Here we are, once again at that time of year where we remember to be thankful for the little, big and in-between things in our lives. Some of us take the entire week or just one day to give "thanks" and recognize that we may in fact be lucky to be alive. It's that time of year to see the glass as "half full". The arts are no exception to this onslaught of gratitude as artist, musicians and creative thinkers alike thank the stars, their moms, the universe and evolution for the talents they have. Last year I tweeted, "It would be great if everyone was as 'thankful' everyday as they are grateful this 1 day! My glass is always full" - and you can quote me on that.

I am sincerely optimistic and generally take a light-hearted approach to everything that I do. My art can be dark and seem cataclysmic at times; however that’s just an expression of my creative genius. We use art to express our emotions, political views and love for others. Our art can be a movement a message or even a way of life. Whether you are adding the pepper-spraying cop, Lt. John Pike to masterpieces simply to express your outrage or even if you’re just uploading a picture to “{I Can Has Cheezburger – chances are you can see something in the way of hope for the future.

I see hope. I wish others well while giving, sharing and creating unconditionally. I love my children, my family, my job and my friends. I make art not war. I give art as gifts and have the gift of art. This holiday take the time to share you expressive creative freedom with the world. Craft something dark or mysterious, political, humorous or beautiful and share it with everyone. Offer up a freebie to your family and friends. Take the role of the child making a birthday card and make something for the ones you love. The gesture will inspire and it just feels fantastic to give a little piece of ‘you’ to the ones you love.

So this holiday I’ll be sitting down to my vegetarian feast thinking about all the wonderful things I can do for you (the world) to make it more wonderful. I’ll start with art and a smile. How about 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.

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...

 

Freedom


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.

We all have different techniques to get our imaginative juices flowing... And we all feel at times that the world of art is designed specifically to create roadblocks, walls and barriers of various kinds. The artistic process can most definitely flow effortlessly, but sometimes we need a little push and some encouragement to unleash the torrent of creativity locked within us. I’ll share with you some techniques I use and you can share with me your fabulous art.

The first thing you have to do is remember that just because you have a creative block, it doesn’t mean that your talent, drive, determination or creative genius is in serious question. It just means that you are like everyone else who lives in this world of distractions. (Not a bad place to live when you really think about it...) But here are a few things you can do to beat your creative block:

  1. Begin. Whatever it is you are doing, whether you are writing, drawing, painting, creating a video montage of your favorite 80’s moments... Start it! If you are stuck at the beginning, just start jotting down notes, lines, paint, etc to get started. You will be amazed at how your work can evolve and transform into something you never expected, just by going through the motions.
  2. Relax. Bet you tried that already, right? The last thing you want to hear is that you should relax now, but you really should. Try meditation, try yoga (a wonderful moving meditation) – it will help if your mind is calm.
  3. Do something boring. Sometimes you have to step away from your project to regain perspective, determination and drive. Walking away, watching a documentary or playing angry birds can make it easy to come back to your art.
  4. Music. Listen to – no scratch that, absorb music. Writing a screenplay? Throw some dramatic soundtrack in to inspire your scenes. Painting? Play music that suits your theme – for instance, I was painting a cactus and listening to mariachi. I never painted so fast in my life.
  5. Switch mediums/art forms. Writing a novel? Try drawing. Sculpting? Play an instrument. Switching art forms will allow you to continue the creative process and open you back up to your originally inspired piece.
  6. Location. Change your location to change your perspective. You would be amazed at how moving your art space or just turning around will help. Stand on a desk and see the world in a new way. Hey - it worked for Robin Williams.
  7. Sleep. You read that correctly. Sleep on it. Take time away from your project, give it no thought whatsoever and rest. (Unless you have a deadline, then stop reading this and get back to work!) Seriously, rest will open doors to new worlds – and sleep will allow for dreams. Don’t underestimate the power of your subconscious mind! Dreams sometimes tell the most fascinating stories.

The most important thing to remember is to not be too hard on yourself. Everyone experiences a creative block at some point in time. Don’t be afraid of imperfection. The universe is in perfect harmony thanks to imperfection. In fact, nowhere in all of nature and physics will you find perfection – so you can just toss that out the proverbial window now. Embrace imperfection and the moments where you can’t think of one brush stroke or word to write. It’s during these times that some of our best works are born.

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.

I have always been drawn to the open air, the beautiful outdoors, and the vastness of natural wonders around me. I am known for taking (literally) hundreds of photographs on a hike and occasionally picking up a pencil or brush to capture the beauty I witness during my adventures. What better place is there to do so than Sedona - and what better time of year than October? The air is crisp, the evenings are cooler and the night sky is clear and expansive. Perhaps that’s why so many artists flock to Sedona this time of year to indulge in the art of plein air painting.

 

I personally witnessed a couple dozen spectacular artists set up their box easels and canvases to capture a small window in time this past weekend for the Sedona Plein Air Festival’s Main Street Paint Out. Using everything from paint, to pastels, they quickly inspired tourists, artists, and children with their talent. I have to admit, they even inspired me to rush home at the end of the day to dust off my canvas and lay down a fresh coat of paint as well! And nothing beats that first fresh smell of oils on my palette.  But better than just paint to a canvas is the amazing experience of painting outdoors.

