Living the Creative Life: Editor’s Letter and TOC

To craft this issue, I asked four artists to choose another artist they know and have a conversation. I offered them a list of questions and asked them to record themselves and send the audio file. The resulting stories are edited transcripts of those hour-long conversations.

Co-Editor Lydia Moran

The aim of this issue was not to discuss art itself. Rather, we were interested in exploring what it means to live a creative life, how and why one decides to do that, and how a committed art-making practice influences one’s way of living.

Artists asked one another: Did you have any assumptions about the life of an artist before you were one? Do you make art for a particular community? What role do you think your identities — however you want to define those — play in your work? How does money impact your creative life? How do you rest?

I was fascinated hearing different responses to the same questions. For some people, making art full-time affords them more time to create. For others, tying livelihood to the artistic process is stifling. The question about identity was always an interesting one. Most agreed that making work is, as Valerie Oliveiro put it, “an earnest inquiry into the deep self ” beyond the flattened labels society can promote.

I hope that the warmth from these conversations can still be felt in their written form. I wish readers were able to hear the tea being made, the roaring laughter, and the way these friends graciously helped each other think deeply about the inner workings of their lives.

Sometimes we think of artists as a unique class of people — outsiders compelled by a burning passion. I think that can be true, but I also believe that everybody has an innate creativity. Making a life that feels satisfying requires the same skills that artists use to express themselves: curiosity over fear and consistency over perfection.

We are settling into the darkest time of the year. Many of us are grief stricken thinking of those who are suffering throughout Palestine and Israel. It might feel comfortable to tune out that part of us that is sensitive to suffering. But I think it is clear from the following conversations that although resting is an integral part of any process, it does not always entail numbing. Rest allows us to feel the darkness that lets us see light.

A note on terminology: In the following stories, several artists self-identify as “neurodivergent.” The term is generally used to reframe certain developmental “disorders” as normal variations in the brain.

Table of Contents

Artists on Artists:

Camp & Kids Guide: The Awesome Power of Awe

Pets Guide: Feline Power

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