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  • July10th

    World Body Paint Festival 2013I was absolutely thrilled to attend the 16th annual World Body Painting Festival this July 3-7th in Portschach, Austria. The festival takes place around a huge clean alpine lake with charming hotels and lot’s of greenery.

    During the WBF Academy portion of the week I took a fabulous intensive course with Bella Volen called ‘The Art of Body Painting’. She did an extensive slideshow of the history of body paint around the world and the agents of it’s resurgence in the 1950’s-80’s, as well as the current state of the field. After a live demonstration of her paint techniques, we were invited to choose a challenging image from a large selection and try to mimic it on skin.

    WBF Body Paint Workshop

    There was a fun party called the Body Circus on July 3rd at a nearby castle estate. There was fabulous shopping to be done as all the major European body art brands represented their products and some American companies as well. I added some great new products to my already huge toolkit.

    Human Décor Artists from 40 countries come to compete for the World Championship title in 3 Categories– Brush & Sponge, Airbrush, and Special Effects.

    We were able to watch the artists as they worked on their masterpieces in cute little tents all along the lake- and then see the results showcased on the main stage at night.

    I was able to get a lot of wonderful images. I have posted a gallery of over 150 images on the Become the Art Facebook Page.
    To see these pics- go to: https://www.facebook.com/BecomeTheArt

    Airbrush Body Paint model at World Body Paint Festival. Photo by Audette Sophia

  • January15th

    15 SOURCES OF INSPIRATION

    There are many Wells of Inspiration available to us at any given time. When I refer to Inspiration, I mean the state of mind that can lead to great art, and also to that feeling that makes one want to commit to living their life as a work of Art. Not only a means to an ends but a goal unto itself- to live an Inspired Life! To support that noble goal I have gathered together this list of 15 places that you may go when you could use a dip in Inspiration’s Well.

    1.) NATURE

    Get out of the house and out of your head. Go for a walk in a park, or better yet go hiking in a wild place. Sit or lay under a tree and contemplate it for 30 minutes. Sit at the ocean or on a mountain or in a garden and let yourself be reminded of the vast scale and intricate intelligence of these beautiful ecosystems. Nature is a great source of renewal, calm, beauty, and inspiration. I have found the most simple and profound universal laws so eloquently embodied and expressed through nature. Not to mention the beauty, geometry, color, patterns…

    2.) YOUR OWN MUSIC COLLECTION

    Whatever your current mood or state of mind, you can prescribe yourself music that will help. Uplifting if you are down, emotive if you need to wallow in it a bit, powerful if you are gearing up to take on the world… Look for singer/songwriters who have a quirky, profound and unique way of seeing life and let their perspectives enrich your own. Bored of your own music collection? Then ask your friends (the ones with good taste) to burn you a couple of CD’s, and reciprocate the favor. Use free tools like Spotify and  Pandora.com to show you music similar to what you know you like. Bounce around on cdbabay.com or MySpace or Itunes and add new elements to your musical apothecary.

    3.) BOOKS

    Chances are you have some gems sitting in your shelves gathering dust. Try closing your eyes and pointing to 1 book at random and reading excerpts from it. Scan your bookshelf for titles that ‘jump out’ at you at any given time. Need new books? Do the above at your good friends bookshelf and ask to borrow the jumpiest ones.
    Coffee table photo books and Poetry Compilations are great places to get quick snippets of beautiful images or words to touch you.

    4.) ONLINE VIDEOS- Vimeo & Youtube

    Write a list of 3 things you have always wanted to know more about or see more of. Now go onto youtube.com and type in these words or phrases. I am not a big tv watcher and have been known to lose a couple hours geeking out on YouTube watching videos about obscure interests like asian fan dancing and body percussion. I encourage you to do the same and you can make a free account and add the gems of your search onto your favorites so that you have a customized gallery of inspiring videos on call at any time.

