Danielle Krysa has a BFA in Fine Arts, and a post-grad in graphic design. She is the writer/curator behind the contemporary art site The Jealous Curator. In 2014 she published two books, both with Chronicle Books, titled “Creative Block” and “Collage”.
Her third book, “Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk” was just released in October 2016. Danielle has also had the great pleasure of speaking at TEDx, PIXAR, Creative Mornings, and was interviewed for several video segments on Oprah.com.
Carrie: Welcome Danielle and thank you so much for being here. Tell us, when did you first realize your love of the arts?
Since before I can remember. My mother is an artist and she had a studio in our home… I was stealing her supplies as soon as I could reach her table.
Carrie: In addition to being the creator of The Jealous Curator, you are also an artist. Can you describe your current work?
I make collages, with just a touch of paint. They are basically little narratives that put people from found images, into situations created by the paint strokes. And they’re usually quite funny thanks to their descriptive titles!
Carrie: What does your workspace look like?
I’m very lucky to have a room in my house dedicated only to my mess, I mean art. Full walls, stuffed shelves, and old books all over the floor. Here are a few photos:
Carrie: What has been one hurdle you’ve overcome as a creative and how did you navigate that problem?
I stopped making art for years because of a terrible critique right before I graduated from art school. I believed I wasn’t good enough to be an artist. It took almost 15 years to start making again, and that was basically thanks to my first book, Creative Block.
Have you ever heard that people who study psychology are actually doing it to work out their own issues? Yes, well in hindsight I’m pretty sure that’s why I wrote Creative Block! Thankfully, it worked!
Carrie: How do you navigate the feelings of vulnerability that show up during the creative process?
I used to just quit. Now I push through. There are some days where I only make crap that ends up in the recycle bin. That used to feel like failure and a good reason to quit again, but now I realize that those days are just part of the process. I go back in the next day and start playing without being precious and worrying about creating a masterpiece… it’s a lot more fun that way!
Carrie: You’ve written several books about creativity and we are lucky that a new one is out. Tell us about it: how did the idea develop?
Yes! It actually came out of the many conversations I had during my book tour for the first book. I heard story after story about blocks, self-doubt, excuses, etc., etc. What I realized … the common denominator for all of those things was that nasty little voice in your head that tells you to quit. And so, “Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk” was born!
Carrie: You often collaborate and connect with artists in your work. Can you make an observation or share a tip/experience you wish more artists embraced?
I have heard this over and over and over: you have to make mistakes, messes, junk to get to the good stuff.
I used to wait until “the idea was perfect” before I started making, therefore I never made anything. There’s no such thing as perfection and the second you let that go you’ll be surprised where those “happy accidents” take you.
Carrie: How does your creative process for writing and collage inform one another?
As far as my collages go, they’re not complete until the title is written. I always do random paint strokes first, let them dry, and then play around with which little people belong on which paint blob. The minute that match is made a funny little story just sort of pops into my head… I then spend the next 30 minutes or so crafting the words and choosing names for my characters. It’s a ridiculous amount of fun!
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
Old books! And neon pink gouache. And scissors. Ok, I’ll stop.
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
I’m inspired by other artists all the time: their color palettes, use of negative space, etc. I also love wandering through thrift shops, and my heart actually starts beating faster when I walk into a really good used book store.
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
Curious, passionate, and an overwhelming need to make.
Be Creatively Courageous: What message in today’s interview most resonated with you? I really appreciate the idea that we should not treat our art like it’s precious. Share your takeaway in the comments below.
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