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Earlier this week I wrote about my creative process, which is fantastic for starting the masterpieces that will undoubtedly be unearthed one thousand years from now and studied by anthropologists. Today I would like to take one step back and discuss creative freedom. We all love freedom - free speech; free rides; freedom of or from religion; free shipping; free opinions; and even free ice-cream is always good. But as artists we sometimes find that it's a rare commodity when trying to sell our art because freedom always has its price.


In ancient times, a quarter of a century ago, I was painting anything my pigments would stick to. I created elaborate murals and works that were grand in design and magnitude. Night clubs and 50’s themed restaurants didn’t stand a chance against the compressed air that pelted their walls with my colors. I scaled scaffolding and extension ladders, repelled from water towers seven stories high and was once almost blown away by hurricane force winds. I loved creating, painting and sharing my work - but there was one huge problem...



Any artist knows that you have to compromise every now and then. When working on a commissioned piece we (more often than not) have to surrender to uncreative, sometimes ridiculous design concepts imagined by left-brained individuals that needed to hire us in the first place. These can range from cartoon elephants ice-skating on the moon to hockey players riding horses (no lie). Or perhaps you have heard the stories of screenwriters’ works being shredded to pieces by producers who just had to have aliens in the film. All in all – the process of commissioned work can be detrimental to our creative souls and in my opinion, does no one any good.


So I say – BE FREE! Strike down preposterous requests and stand up for your rights as creative souls! Be critical and let them know that their idea is not in alignment with your process. Say no to ice-skating mammals and yes to your vision. You’re an artist! Demand nothing more than the chance to share your vision and design the way it was first intended to be by your beautiful right brain. Compromise where you must: but let your foresight lead the way.


And to those who commission us artists... remember why you hired us. We are the creators, the visionaries, the masters of our trade. You may know what ‘sells’ but we know beauty in a way that runs deep within our very being. Our words, music, and art are what make up the world around you. Give us freedom and a chance to let our spirits shine. Leave the art to us and we’ll leave those numbers to you. Because you most certainly won’t be disappointed when you let a true artist spill their vision onto the world around you.

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

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About our Blogger


"Kelli Klymenko is an artist, storyteller, photographer, teacher, yogi, husband, father, science aficionado, marketing director for Sedona Arts Center and free thinker - experiencing life in one of the most inspiring and picturesque places on earth with his fabulous wife and children. “Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.” –"


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