her own was a very sort of radical thing to do at that time. So I have a lot of admiration for them. And the third person is a Canadian artist named Mary Pratt. Whew, I will admit, I was not very impressed by when I was younger. It wasn’t until I am, you know, I’m now married. And I have children. And I understand sort of the domestic side of life. She also had a very famous husband, Christopher Pratt, who was a famous Canadian painter. And I remember seeing her work, you know, when I was around 20, and thinking like, well, that’s kind of boring. But she was very overshadowed really wasn’t considered like a painter or an artist with a capital A until later she did, they did split up at some point, but she painted what she was able to paint, which was what was around her. So she may have she painted, you know, like a can of mackerel on the counter that was open, or something in her backyard, or some dishes on the counter. And now, you know, like, I went through that whole, you know, all of these things, like being a mother and being an artist, and blah, blah, blah. I am so amazed by what she did. And this was, you know, earlier, as well, I’m trying to think when she painted. I think it was the 70s. But don’t quote me on that. And I have to go back and look, but again, you know, much more. A wife was expected to have a much more traditional role at the time when she was making her work. So yeah, just a lot of admiration for all of those women and for sort of breaking, breaking some barriers. And yeah, I just love it.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  46:45
Yeah, there were several things in there that I found really encouraging. You know, one, I think Frida is now huge in the public imagination. Right. But, you know, in her time, I think it’s interesting, sort of to consider, right, what, like, from here, I think it seems sort of glamorous, right? It’s like, oh, she did this beautiful work. And, but like, in her time, that wasn’t encouraged, right? Like, she was very much sort of in the shadow of someone more famous. But I have always been really heartened by, you know, her creating anywhere, right. And like, being chronically ill, and still feeling like there was this drive to create and finding a way to do it, even like from bed, right, which I think is is amazing. And I love the there are several of her like corsets that were like that for from her surgeries, right that she painted. And I think that’s some of her most like beautiful work. But I what I really liked was this thread that you sort of weaved in there about sort of where they were and what they had access to, right, like we’re just making with what they could right like, it was like this, I appreciate the insight there that like Mary Pratt was less appealing, right, until you’d had some of these experiences on your own. And I think that that is really an important thing to think about to like, sort of what is what is art? What is good art to us, like over the course of our time. And then also just want to like highlight the piece that you said about, you know, Georgia O’Keeffe going out into the desert on her own and like really having to make her place right, which I think is again, like now huge and beloved in the public imagination. I don’t know Mary Pratt, but I will go and look her up and see. So but like, I think it is really a testament right to sort of the the creative spirit and drive to be expressed, even if unacknowledged or lesser acknowledged that that didn’t stop them from being creators, which I think is really an important thing that I’m sort of tucking away again, like from like, what to what to do with that. Right. I’m curious also, if your spirituality influences your relationship with creativity or creating art.

Gina Clark (she/her)  49:19
Absolutely. Absolutely. I know I said this earlier, I really believe that creativity is it’s just something that’s innate in all of us. And I really believe that it’s our connection to the universe. Is this creative spark that we have I mean, we all have the drive to create in some way in like you said, we co create and every moment and that’s what the universe does. You know, I’m not I’m not religious, per se, but I’m definitely very spiritual. Um, and, and very attracted to the idea of energy. And I think that when we are creating, we’re putting out this amazing energy into the universe that, you know, can only come back to us. And, and that’s what I think it’s just like this beautiful dance and like this beautiful vibration. So, so that’s always in my mind. You know, I think that’s why when we create when I create, I get so lost in it. And and it just, it just feels good. Like why does it feel good? I don’t know. It just it does

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  50:46
Yeah, I really appreciate that. The energy of Creation, right, and how it has sort of an exponential ripple. Yeah, you’re making a lot of sense to me there about, you know how and this thing that feels good when you’re doing it, right. But then also has a, you know, an exponential feel good, right? For people that get to enjoy it. And also, even if you’re the only one that ever enjoys it right for the people around you who get to enjoy seeing a person fully express themselves, even for a period of time, right? Like that also, I think, really has a ripple through our families and friends, like the people that we’re in relationship when we’re in right relationship with our creative spirit. Right? I think we sort of are off gassing that into the air that everyone breathes. Yeah, I loved that. Thank you. Yeah, I am also I think I’m thinking of spiritual practices. And you introduce me to this idea. Both you and I share in common that we are recovering perfectionists, right. And so you shared this idea in your module of practicing feeling good enough, good enough for 15 to 30 seconds at a time. And when I heard that, I literally had to pause. I was like, This is revolutionary, right? It’s not this, like fake it till you make it. It’s not right. It’s really just like, feel it for a small moment, right? Like, it’s, you don’t even have to stay there. You just have to, like, introduce it to yourself. And so I wonder if you would tell us sort of where when you started doing this, where it came into your life and how or if I’m assuming it has been how it’s been transformational for you.

