Saturday, May 30, 2009

Carol Bean - Creator

Creativity and Carol can't be separated. Creativity is not a part of Carol's life - it is central to Carol's life. She expresses her creativity through making music - recording, playing live with her two bands, playing solo and with friends and others; through her art works - painting, drawing, assemblages; through her film making - music videos, documentaries, virtual tours, photography and by designing her living space so that it is aesthetically stimulating - and it is!!
I talked with Carol about her creativity. I asked her if there was a point in her life when she recognised she was creative.

Carol: My mother is an artist. I admire her work greatly. At age 88 she has just finished illustrating a children's book that my brother wrote. When I was growing up our house had a good aesthetic - great colours, textures, fabrics, art on the walls and art books. We went to galleries and libraries all the time. One day a babysitter asked who the artist in the family was. My mother said 'I am, but my daughter Carol is very good at art'. I was surprised and took the unsolicited comment on board for the rest of my life. I won prizes in school for art works and creative writing, which verified my ambition to pursue the arts as a career. My first experience in a recording studio was with Alan Muggeridge at Rowan Road Studio. It gave me a lift. I was thrilled at the process and felt sure I could achieve something worthwhile.

Wayne: How would you describe your creative process?
Carol: early morning is a great time for grabbing ideas out of the dream state and then writing things down as the mind clears in the uncluttered air.
As a student I never worked very hard with my art. I dabbled. I was good at a lot of things and 'life' got in the way. But now, as the days go by at an alarming rate, I am settling down a bit better to routine. I go up to my art studio in town every Wednesday, and I attend life drawing class every Tuesday morning. Life drawing is the essential blood for any artist who interprets the world through drawing and painting.
Musically I practice every day. I have a new album underway, so new songs get played in the living room, the kitchen and out in public at gigs. That way I can see if they have a real life outside my own head. We used to rehearse the band every Wednesday night until I decided the band was not giving enough time to learning new material so we have closed that chapter. But there is more to come in different combinations of musicians.
I set goals - I make gig dates - I agree to do film commissions and deadlines and I agree to exhibition dates. That way I have to complete the work.
As many creative people will empathise, I have dozens of half finished projects: two novels on the way, 4 films, research articles, and a thousand small renovations in my environment. They will all get finished because I always do finish - but YEARS later. By then the concept has morphed, usually for the better I think, because of the distance, but others may not see it like that.

Wayne: What tips would you give top others who want to further explore their creativity?
Carol: Make sure that you access inspiration from mentors, artists, works that you can go back to, that are enduring and proven.
Build your launching pad with care. develop good skills and a foundation of knowledge. Don't pretend you can sing / draw / dance / when you really just wish you could. Work hard to gain your basic 'chops' before you move out into the creative phase of sharing your work with the world.
When exploring your creativity make sure you have FUN.
To maximise the experience sort out the technicalities of your space and 'tools' first before launching off into the discovery of creative impulses and ideas. Male sure you are not hampered and pressured by time restraints and other commitments.

Carol and her band Blue Highways - with yours truly playing drums - YeeeHaaaa!!

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