Friday, July 8, 2011

The Creative Beast Interview - Orly Avineri

Hello dear blog readers! I'm so excited to present today's interview - I've written about her quite a bit in the past few months - it's Orly Avineri!

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I've mentioned in a previous post how I met Orly at the Artful Journey Retreat, but one thing I didn't mention was how her class had some challenges throughout the duration of the retreat since it was meant to be OUTDOORS and it RAINED nearly all weekend!! I have a lot of respect for someone who can face such challenges and still have her students create amazing work*...

We happened to meet in the lunch room after the student "show and tell" and when I learned that she taught classes in her home, which is relatively close to me, I was VERY EXCITED! I've been taking art journal workshops with Orly since April and she will tell you that this excitement has not abated! ;)

You can certainly learn about her personal history on her "about me" page at her blog, but it really does not begin to capture her spirit - World Traveler (lived in Israel during her childhood and teen years, 10 years in the Netherlands, then came to America in 1990), always evolving Artist, a fabulous instructor and amazing hostess! If you ever have a chance to take a workshop with Orly - DO IT!!

Bright energy and smiling face - this is Orly CREATING!

Orly took a little time from her busy teaching schedule to share her thoughts on creativity. Thank you and welcome Orly! Let's begin...

Who first introduced you to creating? Was it a family member - a teacher? How did that person influence you?

It was a "situation" in my early childhood that introduced me to creating. A time when all that I knew seemed to be lost, but a notebook and a pencil seemed to always be easily found, when much alone time on my hands made me use them. A time fostering a deep need to create things out of nothings.

Spread # 126 - "Own Art" from March 2011 on Orly's blog...

What were your first creative actions that you remember? (Sewing, Dancing, Painting, etc?)

Using these notebooks and pencils to draw, doodle, and sketch what was right there in front of me, recording imaginative 'freedom maps' as I see them, and inventing fantastical worlds for me to be comfortably living in or escaping to.

Making art is a wonderful way to move through troublesome times and sketching is simple, requiring only some paper and a pencil! I'm glad you turned to art to help you through your difficult situation Orly - it has certainly reaped some amazing benefits in your life!

Do you have a favorite medium to create in? If so, what is it?

Art journaling is my thing. I'm passionate about making a tactile image that contains visual and textual mixed-media elements in my physical journal, then scanning it into Photoshop, further 'working on it' with computer graphic tools and applying it into a digital format to be posted on my blog, to be later accompanied by my words. That's what I love doing. I love combining all the mediums I ever created in into one medium, that I don't have to choose one or the other, that all is incorporated and integrated and possible.

Well, it's certainly clear that art journaling is what you love doing Orly! So many rich layered images can be found on your blog... and it's great when you can combine more than one style of art in your work...

Spread #123 - "Journaling and Exuberance" from March 2011...

How do you feel when you are creating in your chosen medium?

Liberated, expressive, smart, inspired, lively, light, gentle, loveful, playful, ageless, vibrant, layered, deep, mindful, forgiving, abundant, present, valuable, complicated yet simple, out of control yet in control. I like me when I am all of the above and more, all at once.

WOW! It sounds like you are feeling VIBRANTLY ALIVE when you are creating Orly!

Spread #78 - "Giving Thanks to Words" - as we can see, Orly has a GREAT way with words!

What is the greatest joy you derive from creating? Accomplishment? The process? Sharing it with others? Please explain…

I've been working in the creative field as a fine artist, graphic designer, illustrator, muralist, textile designer, and a mixed-media artist for a very long time now. What I love about art journaling is that it is an all-inclusive art form where everyone is welcome and is warmly invited to partake, that it focuses on the journey and not on the destination. An art journal lies somewhere between a diary hidden under a mattress and a painting showcased in a gallery. This is where my comfort zone is and I believe that this is the appeal that art journaling has for many individuals. The interplay between it being concealing and revealing, being private and public, an alone activity or a collaborative adventure and the relations between boundless art methods and materials has magical and wondrous properties for me.

Do you think a creative life comes from ideas, doing or being?

From all of these, and from so many other obvious and more obscure sources. Above all, a creative life for me derives from pure necessity...not being able or wanting to live differently...yearning to live originally.

Spread #1 - "Vroom" from Orly's very first blog post in June 2008 - what a great mission statement!

How do you express your creative life? Is it integrated in your daily life or is it a separate part of your life?