    5.) INSIDE YOURSELF

    The words carved in stone at the entrance of the great Oracle of Delphi said “Know Thyself”. Our lives these days are so cluttered with media, communication, opinions and information. It can easily lead to a state of overwhelmed over-stimulation, which can be hard on our nervous systems and our creativity. It is hard to hear the voice of the muse amongst all the clammer and static. It is very healthy to practice shutting out the worlds input and listening to your own. This turning in can be achieved in many ways. Some recommended methods include meditation, journal writing, a fast from speaking, or a self-reflection retreat. Though I did have a consistent mediation practice in one chapter of my life, my all time favorite most trusted self-reflection tool is journal writing. Whatever I am going through, I can clarify, process and explore it in the ripe space between me and the page. I could write a hundred testimonials about the great merits of journal writing. Experiment and find the methods that work for you to  cultivate and deepen the connection to your inner voice, your essential self.

    6.) MOVIES

    Watch movies that take place in the time period that most inspires you. Write down what it is about that time that you love and how you can bring more of its qualities into your life. Watch movies from other cultures, independent films, and anything soul searching or epic. If there is a character that you are inspired by, reflect on what exactly it is about them and how you can strengthen those qualities in yourself.

    7.) THE WORLD WIDE WEB

    The most epic and inspiring artists in the world have left gems for you in a giant web (known as the internet). When you have the time, let yourself follow the golden thread (of your own intrigue) through the maze of the  web. Start by typing in some word or phrase that seems compelling to you in the moment and see what interesting places your key words take you. Keep following the thread of inspiration and keep a sticky note or word document or evernote open to pull url’s, quotes, or ideas from off the sites you find. That way if you stumble upon treasure, you can mark it on a map so you can return to it next time you are in need of an Inspiration treasure hunt. You can go blog hopping or Google images hopping or get lost in the albums on Pinterest and log many an inspired hour finding endless images and sites to inspire your artistry. (then don’t forget to give some/any expression to the inspiration you gathered.)

    8.) ROLE MODELS

    It can be incredibly motivating and inspiring to see someone who has made great achievements in a art/path/career that you aspire to. No matter how quirky your calling, there is a small or large handful of people out their with a similar calling who are some decades ahead of you. With the internet it is now much easier to track these human beacons down. I have a word file called “Role Models” and in it I clip a bio, summary, and web site of anyone who’s career I find myself jealous of.  When I go through a phase of amnesia about my life work, I look at these files and these living examples help remind me what is worth working for. If you are very lucky, you may get to have a personal relationship with one of these role models, which could become an apprenticeship or mentorship. If you have that kind of relationship, make sure to cherish it and find ways of feeding it. Dead, alive, accessible or virtual, role models can serve as a sort of measuring stick to hold yourself against to inspire you to grow to greater heights.

    9.) YOUR MEMORY- via your JOURNAL

    I have kept a journal since I was only 8 years old. On rare occasions I go into my cherishables box and read over my thoughts and captured memories from my childhood. But more often than that, I will glaze over my more recent journals, and mine them for their treasures. It can be insightful and inspiring to relive past joys and to see the connecting threads that run through the years. What has been compelling to you throughout the various phases of your life? Where have you changed and where have you remained much the same? Unlike skimming through other people’s writings in search for inspiration, going through your own will bring you to content that is insightfully reflective of you in your uniqueness. If you don’t have journals, you can lay down in a hammock with a little digital audio recorder and scan your memories for experiences and stories that stand out. Be sure to capture the lessons you learned, so that you (and possibly someone else) will benefit from your experiential wisdom down the road.

    10.) SPIRITUALITY/FAITH

    Regardless of the form or depth of your spiritual beliefs, they can be a source of comfort and inspiration. If you belong to a religion and church, get more involved in the church and in reading the texts sacred to it. If you are open to different traditions, then delve into some study of the words of devotion and faith in different cultures. Mystical poetry, (such as Hafiz, Rumi, Mirabai, Goethe, etc…), psalms, spiritual novels, and devotional song books can all provide a nice taste of spiritual inspiration. Reading about or listening to people who have devoted their lives to service of God/Creator/Spirit can give us a perspective that can uplift our own motivations and aspirations. Wherever you feel closest to the sacred, go to that experience and use the energy you find there to fuel your work in the world.