 

Artists have been painting outdoors for centuries, but painting ‘en plein air’ (in the open air) only became popular in the mid 19th century when paints in tubes were introduced. Painting outdoors was even easier with the invention of the French Box Easel, too. So, today’s artists trek into the wild or even to backyard views around Sedona to capture the brilliant landscape with similar kits more often. And so should you!

 

I say everyone, “Take to the hills rocks!” Grab your pencils, pastels, oils, acrylics, cameras or clay and immerse yourself in the beauty of Sedona. Take this time to create, capture and share the beauty of the landscape through your art and craft. You don’t have to be an award winning artist to break out the easel and paints in the open sun. Don’t be afraid to express yourself outdoors among other admirers of beauty. There’s a whole world out there, waiting for you to paint it.

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.

When I’m not marketing for the Sedona Arts Center, or painting, drawing, writing and designing – I sometimes play photographer. I’m pretty good at it in fact and I’ve even been called a ‘professional’. Over a decade ago I accidentally stumbled upon a fantastic technique and created an entire series, a few books and show out of it. It was called Nemesis. Using only light and motion, I captured the doppelganger, the polar opposite within my models unique personalities and offered a haunting series of photographs to the world. I was even dubbed the “King of Halloween” after that show. Fantastic! But today, I’m working on something a little lighter...

 

Within my practices of art, writing, and yoga – I find myself connected to the term Bodhisattva. In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is either an enlightened existence or an enlightenment-being. I’ve also seen it as "One who is destined for enlightenment but wants to take all beings along..." It is in stark contrast to my original Nemesis Collection which was a creative visual project that sought to create haunting images that portrayed the darkness within each of us.  I suppose living in Sedona really does me a lot of good, because I connect very well with this here.

 

So I decided that it was high time that I created the nemesis to my nemesis – a collection of lighter, inner-spirit-type images to contrast the former duality of my most illustrious project. However, even with my usual determination, I realized that with having a family and a lot on my plate, financially this project was almost completely impossible. Until I remembered Kickstarter – the little-known resource for artists like you.

 

Kickstarter is focused on creative projects. They are a great way for artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, writers, illustrators, explorers, curators, performers, and others to bring their projects, events, and dreams to life. It’s all-or-nothing funding, so each project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands. For instance - my Bodhisattva project will only be funded if my project goal is reached by Friday Oct 21, 3:14pm MST.  Here’s where I say ‘act now’.

 

(...or perhaps click here: http://kck.st/pdRRYL)

 

We all have goals that sometimes are unattainable in our eyes thanks to circumstance, fate or just simple old fashioned luck. The point is – there are resources, people and ways to make your dreams come true. Of course, not all projects get funded, but that’s when we change our attitude, no? The glass is always full as far as I’m concerned. Everything may not exactly happen for a ‘reason’ – but everything that happens can have a reason given to it. So stay positive, try hard and dream big. I always do.

 

Oh, and back my project!

 

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.

I originally began this week’s blog with eloquent and descriptive words describing my recent experience at a casting party. I started writing about the ubiquitous rumble and vibration from the underground furnace; watching the large graphite crucible slowly lifted away from the yellow-green flame... But all that escapes me now as the global community comes together in remembrance of an innovative champion.

 

We are all truly humbled by the passing of the iconic visionary and co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs.  “The world has lost an amazing human being” Apple wrote, and they couldn’t be more correct. The internet is alive with photos, recollections, notes, blogs, articles, tweets and status updates in memory of a creative genius. I’ve often spoken of the fantastic simplicity and creative artistry of Apple and the products and the global community agrees. The departure of such an inspiring mentor to so many has affected us on the deepest levels.

 

I see clearly what I spoke of last week. I see communities and individuals coming together as one through social media and their connections to each other simply grow stronger. Many, who never knew him in person even, consider this passing as great as losing a family member or dear friend. Our ties to each other become more evident through our creative expressions and what we offer the world. Mr. Jobs offered a unique vision that he was not afraid to share and the world loved him for it.

 

The ‘art’ of Apple is in the hands and homes of millions of human beings. The sleek machinery has been a staging point for other innovative and creative individuals to piggy-back on for years. The technology is an art form in itself in design and appeal. Millions of artists rely on their devices (as do I) to create, express and share their visions. Between my children’s iPods, my iMac the iPad and iPhone I wish someone would buy me, my house alone uses their products every day. I edit my photography projects, design my websites and create limitless art almost daily thanks to Apple. Not to mention the billions of apps that have been downloaded to date - giving artists a chance to create new mediums, from games, to educational apps, to ways to open up to the world of art like never before. We are all connected in a way to Steve Job’s original vision, by one degree of separation.

 

What I’m getting at is simple. Community is global. Creativity is global. Art is everywhere, within everyone and a part of our inner being. We are creators and inventors and admirers. We live and die and leave behind a piece of our visions, no matter who we are. We will always be remembered: each and every one of us. Our legacy is the shared space and community we reside in. We are all in a sense: one. So share your art and your memories with everyone you know, so I can remember you as you remember me.

 

“Remembering That You Are Going To Die Is The Best Way I Know To Avoid The Trap Of Thinking You Have Something To Lose” - Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

 

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.