In general I believe that a truly creative life is manifested in EVERYTHING and is not fragmented. One doesn't even have to be an artist to have a creative life. It's in my attitude toward the mornings, when I wake up, toward my days, places, people, the worlds around me, within me, and toward worlds much farther away from me. Foremost, a creative life is in my attitude toward my mortality. I create my life as I live it.

I agree that one does not have to be an ARTIST to be creative, it's definitely in one's approach to all facets of living, whether it's clothing style, cooking or one's view of the world...

Can you think of a time when someone else’s creativity fed you? What was that like?

I cannot think of a specific time, as every day countless individuals' creativity feeds me. For example, these thoughtful and thought evoking questions asked by you feed me today. I crave to be fed by others' creativity so I look for it and make sure I find it, in new and unexpected places everyday. I am indeed a starving artist.

Orly, I feel honored that you consider this interview to be source of creative inspiration. And I have to say that I absolutely LOVE the way you have re-framed the old phrase of "starving artist"! From now on, I will be PROUD to call myself a "Starving Artist" as I too crave beauty and visual inspiration every single day and I just can't get enough ;)

What is the most significant creative event in your life to date? Was it a defining moment? Was it a milestone or a lifetime goal?

I've been journaling for about three years now. What got me deeply into art journaling was my blog. The routine process of making an image that contains visual and textural elements, applying it into a digital spread, posting it on my blog, and naming it a journal entry, is quite similar to the process of keeping a real journal. Soon distinctions between virtual journaling and actual journaling have been blurred for me. Through art journaling and blogging I have gained the clearest, sweetest form of identity.

Do you think it’s necessary/important to be a self-sustaining artist?

Not necessarily for everyone. But for me, after years of realizing other people's creative visions, becoming a self-sustaining artist was essential. At some point I understood that it is time for me to be all that I can be, something I couldn't possibly be at 'work'. Being a self-sustaining artist became the only way to be, a need to evolve into a whole, to unite all contradicting aspects of who I am into one liberated, meaningful life. True contentment.

What is it like to be a self-sustaining artist?

There is nothing quite like it. To be able to teach, to help others find their long-lost creativity, recognize it, explore it, and deepen it, is purely magical. And through the teaching of others, to enrich your own creative process, is absolutely a beautiful thing. Now to be able to put food on my family's table through such practices, that's just fantastic. Honestly, it fills me with daily pride and gratitude.

As someone who has been present in your workshops, I can attest to your amazing abilities in helping others uncover that long lost creativity, Orly. It's great to be part of the give and take that happens in your workshops and I feel lucky indeed to witness the magic that your life has become as it INSPIRES me to move toward the same goal...

Spread #3 - "Mapping Me" from July 2008...

Is your life different from the time when you worked for others?

Completely. There is absolutely nothing like having 100% creative freedom at all times.

I hear you Orly! I've had such freedom in the past and I'm definitely working on having that kind of freedom in my life again as I move forward and away from the world of 9 - 5...

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Many thanks to Orly Avineri for this interview! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it! Be sure to stop by Orly's blog where you can find the following information and inspiration:

Her workshop schedule - be sure to look at the links in the right sidebar for workshop details
Her photo gallery of past workshops - she's posted one of my pictures of the worktable!

* - I will be sharing my images from the retreat in the next few days as registration day for Artful Journey 2012 is next Tuesday! Some of my images will include finished work from Orly's students. Perhaps, the images will entice you to join in the fun and magic that is Artful Journey =-)


Cindy Woods O'Leary said...

Great interview Monica--I am so inspired by Orly and the way she lives her life with such passion and creativity. And thanks for the mention about AAJ; it's going to be another wonderful journey!

the GyPsY said...

great interview and very inspiring thoughts. Thanks for this.

Kathryn Hansen said...

wonderful interview! orly is very real and authentic to me.

love to hear creative people living their inspiring!!

oneartistjournal said...

Dear Monica, thank you for presenting me with such keen questions and through them allowing me to find new ways of expressing 'used' thoughts and emotions. I enjoyed reading your spirited commentary. You are well on your way to achieving the creative life you so yearn for.

apaperbear said...

What an awesome, awesome interview of Ms. Avineri! I learned new things I did not know about her!

Your quite the interviewer! You did an awesome job!!!

PS. I added you to my blog links to follow your exploits!

quinncreative said...

Thanks for doing the interview, Monica--really good questions! And thanks to Orly for answering them so thoughtfully and thoroughly. I'm taking a class from Orly at JournalFest this October, and can't wait!

Seth said...

I love Orly's work and her spirit. So it was especially satisfying to read her words and learn a bit more about her. Thank you both.