    11.) COLLAGE or VISION BOARD

    Collect and acquire as many magazines as you can. Pick a rainy or uninspired day and go through them seeking any image that strikes your fancy. Immediately cut out anything that strikes you in any way and gather a nice big pile. Once you have extracted the juice from your magz, recycle the husk and create a nice file or large envelope for your chosen images. Play with arranging them into relationship on paper or on a chair or table or chest. When you have found a compelling arrangement, get out the glue and viola- you have a collage. You can make a themed collage, such as one for healing or for reminding you of a specific goal, sort of a visual affirmation. You can also make a vision board that includes words and images representing your key goals for the year, and you will be amazed by the manifestation power of clearly identifying what you want and regularly anchoring it in your consciousness.  Place these creations in a highly visible place where you know you will take in their symbolic messages often.

    12.) THE LIBRARY

    There are these magical buildings in almost every town where the fruits of the best intellects and imaginations of multiple eras is available for free. In the last couple years I rediscovered how awesome libraries really are. Your local library is not just a great source of books on almost any topic imaginable, (who’s merits I already covered in #3) but also of magazines, periodicals, very cool oversized reference books, and often cd’s and dvd’s. Not all libraries are created equal, so I seek out the ones that do actually inspire me. The quiet is also very peaceful and makes for a good sanctuary for getting research and work done. The first month of writing my poetry book I would go to the best library in my county and force myself to focus on the book for at least an hour. (that sounds like nothing, I know, but at that time my one pointed focus muscle was so flabby that 1 hour was considered an achievement) If you find yourself suddenly compelled by some left field topic, you can go to the library and borrow some books on it. Like a search engine but more tangible, and cheaper than an amazon.com addiction, believe me.

    13.) SURVEY THE GREATS OF YOUR ARTISTIC FORM(S)

    You can get an easy inspiration boost by letting your mind dwell on the “greats” of your art form(s). Seek to be reminded of those who have reached great heights of acclaim and achievement with their skill . If you had a class that did this in the past, track down the textbook or syllabus and re-familiarize yourself. If you have never gone on a quest to expose yourself to the masters of their/your craft, I recommend it. Be careful though, because sometimes looking up to “experts” and “masters” can lead to looking down on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for being where you are. Do get inspired by where you can be by examples from where others have gone.

    14.) GO TO THE THEATER, DAHLING…

    Give yourself the treat of going out for a night at the theater, or to a dance performance. There is something about sitting in a theater witnessing live acting or dancing that t.v. and even movies don’t compare to. Dance and theater companies work very hard and could use your support. Keep your eye out for interesting live performances coming through your area. Dress up and bring a date or great friend. Chat about it afterwards in a late night café and make a night of it.

    15.) YOUR OWN INSPIRATION FILES

    When you do have a lot of great inspiring ideas- write them down! If you have too many to reasonably keep track of (like me) put them in an Idea Book. Collect your snippets into files.  I highly recommend that you make at least 2 files labeled Inspiration- one on your computer and one on your desk. Then anytime an image or article or news online or in a magazine strikes your fancy, you have the perfect place to put it. Then on the days when you really need it, you have your very own personalized well of inspiration to dip into. In fact, you can add this article to your inspiration file and pull out my tips at a time when you could use some ideas of where to get your mojo back. I use Pinterest and Evernote for more visual cataloging of sites and things that inspire me.

    If you have other sources/ideas… please leave them in the comments!

    By Audette Sophia in 2009 and edited a bit just now in 2013.
    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2392351
  • September29th

    Costume Closet

    I have been playing dress up pretty much my whole life.

    I have been being paid to play dress up for about 10 years now.
    (I’m a performer, stilter, & face painter)

    My inner child is thrilled about it.

    Dressing up in costumes is fun, creative, and occasionally truly glamorous, tranformational or therapeutic.

    I go out in public in costumes on a regular basis. I love Halloween because everyone else shifts shapes and comes to the party as something new (& hopefully) interesting. So maybe you are not a dress up type but you just want some ideas for Halloween costumes so you don’t feel left out. Or perhaps you are a clothes horse and want to up your game in terms of costuming yourself.

    THE TIPS

    1.) Choose a character direction that is currently genuinely inspiring to you.

