Sharon Burton is a Washington, DC area mixed media and collage artist, independent art curator, podcaster, reiki level II practitioner and creative advisor who believes that everyone is a creative that deserves to be acknowledged. Her artwork has been shown in juried exhibitions across the United States including: Atlanta, Georgia, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. Her work can also be found in private collections across the country.
She hosts workshops to help people get in touch with their creativity and spirituality in the metro DC area. In addition to her she is the founder and host of The Mindfully Creative Podcast, which features creative projects making a difference in the lives of others as well as advice for living “mindfully creative.”
Carrie: Welcome Sharon to Artist Strong. When did you first realize the importance of the arts in your life?
I realized that art was important in my life before I reached the age of 5. Art was a part of my identity…I am now realizing it was part of my life’s purpose. It was a way to express myself as an empathetic, highly sensitive child. My way of meditating before I knew what that was, LOL!
Carrie: How would you describe the creative work you do?
My creative artwork is very spiritual and intuitive…I never really thought it was that way until a couple of years ago. I work as a mixed media and collage artist. I select images and media to create what inspires my spirit. Some of it is a result of experiences I have had personally and some of it is narratives that I have witnessed from other people.
Others are based on a feeling of recognizing spirits from a past life. My curatorial practice is very spontaneous and organic….it based on having the right opportunity to work with the right artists at the right time.
Carrie: You express your creativity through many facets. How do you choose and prioritize these activities and projects?
That’s a good question. It is mostly based on high vibrations….if the project stirs me, (and of course deadlines…LOL!). These days, I “only make high vibration commitments”, a truthbomb from one of my favorite authors, Danielle Laporte. If the project challenges me or resonates as a “yes” in my spirit, it becomes high on the list.
I also go with my core desired feelings, a strategy Danielle teaches. If it meets one of my core desired feelings regarding the kind of artistic or creative project I want to do, it gets put on the list. Sometimes priorities compete with each other but in the end, it all works out!
Carrie: Can you describe your artistic process to readers? For example, do you follow the same pattern and track when you develop an artwork from idea to product?
My process is very spontaneous these days. It usually starts with some kind of vision I am inspired by….I love artist dates to exhibitions by artists especially those who I know and are local to the DC area whose work I admire greatly. I get a lot of ideas from their work as well as other art forms, especially poetry and music.
I have a few topics in my head for series or concepts and there are times I go into my office/studio to do one thing and found myself grabbing paper, canvas, paints, images, etc. and came out with two or three art pieces several hours later. It’s so random it can be hard to explain a specific pattern. When the muse says, do it, I go do it, LOL!
Carrie: How do your interests outside of art fuel your artwork?
Meditation, especially guided meditation in practice fuels a lot of my art. In guided meditation, you are often asked to visualize things to help you focus on your breath or your intention, which includes a lot of vibrant imagery. Yoga also helps, especially heart and hip openers…both of which open up the corresponding chakras for me to help keep my creative juices flowing.
Energy healing, such as reiki also helps. After becoming a reiki level II practitioner, I noticed that am able to work through some energetic creative blocks for myself. And spending time in nature….I started hiking this year and something about that is not only meditative but also inspirational. Nature has a beautiful balance of texture, color and vibrancy. It fuels my creative palette tremendously.
Carrie: What strategies do you use to help yourself when you feel “stuck?”
Yoga, meditation, and artist dates. Not necessarily in that order. I also go on mini-digital sabbaticals….I find social media to be quite toxic more than ever for a variety of different reasons which can leave me very uninspired.
Carrie: What has been one hurdle you’ve overcome as a creative and how did you navigate that problem?
The death of my father in 2011 was the biggest block to date that I had to overcome. The grieving left me without any creative mojo for a couple of years. During that period, I energetically attracted people and situations that kept me “stuck”. I finally ended up unintentionally having to go through a period of release to get my power back– from projects, organizations, and people, some of who meant well, but were not contributing positively to my spirit.
The mojo started coming back effortlessly once I made a commitment to myself to honor my creativity once the air was cleared. I continue to work through this process but now much more protective of my personal, spiritual and creative energy. As a creative advisor, I am beginning to share some of these strategies with others to help people move forward with engaging in their creative talents.
Carrie: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to your “beginner” artist self?
It really doesn’t matter what the naysayers think of you and your art….only what you think about it, how you creativity meets your divine purpose. Just begin, then keep going…. and you will find those who will celebrate your work and support you. I promise.
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
I love books….”The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, “The Desire Map” by Danielle LaPorte and “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert are my current favorite resources for inspiring my creativity.
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
Down to earth people, some well-known, others not so much, who have genuine hearts, defied great odds and tirelessly use their creative gifts toward furthering the well-being of all humanity inspire me.
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
Using your innate gift to redefine what people experience for a divine purpose.
Additional Contact Info:
Facebook: SJB Creative Art
Be Creatively Courageous: What are 2 words or ideas you could use to help guide your decisions about your art? Let’s share them in the comments below.