Roberta Mockus is an artist, mother, and struggles with mental illness.
Since childhood, Roberta found solace in the simplicity of coloring, a medium she has returned to. She has shown in galleries and is privately and publicly collected. It wasn’t until mid career that Roberta found her voice. Her work has since become prolific and strong.
Roberta is being recognized as an upcoming in the Outsider Art world.
Carrie: What is your earliest creative memory?
Coloring in my room for hours.
Carrie: When did you first realize the importance of the arts in your life?
It’s so natural for me, that there has never been a separation of art and self but maybe a realization of the self in art.
Carrie: What does your workspace look like?
I had to chuckle at this question. Right now just a door over 2 saw horses and drawers and drawers full of supplies. Is that where I get most of my work done? No. Usually in my bed with a pen, I sketch for at least 15 minutes a day.
Carrie: You have such unique character and style in your drawings. Can you tell me a bit about discovering this?
Carrie, you actually had a big part in this. With your family tree exercise I discovered who inspired me and why, as well as who inspired them. I was noticed the more I researched the more of a “primitive” style consumed me.
I was introduced to the “Outsider Art” community and gained more knowledge and found something there – myself. “I” don’t have to be all kinds of fancy or color splashy. I can be me and the inner side of me that I have no words for.
Carrie: How do your interests outside of art fuel your artwork?
I am a mother that is losing her sheep. I am having a difficult time in the separation and lack of dependency they have with me. This plays big in my recent works. Several other strong voices I have are Body Image and Shaming and how society has told us what beauty is or is not. Woman mostly buy into this lie and sometimes this is at the expense of their lives.
I have found over recent months, which was a surprise to me, how much I was hiding behind my mental illness. I am peeking behind the curtains and there is a whole world there. Keeping my daily goal simple is allowing me to go deep into my work.
Carrie: How do you know when an artwork is finished?
I don’t feel any of my works are finished. If the page is full, I start another and it really is just an extension of the last piece. I guess my work will be finished when I die.
Carrie: What strategies do you use to help yourself when you feel “stuck?”
Make another mark. Study up more on some of the masters. Go for a walk, read a book, or eat cookies!
Carrie: What has been one hurdle you’ve overcome as a creative and how did you navigate that problem?
That is a tough one. I think the biggest hurdle was always thinking that I had nothing to say. Deep down I knew I did, I had and still have so many visions in my head but didn’t know how to get them out because they aren’t filled with pretty colors or vases of flowers, nothing like that.
I was reaching the end of my rope when I found your course The Circle and really that and the Family Tree was the start of changing it. My water is navigated now by me, not praise or acceptance. I do this because I have to and I have to say what I have to say. That’s the light from the light out, getting it out onto something.
Carrie: You were a recent member of my community The Circle. Can you describe one or two benefits you experienced from being part of the program?
The start of the breakthrough was the “Family Tree”. I had no idea why I loved the artist I loved and why they inspired me and who inspired them and on and on. This started the opening of the door, but when the topic of just do SOMETHING for 15 minutes a day emerged, it changed my entire life and my existence as an artist and person.
This is such a profound and attainable concept. Anyone and everyone has 15 min!!!! Many of us have day jobs, myself included and then our other responsibilities. Finding the time to “go into” the studio seems so daunting.
Carrie introduced this amazing tool, “what if you could just do something for 15 minutes a day?” Really! My work is prolific, I have entered into areas of my creative mind I never knew existed. Carrie has even nurtured the GRAND ideas I have and I can continue with them “even if it’s just for 15 mins a day.”
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
This is a hard question but I’m going to have to say the answer is ME.
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
My daughter Rebecca. Putting all the Masters and Contemporaries aside Rebecca hands down has helped me to be where I am. Her tenacity in the art world and the courage she has to venture on her own brings tears to my eyes. The adversity Rebecca has over come to bring her to where she is today always has me shaking my head in amazement. Any person with a challenge is an inspiration.
Carrie: What does the word artist mean to you?
For many years I had this romantic “illusion” of what the word “artist” meant. Never able to measure up to this lie I almost gave up. Almost, but I didn’t – Artist means “living my life as me”, we create every single second of our lives. Think about it, we can create a great experience getting out of bed or a horrible one. A beautiful dinner for the family or not. We create to exist, we exist to create.
Be Creatively Courageous: One of my most favorite answers to the question “what is one creative resource you can’t live without” is Roberta’s answer today. Do you treat yourself as a resource for your own creativity? Let’s talk about that in the comments below.
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