    It could be compellingly attractive or compellingly disturbing, but it should be compelling. If it is tired, or more true to the old you, it won’t make you come alive when you wear it. If it doesn’t have juice for you, you won’t really rock it

    2.) If you don’t have a great idea, use your friends.
    If you are drawing a blank then make a brainstorm game out of it with some friends and bounce off each others ideas until you get one that makes you really excited. Or you could ask everyone you know what their all time best Halloween costumes were, and then just steal your favorite idea. (provided it meets tip 1 criteria)

    2.) Give it time. Don’t wait till just before the party/gig/event to pull it together.

    If you know you are going out for Halloween or are invited to a masquerade ball or need to pull a _____ themed costume out of the hat for an event soon to come, give yourself as much time as possible to daydream ideas, shop at stores, yard sales & thrift stores, and pull it together. This way you won’t feel stressed and be tempted to sucker out. This way the magic and synchronicity have time to help you get it together. (costume fairy’s do exist!)

    3.) Strive for Originality. Don’t go for a made in China ‘costume in a bag’.

    Oh it can be tempting to go online or sneak into some halloween superstore and just grab yourself one of those one size fits all costumes in a bag. If you do really want to be a sexy nurse or a vampire or a pirate or some other trendy character- find a way to do it so that you don’t look like the other 20 people at the party who bought the same cheap-o costume. Browse google images for inspiration. Repurpose fabrics & clothes in new ways. Bribe a friend who can sew to actually make you something. It is worth the effort to not look like you came off the assembly line.

    4.) It is all about the Face Paint and the Attitude.
    If your face paint looks great and you are totally in character, it can make up for a shabby costume. It goes a long way to actually try to be the character your costume is indicating. Get into it. Have a different accent and do things you wouldn’t normally do. That is a huge part of the point of costumes in the first place. Intimidated by the face paint part of this tip? Find a friend who is good at it or look up videos on you tube. (or hire someone like me:))

    5.) Bring a Prop and have a Schtick. *
    This is crucial for having a fabulous time in your getup and contributing greatly to the overall social dynamic. You will have a lot more fun if your character has some sort of playful gimmick or way to engage other party goers. IDEAS & GENERAL EXAMPLES: If you are a geisha, bring a fan and cool down the sweaty folks on the dance floor. If you are a giant banana, bring a banana and tell people they have a phone call on it. PERSONAL EXAMPLES: I was once a princess of hearts and I went around painting hearts on people with my red lip liner. Last year for Halloween I was a genie and I had this super cool lamp filled with yummy oils and I asked people to touch the lamp and make a wish and they smelled the oils and closed their eyes and made their wish and I told them it would be granted. This was infinitely more amusing than just wandering around looking like a genie. It is all about interaction. Schtick Schtick Schtick.

    So, I hope this helps and I hope you have fun creating  another costume for your arsenal.

  • January22nd

    Artists are known for being the pioneering out of the box types. But then so many find themselves in a frustratingly small competitive mini world going for the same gigs or galleries as their counterparts. Lack of inspiration and lack of compensation are two of the biggest pitfalls to avoid while we adventure down an artists path. With so much pulling back and shrinking going on these days, I think we creative types need to stretch out and think BIGger.

    Expanding the sphere of our art is good not only for the creative stimulation the challenge brings, but also for the new sources of income it can generate. In a nutshell, splashing out of traditional containers can be both fun and profitable.

    Well the visual artist’s primary canvas is the human eye and perception/imagination field.
    The paper and easel and computer screen are common containers for that art, and yet in being small squares, they have their limitations.

    EXAMPLES of CANVAS EXPANSION FOR VISUAL ARTISTS:
    Tattoo Art, Body Painting, Face Painting, Designing Fashion, Painting Murals, Caricature Sketches, Graffiti Art, Air Brushing clothes and walls and people, Silk Screening, Live Painting at music shows, painting pregnant women’s bellies, drawing your dream home on your lover’s back and taking a picture of it, decorating cakes, doing custom signs for local small businesses…

    Musicians primary canvas is the human ear and the emotional and social field.
    The live show and the compact disc or mp3 are the traditional containers for this audible art.