Gina Clark (she/her)  52:33
That is one of the Kaizen-Muse tools that we use. So that’s something that I learned from Jill. And it was also revolutionary for me, when I first heard it. Because I think as a perfectionist, that’s part of the problem is you never feel good enough, you never feel like you’ve done enough, you never feel like you’ve done it well enough. So it’s just, it’s just a magical bit of surrender, that, you know, even if you can’t, you can’t just be okay, like from now on, I’m just going to know that I’m good enough, it doesn’t work that way. But being able to just practice sinking into that feeling, even for five seconds to start with, and just see what happens. And even if you can’t, if that still feels like too much, then just think about acting as if you feel like you’re good enough. And just keep practicing that. And, you know, eventually, that’s what’s going to embed itself in your psyche instead of all of this negative self talk that we always tell ourselves but yeah, I love that. I mean, you can use that for anything too anything that doesn’t feel true to you. Just practice practice sinking into it for 10 or 15 seconds at a time.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  53:54
I love that invitation and yes how widely applicable it is. Yeah, I’m also I’m returning to this image of the bodyguard of the Muses, right. So like someone just sort of raising a shield like even for like 10 or 15 seconds for you to like reground yourself in being good enough I think is really powerful practice. I also really love this idea that you introduce of the credit report. So I am a compulsive to do list maker. I have an app on my phone. I love it. Still sometimes I feel compelled to make them in my journal and in other colors and on post it notes right and categorize them. And it does sort of bring me some joy because there’s a lot going on in my brain and I like to to get them out but it has also been problematic for me. I’ve certainly had therapists and friends recommended that maybe I shift to like a done list so that I could like celebrate that and that’s just not really ever like resonated for me but somehow when you introduce this idea of the credit report, maybe it appeals to that like really good student in me archetype, right? Like the it shifted for me. And I actually really enjoyed this process. So I’m wondering if you want to just give like a short teaser about what the credit report is, and where the idea comes from and then maybe, how long you’ve been working with it, and what shifted for you in that time?

Gina Clark (she/her)  55:23
Sure. So this is another Kaizen-Muse tool. And it’s, it’s just something to remind you of everything that you have accomplished, no matter how small, and I think, especially as perfectionists, but other people as well, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for everything that that we’ve done. So the credit report is just a beautiful, simple way to get down on paper everything that we’ve accomplished, and I get into it in the module, what types of things we’re looking at, and, and get into a little bit more what the credit report is, but it does it for me, it helps ground me. It helps all of that, you know, like that monkey brain, like I’ve got all of this and I’m not doing it or I didn’t do enough. It really helps me just come back to Earth and go, Ahh, I you know, I have done enough. I am enough it is that I am enough, again, I think is really at the crux of it. And yeah, it’s really it’s a really, really easy tool. But it’s it’s pretty transformative.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  56:39
I just really, I think what I like about it is the invitational language, right? Is that there is no do or done in it. Right? It is, like still actively happening, and you’re co-creating it still. And you’re also acknowledging like, I have done some things that are worth celebrating right now, regardless of how far they actually I guess it’s the small step thing again, right. And celebrating those small wins is not a thing that is my strong suit. And so I really enjoyed it as a practice to just start thinking about, like, you know, how can you like, you know, I also have, I worked in finance for many years. And so I have the image in my head of the FICO score meter, where it goes, and so like it like it ticks over and like stops at your credit score. And so for me, that’s also like, I’m just like, tick, tick, tick, ticking across. So it just it resonates for me in a couple of ways. I do have our closing question. But I also just wanted to take a pause for a moment and just check in and see if there’s anything that has surfaced for you that you want to share that maybe I didn’t know to ask about. But you’re like, oh, we should talk about.

Gina Clark (she/her)  58:00
I don’t know, I think we covered a lot of it. I’m I’m really excited for people to get into the modules. I think that, you know, like I said, anybody can get something out of it. You definitely don’t have to be an artist. Or think of yourself as an artist to get something out of it. I think it’s just, there are some wonderful tools in there for life that will help you hopefully live a bit more creative life as well. So yeah.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  58:32
Awesome. Thank you. So my closing question to you is, what’s your vision for a Radikal Life?

Gina Clark (she/her)  58:41
So I thought about this. And really what it comes down to, I think, for me is just being able to be myself. And that doesn’t sound very radical. But I think it really is because I mean, I think a lot of the the unease and unhappiness in the world are a bunch of people walking around, not in alignment with their true self. So, you know, the old cliche about peeling back the layers of the onion, I really feel like you know, as we move through life, and not all of us, but I feel like as I’m getting older, I’m getting closer and closer to really living as I truly am, you know, on the inside and living it on the outside. But it’s still a work in progress, for sure. I mean, it means that you’d have to be very vulnerable. But yeah, I would love to be able to get to a point where it doesn’t feel vulnerable and you know, you can just be who you are.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  59:54
I love how you speak about that as a process you’re growing into and I really love that I resonate with this idea of sort of having layers to peel back, right. And for me, so much of that has been about, like the things I’ve needed to unlearn, right, sort of, like we were talking about, particularly in this case with art, right, that it happens in a particular way and right. And so I love this idea that there is a space where we continue to move more and more into alignment with not only ourselves, but like the things that we are that like that self wants to express in the world. Right. So it’s like, you, I think, said this beautifully when you were talking about vulnerability, right? It is, it’s this sense of being grounded in ourselves, and also finding a way to get that self like, you know, forward facing, I guess maybe is the way I would say that. 

Gina Clark (she/her)  1:00:49
Yeah, yeah. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  1:00:50
Thanks so much for sharing that vision with us. And also, just for your time this evening, it’s really been a delight for me to get to hear about your experience, both in how you came to be more creative, but then also I got a real sense into like, how you channeled that into what you created for us. So thank you for that.

Gina Clark (she/her)  1:01:13
Thank you very much.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  1:01:16
Thank you for joining us, head over to our website at Radikal.Life to sign up for your free Radikal Life Starter Kit. Our website is R A D I K A L dot L I F E. The Radikal Life podcast is produced by me Marina Patrice Vare and edited by Cassidy Vare. Our theme music was created by Mark MeeZy. Radikal Life is a co-creation with Manjot Singh Khalsa and Radikal Healing. Connect with us on social media Radikal with a k. We’re on Instagram at Radikal underscore Life underscore 22 and Facebook at Radikal Life.

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