    EXAMPLES OF CANVAS EXPANSION FOR MUSICIANS
    Play in mental hospitals or old people’s homes, teach kids in schools or private lessons, collaborate with other artists on a large public art project, create a music therapy project at a local childrens hospital, go in a tunnel and record your most heartfelt music and sell it to gardeners to play to their plants, make fun little snippets of music for commercials, ring tones, your answering machine…

    Performing Artists like actors and dancers primarily use a stage as their canvas.

    EXAMPLES OF CANVAS EXPANSION FOR PERFORMERS:
    Perform on the streets, perform for your neighbors or block party, collaborate with photographers and film students, for charity events, in beautiful spots in nature, in ugly industrial settings, make up a new theatrical telegram service, work with wild new props, dance with fire, put on a show with your favorite kids for their parents, do political satire miming at the lawn of a federal building, dance at rallies, try go-go dancing, wear a mask and perform on a bench during lunchtime in a big city, teach your art form to kids or under-expressed housewives and businesspeople,  hang up a big sheet at a party- shine light on it and shadow dance behind it, build a stage onto a big van or ice cream truck and take the show on the road…

    You get the picture.

    Integration Exercise:
    (cause it is oh so easy to scarf through ideas with our minds and never build a bridge into action)
    Answer these questions in your journal or with another artistic partner.
    1.)    What are my main 2 artistic forms?
    2.)    What current canvas are they being expressed on?
    3.)    What new ideas do I have for other outlets and canvases to explore?
    Then circle the most compelling ones. Then do them, or if you are the forgetful type- write them and hang them up in a visible place to remind you of them till you get around to trying them out.

    Would love to hear your comments or ideas.

  • September3rd

    This is the 1st post in a new Series-
    Key Principles for Creative Life & Career Design.


    FIND INSPIRING (virtual) ROLE MODELS

    Knowing what is possible for you in your careers scope and impact is greatly supported by finding exemplary role models who’s works and achievements truly inspire you. They don’t even need to be accessible or alive to act as a muse and guiding force.

    “Almost all artists derive succor from the dead. The dead continue to give willingly when the living won’t return phone calls and refuse to remember your name. Holding fast to your creative heritage is a way of building an impassioned support system without dealing with anybody! …Having a deep love and understanding for the men and women whose work has inspired and influenced your own can create a spiritual family that has just as much power as a living friend.” -Carol Lloyd from the book ‘Creating a Life Worth Living’

    Of course, it is more ideal is if you can find a role model who is not only alive, but also willing to do some active mentoring with you. These relationships can be hard to come by, and the people worth having them with are often very busy. In all centuries previous to ours, apprenticeships and mentorships were the primary ways that trades were learned. Even though we have come so far from that now, many of us feel a sense of nostalgia, or a yearning for that sort of relationship. And anyone with a good heart who has had a fruitful career wants to find ways to help those who are coming up with similar callings. So if you do find a living role model from who’s guidance you would greatly benefit, create a win-win proposal of how you can also benefit them and then pitch it to them!

    My own college experience was more based on mentors and advisors than teachers. I did a self-designed degree program through Prescott College (Integrative Arts major & applied Ecopsychology minor). Each course that I designed had to have a clear objective, a set of activities to meet that objective, method of evaluation, and a local mentor who would oversee the course. I was responsible for finding that local mentor and requesting their help. Even though the monetary exchange was very small, I almost always got a yes, and so for 4 years, at any given time I was engaged with 3 or 4 mentors loosely helping me to achieve the objectives of my courses. It was very enriching to work with so many people already established while I was just a student, including authors and key contributors to my field. One of those mentors in particular became a key advisor to me and is now on my board of advisors for Catalyst Arts.

    Now most of my role models are virtual and I tap their wisdom through their books and their examples.


    Integration Exercises:

    1.) Write a list of 3-5 people who’s career path inspires you and what it is about their work that turns you on.

    2.) What would your ideal apprenticeship be? Who is the teacher (if they don’t exist imagine them up) and what are you learning from them?

    3.) Make a word document of web sites and bios of anyone you come across who does something either similar to you or something you aspire to do. You can also put businesses and organizations on this list. I call mine ‘Role Models’ and open it up when I need a good reminder of what is possible 5-25 years down the road.